This summer, many of the world’s best athletes will be going head-to-head at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Being the most watched sport at the Games, many people will take an interest in the athletics and in particular the Men’s 100m final.
Standing at a height of 6ft 3”, the reigning champion, Usain Bolt will be aiming to add to his impressive collection of six Olympic Gold medals. Currently holding both the World and Olympic records in the 100m sprint, Bolt’s successes have often been pinpointed to the height advantage he holds over his fellow athletes.
Having longer limbs, Bolt is not only able to hold his speed for a longer distance but his legs can also help to propel him to the front of the field.But taller athletes who compete in track events aren’t the only ones who benefit from having longer limbs.Swimming, Basketball, Volleyball, Boxing and Tennis are just some of the other Olympic sports where taller players hold an advantage over their smaller competitors.
Is there any way I can lengthen my limbs for sport?
Although your height and the length of your limbs are mostly genetic, there is still a way that you can make them longer. This is through a medical procedure called limb lengthening. There are differing version of limb lengthening surgeries, such the Guichet Nail which is a small screw, and more older but common techniques using telescopic rods inserted into the cartilage of the bone which then pulls it apart very gradually, one millimeter a day.
New living bone then grows along it to fill the gap and muscles, nerves, arteries and the skin also renew themselves.The process has also been a huge success in China and the US, where certain limb lengthening surgeries, such as Dr Guichet’s, that boast you to resume sports such as cycling in the same day.
There are also a number of success stories from people that have benefited in having this type of surgery from professional cyclists to recreational runners. So whether you are looking to improve your performances or one day even compete against the likes of Lebron James at the Olympic Games, limb lengthening may benefit you.
How does having longer limbs benefit certain sports?
Generally, sporting ability plays a huge part in how good people are at certain sports.
However, in most cases, longer limbs have many benefits that provide an extra edge over fellow competitors.
In the NBA (National Basketball Association), the average height of the players competing is listed at around 6ft 7” and in basketball, having longer legs and arms is extremely advantageous. Taller players are often thought to hold an advantage because when they shoot the ball at the hoop not only does it have less distance to travel but they will also be closer to the rebound.
Their ability to reach higher into the air also increases the likelihood of them being able to block other people’s shots. Standing close to 7ft, Hakeem Olajuwon is the NBA’s all-time blocks leader, proving that longer limbs are an advantage in Basketball.
Longer legs and arms are also favourable when it comes to competing in swimming. Whilst many believe this to be a main factor in the amount of drag a swimmer has to overcome in the water, many studies have found that it doesn’t necessarily increase with height.
Instead, taller swimmers who have bigger legs and arms tend to have bigger muscles, hands and feet to propel them through the water faster. You only have to go back as far as eight-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps to see how much of an advantage longer legs and arms can be.