The Olympic athletes competing in the Rio Games are the elite of their sports. You see the best cyclists, runners, and swimmers in the world, battling to see who can take home the gold.
A ton of factors go into getting there: Talent, technique, training, and physique all play a role.
And as far as physique goes, over the past few decades, there’s been a “bit of a size sort” in different sports, Dr. Michael Joyner, a physician and Mayo Clinic researcher who is one of the world’s top experts on fitness and human performance, told Business Insider. Some athletes have started to focus on the sports they may be suited for based on their body type.
There are always exceptions and in some cases, skill can be more important than a physical trait. But in general, Joyner says (and has written in the past), elite competitors in each sport tend to share similar physiology.
Those ideal body types are well-represented in Rio, and it’s fascinating to see how much top athletes differ from each other.
Check out how four Rio contenders epitomize the build needed for their particular sport:
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