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


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?”

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