Height and Weight

Imagine that your child is asked to bring pictures of a half dozen athletes to school for a show-and-tell on the theme of human diversity. Whom would she choose? Shaquille O’Neal and Nadia Comaneci perhaps: a behemoth of a basketball center at 7 feet, 325 pounds of pure athleticism, and the diminutive gymnast who achieved perfection on the uneven bars at the Montreal Olympics. An equally odd couple would be Takanohana Koji, one of the great sumo wrestlers of our time, and Maria Sharapova, Wimbledon champion with the looks of a supermodel. Throw in El Guerrouj, the great Moroccan middle-distance runner, and the Aboriginal quarter-miler Kathy Freeman, and you have a pretty full coverage of human variation. We’re not quite as ...

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