present study compared the anthropometry of sprinters and people belonging
to the normal population. The height and body mass (BM) distribution
of sprinters (42 men and 44 women) were statistically compared to
the distributions of American and Danish normal populations. The main
results showed that there was significantly less BM and height variability
(measured as standard deviation) among male sprinters than among the
normal male population (US and Danish), while female sprinters showed
less BM variability than the US and Danish normal female populations.
On average the American normal population was shorter than the sprinters.
There was no height difference between the sprinters and the Danish
normal population. All female groups had similar height variability.
Both male and female sprinters had lower body mass index (BMI) than
the normal populations. It is likely that there is no single optimal
height for sprinters, but instead there is an optimum range that differs
for males and females. This range in height appears to exclude people
who are very tall or very short in stature. Sprinters are generally
lighter in BM than normal populations. Also, the BM variation among
sprinters is less than the variation among normal populations. These
anthropometric characteristics typical of sprinters might be explained,
in part, by the influence the anthropometric characteristics have
on relative muscle strength and step length.
WORDS: Sprint running, height, body mass, anthropometry.