Physical variations in female athletes

August 5, 2008

Check out these photos of elite female athletes, ranging from a 95-pound gymnast lady to a 6’5″ basketball player lady to a 297-pound weightlifter lady. It’s kind of neat, all the phenotypes of humanity, like looking at a lineup of jack russell terriers and rottweilers.

The gymnast could wear the weightlifter as a suit.

The gymnast could wear the weightlifter as a suit.

Couple things stand out to me: first, almost every woman in the lot, regardless of her size and proportion of body fat, has tight knees (ie, her knees are smaller than her calves). In the general population, soft knees (legs taper smoothly from thigh to ankle, or inner sides of knees pop towards each other) are really common- apparently not so much in the sports world, at least in this admittedly small sample size. The other thing I notice is that among this group, most of the women whose sports have a performance component (gymnasts, aerobics, etc) have pointed their toes for these photos, striking a definite pose. You can really tell the ones whose sports incorporate dance- they’re making pretty feet.

More here.