Have you ever been attracted to someone who’s a super talented athlete, but not necessarily model-material? What about the opposite: Have you “known” that someone would be good at a sport based on how good looking they are?
The first phenomenon is known as “speed goggles”, or seeing fast athletes as more attractive than slow ones, and chances are we’ve all done it. (No wonder A-Rod was able to hook up with screen siren Cameron Diaz!) But what about the reverse? The idea that someone will perform better in athletic competition if they are generally regarded as beautiful or handsome. Have you thought this, and does the theory hold up?
A study performed at the University of Zurich put this idea to the test: Researchers asked participants in the study to look at portraits of cyclists competing in the 2012 Tour de France days before the start of the race. They ranked each athlete on a scale of 1 to 5, based on level of attractiveness.
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“Lance Armstrong is banned from cycling for life. If you see him on a bike, please knock him off and then shout, ‘NO!’ right in his face.”
This is just one sentiment shared by Twitter user @johnmoe and sure to be echoed by many, in response to the news that Lance Armstrong has surrendered his seven Tour de France titles by opting not to fight allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his decorated cycling career.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Chief Executive Travis Tygart announced Thursday that he was still waiting to hear Armstrong’s formal response to the charges, but that his decision not to proceed would leave Armstrong to face a lifetime competition ban and be stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles won between 1999 and 2005, as well as his 2000 Olympic bronze medal.
Armstrong, 40, announced that he was giving up his years-long fight against the USADA in an official statement emailed to various news sources, though he never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
“Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt,” he said. “…If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting…I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.”
Armstrong continued, arguing the charges were backed by “zero physical evidence” and were completely “outlandish and heinous” in nature. But despite his will to continue fighting the USADA, he’s finally given up.
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July 2, 2011 brought about another first for the infamous cycling event, the Tour de France. In its 107-year history, cyclists have experimented with a multitude of options to better their chances at taking on the steep mountains and rigorous course. From diets full of red meat and carbs to even using cigarettes as a tactic, nearly everything has been attempted by the athletes. However, American cyclist David Zabriskie tried something no one else ever had. Zabriskie showed up to the starting line, planning on his vegan diet to carry him to victory.
While so many people practice a vegetarian or vegan diet, why was Zabriskie’s diet news? His no meat, dairy, or egg diet seems so radical due to the demands his sport puts on his body. Most cyclists eat plenty of meat and diary to help muscle recovery. The iron in red meat helps the body produce hemoglobin which helps transport oxygen to the muscles.
So why would any athlete of Zabriskie’s caliber do such a thing? Zabriskie has a medical reason, stating that blood tests showed some food sensitivities that meant while most athletes would benefit from red meat, that meat would take too much energy for Zabriskie to digest.
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Cyclist and fitness enthusiast Lance Armstrong, born September 18, 1971 in Plano, Texas, began running and swimming at a young age and rapidly progressed to competitive cycling and triathlons. He became a professional triathlete during his teen years and was the national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990. In 1993, Lance won the “Triple Crown” (Thrift Drug Classic, Kmart West Virginia Classic, and Core States Race), finished second at the Tour DuPont, and won the World Road Race Championship in Norway. In 1996, he rode for the U.S. Olympic team in Atlanta, Georgia where he finished sixth in time trials and twelfth in the road race.
Lance’s career was looking promising until he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The cancer had spread throughout his body (lungs and brain) before the doctors were aware of the disease. After several rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries, Lance was pronounced cancer-free in 1997. Miracles come true and Lance Armstrong has proven it. In 1999, he won the Tour de France and the world was amazed as he went on to become a seven-time Tour de France champion.
While he previously announced his retirement, this year, he’s back on his bike and participating in the 2010 Tour de France.
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Jennifer Lopez trained for the better part of a year to do a triathlon this month. The moment of truth finally came. Not only did she do the swimming-running-biking event in under two and a half hours, she managed to raise $127,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. What did you do today?
Lopez was inspired to run a triathlon while eight months pregnant with twins Max and Emme, who were born in February.
“I was watching TV, and I saw a triathlon and I said, ‘You know what? I think I could do that, that would be great for me to do. Maybe I’ll do it this year,'” she explained.
We should all have that kind of spontaneous ambition for healthy activities. In fact, I’ve been thinking about getting a bike soon. I’m an impulsive person. I have four words for you – Tour de France 2009!