genetics

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by pokerandbeer, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Because there's a world of difference between looking at the distribution of particular genes or phenotypes in terms of geography, ethnicity, ancestry, etc, and dumbing it down into useless categories like black and white.

    Given the sensitive nature of anything involving ethnicity, culture, skin colour, and so on, there isn't room for broad, inaccurate generalizations, or jumping to conclusions and ignoring cultural or socio-economic factors. In this case, I'd say unless you're presenting hard numbers, it's better to say very little, and choose your words carefully.
     
  2. Leify

    Leify Ebb and Flow

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    On the flip side, male swimming gold medalists are almost exclusively white. Are you going to tell me there is a shortage of tall, lean black men with long wing spans and built for speed/endurance? Or maybe they're just all busy sprinting.

    Olympic athletes tend to be simply genetically superior for the species in general and whether a white, asian, black, latino, etc person walks away with the gold probably has a lot more to do with your culture.
     
  3. Pseudo Sane

    Pseudo Sane Brown Belt

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    Three things: first, I agree that Olympians (depending on the sport, of course) tend to be physically superior to Joe Schmoe, and have far more in common with their fellow olympians in a given sport than with their 'race'. The extent to that which that superiority is from genetics or training is debatable.

    Second, swimming is not the same as sprinting; it is apples to oranges. I picked sprinting because it does not require nearly as much access to specialized training as other sports. Everyone sprints, or at least runs fast during their lives; footspeed is useful in almost every sport. Not everyone learns how to swim, and the training is far more specialized.

    Third, you might be curious to know that there are studies explaining why, physiologically, the best swimmers are white. So basically, pointing this out only confirms what I was saying before; athletic performance in different sports has a genetic component. See the linked articles for details.

    Centre of gravity theory for dominance of black sprinters and white swimmers - Telegraph

    Black People Better Runners, White People Better Swimmers: Race, Science, and Athletics - The Takeaway

    All this being said, I still think it is mostly cultural. Look at New Zealand in rugby and Canada in hockey. Both are tiny nations population-wise which have a culture which funnels almost every athletic individual into a single sport, turning them into powerhouses in that field. Nothing genetic about that. All training baby.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  4. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    In something like swimming, where it is plausible to assume the broad access to swimming pools and proper coaching from an early age is more heavily influenced by socioeconomic factors, or something like team sports, the popularity of which widely fluctuates depending on one's geographical location, it is harder to make an argument controlling all confounders.

    In something like sprinting, where kids from more or less all the "western" countries have been trying to excel for the last 50+ years, well... there has been one white dude to ever run 100 under 10. There are objectively measured physiological differences in people of different ethnic backgrounds (like significant differences in serum test levels in white vs black americans), racism doesn't come into it.
     
  5. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    Holy crap I hate this political correctness obsession with a passion and I'm glad it hasn't really made its way to Europe, at least where I live.
     
  6. Seriously-Dead

    Seriously-Dead wubbalubbadubdub

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    The ACTN3 gene theory has been pretty much debunked by geneticists. Which is sad for me, because I carry a double version of the strong gene :(

    Personally, I'm more biased towards the biomechanics argument. I don't think there is anything unique physiologically going on in African athletes. Yeah, there's the test level thing, but if everyone is doping, and they are, it's null anyway. The advantage is only by about 15% in general population studies. Chances are white elite athletes, who would also have higher test, wouldn't be at much of a disadvantage. This goes without saying too, but test levels by themselves aren't everything, they have to be put in the context of aromatase activity, SHBG, estradiol, etc., to know if the test is actually enhancing physiological function.

    The coolest thing I heard was from my animal sciences prof, she mentioned that animals in warm climates have a tendency to have shorter torsos and longer appendages, while cool climates produced species with larger torsos and short appendages. Honestly, the biomechanics, the warm weather for year-round outdoor track training access (for kids), plus a culture that adores track, I think is enough to explain the discrepancy of 0.5s between elite African athletes and not-so-elite white athletes in 100m sprinting.

    Forgot to mention, the criticism any white sprinter has to face can't help. Christophe Lemaitre (only white guy to break 10s) talked about this before, saying how everyone told him he could never amount to anything in 100m sprinting just because he was white.

    Sports and selection bias are crazy things, I think we have to understand those first before diving into genetics. Hockey players in Canada born after July have pretty much zero chance of ever playing in the NHL. That's certainly not genetic.
     
  7. Cratos

    Cratos Banned Banned

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    The first thing that came to mind when i saw the thread title was "excuses".
     
  8. Fenderson

    Fenderson Purple Belt

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    Hard work > genetics
     
  9. PhelpsMMA

    PhelpsMMA Orange Belt

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    I watched a whole show on why Jamaicans are good runners, not as I'd always been told 'because they need to run away from lions' but because they ate a lot of fresh chicken and bananas (diet) and had to run up hills every day to school (training), plus the elusive type 1 AND type 2 fibres (lastly, genetics).

