In the Navel

July 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

A recent article run by the AFP is stating that scientists have found the reason why many athletes of African heritage seem far superior on their feet to those of boring European descent, while the Caucasians seem to dominate swimming and water polo.  As it turns out, the deciding factor is concealed within that lint trap we annoyingly refer to as a belly button.

Surprisingly, the results are not determined by whether you are sporting a run-o’-the-mill innie or ever-elusive-outie. Studies have shown that location of the navel, specifically vertical placement, seems to designate a persons center of gravity.  It was found that runners of West African origin have higher navels, and these higher centers of gravity equate to longer legs. On the average, African American runners were found to have navels 1.18 inches higher than White runners.  This difference gives black runners 1.18 extra inches over white runners of the same height.

It would appear that the higher navels of African Americans essentially create a slightly different torso shape, which allows for thigh muscles to continue higher up into the torso then they would on a white athlete.

However, this result does work in favor of the whities too.  The longer torso’s of European whites allows them to excel in aquatic sports like swimming (but not underwater basketball).  The studies showed that the larger torso of white athletes displace more water and thus create a larger wave while swimming.  Athletic swimming relies on displacing water to create an ideal wave that the body can glide on while propelling itself. So big fat white people make big fat waves.

All things considered, an olympic swimmer smoking weed seems extremely unfair.  As his high-induced binge eating is certainly giving him an edge in the pool.

original story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100712/sc_afp/sciencesportusphysics

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