Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Elite athletes often shine sooner or later -- but not both

Date:
May 31, 2013
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
A new study that compared the performance of elite track and field athletes younger than 20 and those 20 and older found that only a minority of the star junior athletes saw similar success as senior athletes. The researchers think physical maturation is behind the disparity, with athletes who mature early reaping the benefits early, seeing their best times, jumps and throws at a younger age than Olympians, many of whom mature later.

An Indiana University study that compared the performance of elite track and field athletes younger than 20 and those 20 and older found that only a minority of the star junior athletes saw similar success as senior athletes.

The researchers think physical maturation is behind the disparity, with athletes who mature early reaping the benefits early, seeing their best times, jumps and throws at a younger age than Olympians, many of whom mature later.

"You see it in a lot of sports," said Robert Chapman, assistant professor in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and a former cross country coach at IU. "Elite performers in senior sports tend to be the ones who mature later. But it's hard to measure, particularly in men, the rate at which they mature. I had a very successful runner grow 4 inches in college while he ran for me."

The study, led by Joshua Foss, a graduate student in exercise physiology, and co-authored by Chapman, will be discussed on Friday during the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Indianapolis. It examined the career performance of 65 male finalists and 64 female finalists of the 2000 Junior World Championships and a comparable number of finalists at the 2000 Olympics. They analyzed competition data for the junior athletes from the 12 years after the 2000 Junior World Championships and at least 12 years of data for the senior athletes from before and after the 2000 Olympics. The athletes were finalists in the 100-, 200-, 1,500- and 5,000-meter races, long jump, high jump, discus throw and shot put.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Senior athletes performed best at a significantly later age than their junior counterparts in all four men's event groups and three of four women's event groups.
  • Compared to the star junior athletes, the senior athletes showed a significantly greater percentage of improvement in lifetime best performance compared to their best performances as junior athletes in six of eight groups.
  • 23.6 percent of the junior athletes studied went on to medal in the Olympics.
  • 29.9 percent of the Olympians studied won medals earlier in their career while competing in the Junior World Championships.

Variability in maturation rates and potential differences in performance as athletes age can pose a challenge for recruiting coaches. Coaches anecdotally have known this was an issue, Chapman said, but the IU study bolsters it with data. He said the findings also are relevant in light of how sports organizations and national sport governing bodies budget their limited funds. Focusing their spending on junior athletes will not necessarily result in Olympic champions as the juniors age.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Elite athletes often shine sooner or later -- but not both." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130531105413.htm>.
Indiana University. (2013, May 31). Elite athletes often shine sooner or later -- but not both. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130531105413.htm
Indiana University. "Elite athletes often shine sooner or later -- but not both." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130531105413.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins