Why Jamaicans are Fastest Runners

  • Scientists have finally figured out the reason why the Caribbean island of Jamaica produces the world’s fastest athletes.
  • The world’s fastest man — Usain Bolt is from Jamaica;so are Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter and Yohan Blake.
  • A Rutgers University-led study tried to answer the simple question :why Jamaica, with a population smaller than that of Los Angeles, produces so many of the world’s elite sprinters;runners who compete in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres races?
  • Robert Trivers, an evolutionary biologist and professor of anthropology and biology started to look at the symmetry of their knees that might partly explain this phenomenon.
  • It was already known that the symmetry of children's knees at age of 8 predicts how fast a person runs 14 years later in life.
  • Trivers said:We then asked,is the de gree of symmetry positively associated with sprinting ability among the very best sprinters?
  • Within all sprinters, those with the most symmetrical knees have the best times and this was particularly true of the 100meter sprinters.
  • Trivers said:If you watch someone running a 100m race, you can see his or her knees continually churning up and down, propelling the sprinter forward. Symmetry is very efficient.
  • The researchers measured the knees of 74 elite Jamaican sprinters and a control group of 116 nonsprinting Jamaicans of the same age, sex and similar in size, weight.
  • They discovered that the sprinters’ knees were much more symmetrical than the knees of people in the control group.