What Does the Perfect Athlete Look Like?
I was tempted to just put a picture of myself and call it a day.
World class athletes fascinate me. They can do things that most of us could only dream about, and they do it with ease and grace. You would think that there would be a perfect equation of the kind of person it takes to be the ultimate athlete. That is, the perfect amount of fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers, the right body type, right body fat percentage, right height and weight that would allow the human body to perform at its absolute best.
However, different sports require different generalbody types: jockeys are generally light, basketball players tall, football players big and so on. But we all know there are exceptions to these as well, as there are successful, short basketball players, smaller football players, etc. But it seems that for general athletic performance, there should be an ultimate body type that can excel at any sport. They would have the exact perfect ratio of balance, strength, flexibility, agility and endurance – all in theory of course. The theoretical “perfect athlete.”
You would think, but if results tell us anything this just isn’t so. Take gymnastics: Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin where the darlings of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They were neck and neck for most of the competitions, performing just within hundredths of a point of each other; and they could not look more different.
Nastia Liukin is tall, lean and elegant. Shawn Johnson, on the other hand, is a short and muscular powerhouse. They both have different strengths and weaknesses because of this, yet, they are both the ultimate gymnasts.
There is no perfect body type and no perfect mold. It’s all training, dedication, talent and commitment. The greatest feats of athleticism come from women and men of all shapes and sizes. The common thread of excellence? The desire to do your personal best.