Physical Characteristics Of The Athlete 23

Figure 4.

Figure 4. - W------, Harvard Law School; age, 22 years,

4 months; weight, 136 lbs.; height, 5 feet, 10.3 inches. Holds no records, but has won the quarter-mile race in the Intercollegiate sports for two years, and he is a fast runner for all distances between one hundred and four hundred and forty yards.

Physical Characteristics Of The Athlete 24

Figs. 4. 3. 1. 2.

Chart II., plotted from Figs. 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The most significant fact in connection with this diagram is that it shows, in certain directions, the uplifting of a class. The data collected are not sufficient to lead to any satisfactory conclusions as to the trustworthiness of the diagram here plotted. The addition of a few more rowing men, or the subtraction of a few base-ball men, or, in fact, a change in the relative numbers of any of the so-called specialists, might have altered the result.

The improvement of the physique and strength in certain directions is indicated by the strength-tests, and by the increase in weight, height, chest-girth, etc. How far this development can be attributed to athletics, and how far to gymnastic training, remains an open question, as work on the water and in the field is supplemented by a few months' practice in the gymnasium.

What the gymnasium is doing for the strength and vigor of the masses in some of our institutions of learning may be inferred from a single illustration taken from the records at Harvard University.

In the year 1880, seven hundred and seventy-six men were physically examined. The strongest man out of this number showed in strength of lungs, back, legs, chest, and arms, as indicated on the chart, a grand total of 675.2. At the close of the summer term of the present year (1887), the highest strength-test recorded was 1272.8, and there were over two hundred men in college whose total strength-test surpassed the highest test of 1880. This general gymnasium work is therefore reducing the one-sided development once so common with athletic specialists.

It must not be forgotten, however, that there is a development peculiar to the runner, jumper, wrestler, oarsman, gymnast, ball-player, heavy-lifter, etc.; and any one familiar with athletics at the present day can easily recognize one of these specialists. The same training that produced those matchless specimens of human development embodied in the statues of the Gladiator, the Athlete, Hercules, Apollo, and Mercury of old, would produce the same results under similar circumstances at the present time.

With every kind of physical exercise, the qualities at first required are the qualities at length developed. Speed and endurance are required of the runner, and these are the qualities that come to him by practice. In a like manner, skill and activity come to the gymnast and ballplayer; and strength and stability to the oarsman and weight-thrower. Most of these qualities are accompanied by physical characteristics. If it were not for the recognized tendency of certain exercises to produce certain results, it would be impossible to prescribe special work for individual cases. All men, however, who practise athletics for the same length of time, and under similar conditions, do not attain identical results in their physical proportions, or the same degree of success in their athletic achievements.

In order to illustrate some of the distinguishing features that characterize the development of successful athletes, I have selected representative members of the different athletic organizations in the universities of Yale and Harvard, a few of whom distinguished themselves, within the last two years, by breaking all previous college records for certain events. The photographs of these men, in spite of their dissimilarity, show us certain characteristics common to certain figures, and marked peculiarities of another kind will accompany others. Some of these characteristics are not readily detected by the eye, but appear distinctly in the charts (see Fig. 1, p. 51; Chart II., p. 58). Sixty per cent of the ten thousand examined failed to surpass this young man in weight; while ninety per cent fell short of him in stature, and ninety-eight and three-fourths per cent in height of knee. The sitting height drops back to the twenty-five per cent class, while the height of the pubic arch, which gives us the length of the thigh, is very near the ninety-seven and a half per cent line. The position of the sternum would indicate that the neck and head were a little short, thus adding something to the relative length of the short body. In glancing down the line, it will be observed that the girth of most of the bone measurements, and the breadth or the head and hips, are below the mean. The chest is deep and full, standing almost as high proportionally as the length of the lower limbs. The waist, though small for the weight and height, is above the average. The calves are large, and the arms well developed, but the thighs are deficient in girth, and do not compare favorably with the other muscle measurements. The arms and feet are long for the girth of the bones and muscles, but are in harmony with the length of the leg and thigh. The capacity of the lungs is very good, and the strength of the chest and arms is in keeping with the measurements of these parts.

Physical Characteristics Of The Athlete 25

Figure 5, a.

Figure 5, a and b. - D------, Harvard, '90; age, 21 years; weight, 142 1/5 lbs.; height, 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches. Holds the 3 mile Intercollegiate record of 16 minutes, 5 2/5 seconds; has raced but one season, but has practised much in the gymnasium, and ran long distances in "Hare and Hounds" races before coming to college.