90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Perfect Physiques

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

Are the Olympics open to only those born with perfect physiques?  Can you win gold without Missy Franklin’s wingspan or Usain Bolt’s height?

Chinese gymnast Sui Lu performs on the balance beam during the Artistic Gymnastic women's qualifications at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 29, 2012, in London. (AP)

Chinese gymnast Sui Lu performs on the balance beam during the Artistic Gymnastic women’s qualifications at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 29, 2012, in London. (AP)

If only you’d stuck with your training and been more careful with your diet, if things had been just a little different that could have been you marching into the Olympic stadium, fans taking your picture and waving the flag.  Right?   Well maybe not.

The Games at the 30th Olympiad contain some of the most amazing physical specimens ever seen.

This hour, On Point:  It wouldn’t matter how hard you worked, without the right genes, you don’t have a chance.  Nature vs. nurture in the creation of an Olympic athlete.

-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

Jeff Kofman, ABC News correspondent in London.

Adrian Bejan, professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University. Author of Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization.

Robert Chapman, associate director for sports science and medicine for U.S. Track and Field.

Sheldon Blockburger, assistant Track and Field coach at the University of Arizona. A former Decathlete who has been coaching for over 20 years, and this year trained Olympic High Jumper Brigetta Barrett, who will be competing starting next Thursday, August 9th.

From The Reading List

BBC “Olympic athletes come in all shapes and sizes, from the lithe limbs of Japan’s Asuka Teramoto to the gargantuan frame of China’s Zhaoxu Zhang. But how do you measure up in comparison? Try our app below and find out. Why not then share your results with your friends?”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

 
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
1 Comment