    Someone may have to correct me on this, but is it not the case that the increased bone density in black people means they cannot swim as well?

    I think it is a stretch to suggest that nowhere in any country, even in Africa where there are plenty of millionaire families, are there access to swimming facilities for non-whites?

    Here is another conundrem, why are asians better at sports like badminton, squash, table tennis?

    Also, you would assume that the larger a country is, the larger the pool of talent there is so smaller countries would never have a chance in any sporting event, but this is regularly not the case, as the best in a country of 10million can beat the best in a country of 1billion. I don't know if that is a case for or against genetics being of such importance.

    Yeah, no-one's genetics ever make them good at anything, its always the other guy's genetics when they are better.
     
  10. Pseudo Sane

    Pseudo Sane Brown Belt

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    I sourced it for the stats, not for the explanation. My point was that the numbers indicate that something hereditary was probably going on. Also, it is not Black vs white in sprinting. Expand your horizons. It is West African vs everyone else in the world. That includes a lot of warm climates, including some wih a track culture.

    As I said in my last post, though, I agree that non genetic factors play a huge role. That bit about hockey players born after July is interesting. I assume it is because of their size and coordination relative to their peers when they begin to play.

    And all that being said, hardly anyone pushes themselves. Hard work beats pure talent without the work almost every time. So it is no excuse.
     
  11. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    I'm honestly not very sure about the validity of some of those arguments.

    In any and every case where a scientific claim is being made, we have to attempt to control for all confounding variable to the best of our abilities, and take into consideration the confounders we were not able to control for. So, ironically enough, in order to provide meaningful support for a scientific claim we must do our best to try to disprove it.

    The thing is, there is a fine line between assuming a neutral position and trying to disprove a contention, as opposed to assuming the contention to be false and trying to prove that. The arguments presented above almost seem like people are actively trying to reach a predetermined conclusion (confirmation bias).

    The fact is, the is a very large discrepancy between western africans sprinters as opposed to caucasian (or anyone else, really, as PS remarked) sprinters. Numbers clearly show that.

    The argument regarding warm weather could be considered plausible if it wasn't for the fact that the vast majority of elite sprinters of the last several decades have been athletes of western african descent that were living and training in countries were western africans are a small minority of the population. The fact that in the US and in north, central and western european countries tons of kids do track & field and the numbers of sprinters reaching elite levels widely favors athletes of western african descent can't be explained by year-round outdoor track training access. Also, the sprints are one of the most popular sporting events across the entire western world; assuming it is cultural differences that biases the participation of different ethnic backgrounds is not self explanatory and needs evidence to be substantiated.

    The argument regarding expectations is absolutely true. There is the strong expectation that white kids can't excel in sprinting, and that may indeed play an inhibitory role to their athletic development. But this is a weak argument that can be easily deconstructed, as well. Assuming sprinters of western african descent have indeed favorable genetics for sprints, those expectations would still be there (so the existence of expectations alone has no bearing on the validity of the original assumption). Also, those expectations were the result of black sprinters dominating the sprints, not the cause for it. Even as it is, the higher levels of athletics are a field where people often exceed against expectations and there is no shortage of kids who, regardless of their ethnic background, do their absolute best to break barriers and prove people wrong.

    Btw, my point about objectively documented differences in physiological factors like test levels was not to suggest that differences in test levels responsible for african americans doing better at sprints; it was to demonstrate, as a "proof of concept", that there are physiological differences between people of different heritage whether this fact is compatible with political correctness or not.

    Regarding the argument about shorter torsos/longer limbs, is this documented in humans?


    I agree with this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  12. Leify

    Leify Ebb and Flow

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    Absolutely agree.

    I think, in general, genetics is the last stop when you want to compare why one athlete is better than another. There are way too many factors that play much more heavily in developing an Olympic champion in my opinion.
     
  13. abedm

    abedm Yellow Belt

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    question with today's sports medicine how much of a limit do genetics put on a persons athletic capability. If they improve little by little every day will genetics get in the way and slow down the progress regardless of hard work
     
  14. LatFlare

    LatFlare EADC

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    I miss cratos
     
  15. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    Tosa, Cratos, Eric, Kyle, Babyeater, all in the first page. Crazy stuff.
     
  16. tekkenfan

    tekkenfan Brown Belt

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    no blacks are just afraid of the water is why
     
  17. MilkManUK

    MilkManUK Brown Belt

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    Wow.
     
  18. spacetime

    spacetime Black Belt

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    There is a mental component to strong men competitions as well. It's not an exact science in the way people think. The same is true for boxing btw. You can punch day and night in power depending on adrenalin, motivation, mental attitude.
     
    pokerandbeer likes this.
  19. tekkenfan

    tekkenfan Brown Belt

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    lolz XD
     

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