The sports gene: why the 10,000 hour rule doesn't always make winners

The crucial question for sports: Does anyone have elite-level aerobic endurance before training? In the late 1990s, Norman Gledhill, a professor of kinesiology at York University in Toronto, his colleague Veronica Jamnik and York researcher Marco Martino set out to see whether they could identify and study such naturally fit people. Part of their work was to administer fitness screenings to young men hoping to become Toronto firefighters. Over two years, the team gave VO2max tests to 1,900 young men. Among them were six men with no history of training whatsoever, who nonetheless had aerobic capacities on a par with collegiate runners….The naturally fit men had a crucial gift, through no discipline or effort of their own: massive helpings of blood, reported The Guardian Aug. 16.

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