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How Olympic Bodies Have Changed Over Time

From 1929 to now, how do former Olympic champions compare to today’s athletes?

(See the whole graphic at NPR)

Over at NPR, there’s an infographic on the ways in which our Olympians have changed over time. In 1929, the 100m dash winner was 5’7″ and weighed 145 pounds. Usain Bolt? He’s 6’5″ and 189. Women’s marathon runners, on the other hand, haven’t changed much at all.

There are a lot of graphics like this one out there, comparing today’s Olympians with those of the past. The New York Times has a series on Olympic history here and here. At The Guardian, you can see which Olympian you’re most like, physically. ABC has a video of Olympic bodies for each sport. And, here, athletes of all different sports stand next to each other for comparison. Basically, we like to look at Olympians bodies.

More at

Olympic Games at the Smithsonian

The Science of the Olympics

About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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