The Olympians of years ago often looked quite different than today’s top athletes. As we’ve learned more about body mechanics and how they relate to sport, it’s now easier to determine which body types will succeed in certain events and why. Sprinters, for example, run faster when they possess a high center of gravity. That’s why, today, you’ll see runners like 6’5″ Usain Bolt dominating the field. Rowers and swimmers have also gotten taller, while gymnasts have shrunk. Turns out it’s easier to twist and turn through the air when there’s less of you to do it.

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