Sunday, November 30, 2008

The True Test of an Athlete?

What if there were a test you could take as a kid that would tell you whether you have the right genes to be a star athlete? Would you want to know?

A Colorado company claims to have developed a DNA test that can tell whether a person might have the speed, power, or endurance to excel at certain sports--or whether she's best off watching from the sidelines.

All that's needed is a cheek swab from a child age 0-8. Then the kid's DNA is analyzed to see if it has traits similar to those of successful athletes. No one knows how accurate the test is, but parents are already lining up to have their children tested.

But here's my question . . . Is athletic ability only a result of a person's genes? Or is it also the result of hard work, perseverance, confidence, and guts? I think DNA plays an important role, but I'd rather have a tiny kid with a kick-butt attitude on my team than a person with all the right genes and no moxie.

What do you think?

Read more here.

On a related note, congratulations to Eri Yoshida, the 16-year-old high school student who recently became Japan's first female professional baseball player. (I wonder if the DNA test could have predicted THAT!)

And another round of congratulations to Samantha-Jane Stacey, the fourteen-year-old Australian girl who recently won a silver medal in the World Sumo Championships. (Keep in mind that sumo wrestling, however cool, is a seriously sexist sport. Traditionally, women are not allowed to enter or touch a sumo ring for fear of violating its "purity." So way to go, Samantha-Jane.)

PS: Sorry for misspelling athlete in the title! How embarrassing!


Blogger Chris said...

Here's another test. What's your future star's birthdate? There's statistical models and published studies which show that birth date relative to age cutoff for sports teams causes strong biases in the professional ranks. Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success is a great read on this.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

I think that talent isn't genetic, but genetics help. I have a friend who is a phenomenal runner, partially because she has insanely long legs and is unnaturally skinny, but I don't think that's the only reason. You do have to work hard and practiuce a lot to get really good.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous spiffy said...

I agree with you about the perseverance and stuff, though it would be cool to have my DNA tested but I'm too old.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous undiscovered universe said...

I agree with you about the hard work and stuff, and about how DNA might be part of it. And also, great job to the Sumo Wrester!

1:59 PM  
Anonymous mae said...

I'm definately best off watching from the sidelines. Ha ha! x3

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its both because i have a natural talent for gymnastics because i'm so small but also because I love the sport -Nina

3:31 PM  
Anonymous KikiStrike20 said...

way to go Eri & Samantha-Jane! you go girls! i would totally stink @ sports, except maybe softball. but i agree that its not all based on genes. perserverance is important too.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Dahlia said...

You know, I'm not so sure about athletic ability being connected to genes. I think that 90% of it has to do with practice and determination.
Though, I played sports (soccer and softball) for about ten years each and I was never any good, so maybe genes help.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your physical traits have a lot to do with it, but also your attitude and personality. Genes? Not so much.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

admittedly off the topic at hand:

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to take that test! Then I could have proof for my PE teacher that I'm not meant to be an athlete. Good job to Eri and Samantha-Jane!

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, I want that hat anonymous! Go squids!

10:16 PM  
Anonymous lara said...

sorry, i understand why its good that she is the first female to ever sumo wrestle. but its gross!! in know people come in all shapes and sizes, but its unnatural for 14 yr old to be that size! i'm 14 and she must be 3 times the size of me!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City said...

Lara: She must be pretty active and healthy to be such an impressive athlete. She's not exactly a couch potato, is she? So perhaps we should give her the benefit of the doubt and say she's the way nature made her. And, I for one, am happy that nature makes people in all shapes and sizes. How boring would it be if everyone looked the same?

7:19 PM  
Blogger International Mastermind said...

Go Sammy-Jane! Hey, if I was physically able to do that I would gain the wieght gladly! (More than gladly, actually....Papa Gino's, here I come!)

8:18 PM  
Blogger Irregular Kiki said...

If there were such thing as an animathlete, that's me.
I love animals, maths and athletic stuff. I'm currently training in my backyard to become a spy, by jumping off the wall and running around the neighbourhood and climbing the fence and roof. If someone saw me (which they probably do), they'll probably be scared of how weird I am.
Haha; animathlete (Never thought of that before!)

4:58 AM  
Anonymous ss (hebus-be-jesus!) chick said...

ok, yea, moxie rocks. its like max and omega. omega was said to be 'the pefect mutant/person' , super strong and determined and smart and stuff, but he didnt have a soul, so 'unperfect' (watevr, she kicks butt) max, who was as determined as him, yet not as strong as him, beat his sorry perfect butt cuz she had attitude. REBELS LIVE!!!theres even one inside me, so i have evidence.

9:00 PM  

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