Why do you think these ideas of physiological advantage are often repeated?
I guess it’s hard for people just to believe that it can just be stroke mechanics for Phelps or any other swimmer. Unless a seemingly suitable explanation comes up, people then think that this individual must be cheating or doping. It couldn’t just be that the guy trained his guts out. Look at what happened to Lance Armstrong—he won seven [Tour de Frances] in a row, [was accused of cheating], and yet [authorities] haven’t found anything.
So do you think there is anything to these “natural physical gift” arguments?
I’m sure if we could measure Phelps as much as we would like, we would find attributes better than average for swimming, but I don’t think we would find any glaring abnormalities. I suspected if we could comprehensively measure all Olympians in finals, we would see significant differences [when compared to non-Olympians], but we would not see them having freakish things like 200 percent more lung capacity, or muscles that can contract at twice the [maximum] force of a normal human muscle. I mean, come on.