Do East African distance runners dominate races due to genetics?

More than 10,000 athletes from 206 different nations will compete for glory in [the 2016] Olympic Games…But when it comes to distance running it’s likely that, as in previous years, the finals will be dominated by athletes from East African countries or those of East African heritage.

Why do athletes from this one region of the world tend to have such extraordinary success in one sport?

There is some evidence that the typical body type of East African distance runners…may contribute to an increased efficiency in these athletes…Yet the overall findings of these research studies have not identified genetic traits that could conclusively explain the success of East African distance runners.


[I]t is possible that the success of these athletes could be down to a combination of interacting genes, which the latest genetic research is trying to discover.

We still can’t say conclusively what is behind the phenomenal success of the East African distance runners. But research suggests it is unlikely that there is a single genetic factor that can explain their success…


The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Can genetics explain the success of East African distance runners?

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