Elite Athletes Who Are Elite Athletes

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What attributes allow elite athletes to reach such high levels of success in their respective sports? Does an elite athlete reach this level of athleticism due to his or her genetics, environment he or she is raised in, or simply because of practice? The role of genetics and practice, as well as the nature versus nurture debate, has dominated the fields of both biology and sports for decades. As more elite athletes rise to the surface, and monetary success positively correlates with extraordinary athletes, parents, coaches, and athletes themselves are on a quest to find the characteristics which mold the “perfect athlete”. Although some people may become elites in their particular fields due to practice, rarely do elite athletes reach levels of mastery…show more content…
Kalenjins are able to reach a level of mastery in long-distance running without years of deliberate practice. A study conducted by the Danish Sports Science Institute resulted in a group of Kalenjin boys, with only three months of deliberate training, consistently outperforming Danish track superstar Thomas Nolan (Fisher). The researchers concluded from the races, physical tests, and “established human averages” that Kalenjins have an innate genetic advantage (Fisher). Not only do these Kenyans have a larger number of red blood cells, which allows their bodies to use oxygen more effectively, but their "bird-like legs" allow them to not use as much energy when they run (Fisher). These Kenyans have inborn advantages that allow them to outperform runners who have been deliberately training throughout their long athletic careers. Deliberate practice plays a miniscule part in making Kenyan athletes elite. Kenyans have innate genetic and physical advantages which runners in other parts of the world lack, which allows for Kenyans to dominate the long-distance running world without devoting thousands of hours to deliberate
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