Do Fall Babies Make Better Athletes? Pros Beg to Differ

PHOTO: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Prospective parents hoping to have the next Tiger Woods or Serena Williams would do well to plan their pregnancies for a fall delivery, a new study claims.

Research at Britain’s Center for Sports and Exercise Science at Essex University found that children born in October and November performed up to 15 percent better on physical fitness tests than their peers, according to the study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. Boys born in November were able to run an average 10 percent faster, jump 12 percent higher and push up to 15 percent more weight in strength tests compared to those born in April, the study found.

The researchers came to their conclusion after reviewing the fitness stats of 8,500 English children between the ages of 10 and 16. But they didn’t considered the birthdays of those who’ve already achieved indisputable athletic greatness – so we did.

Here are some of the world’s top athletes, whose birthdays, you’ll find, are all over the place.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.
Martin Rose/Getty Images
World Cup Soccer Players

Lionel Messi, widely considered the best soccer player in the world, was born in June. Other top players include Cristiano Ronaldo, born in February; Xavi Hernandez, born in January; and Andres Iniesta, born in May.

None of these men were born in the fall. However, they all hail from Latin countries.

Pele, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time, was born in October. But another soccer great, David Beckham, came into the world in May.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: Tiger Woods plays a bunker shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral on March 9, 2014 in Doral, Florida.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods, born December 30, 1975, has held the title of world’s top-ranked golfer for longer than anyone else, ever. He is a record eleven-time PGA Player of the Year.

In this case, starting out young may have made the difference. Woods was a childhood golf prodigy. His father, Earl, introduced him to the game before he turned two and he was winning tournaments by age five.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: Venus Williams and Serena Williams of the USA in action during their doubles match against Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on February 19, 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Warren Little/Getty Images
The Williams Sisters

Venus Williams was born June 17, 1980, and Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981.

Both are star tennis players – but does Serena’s birthday give her an edge?

When they’ve gone head-to-head in major tournaments, Serena has come out on top 14 times compared to Venus’s ten times. They’ve play against each other in eight Grand Slam tournament finals, with Serena leading Venus six wins to two.

Venus currently holds 45 singles titles while Serena holds 60.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees in action against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on June 5, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Derek Jeter

The Yankee captain was born on June 26, 1974. As a five-time World Series champion, he’s widely regarded as the key to the Yankees’ successful seasons in the late nineties, early 2000s.

Jeter’s abilities on the baseball diamond were apparent from the start. His high school batting average was over .500 all three years.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States competes on the beam during the Artistic Gymnastics Womens Beam final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 7, 2012 in London, England.
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Gabby Douglas

This two time Olympic gold medalist was born on December 31, 1995. Douglas got an uncharacteristically late start for a world class athlete. She didn’t become a competitive gymnast until she was 8 years old and her career was undistinguished until she began working with top coach Liang Chow at the age of 14.

Of Gabby’s four Olympic gold medal winning teammates, only Kyla Ross was born in the fall.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: Michael Phelps swims the breaststroke in the mens 200 meter IM final at the George F. Haines International Swim Center on June 22, 2014 in Santa Clara, California.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Michael Phelps

Born June 30, 1985, the swimmer is the most decorated Olympian in history with a total of 22 Olympic medals, 18 of them gold.

As for his chief competition, their birth dates cover the calendar. Australian Ian Thorpe is a fall baby, born October 13, 1982. American Ryan Lochte was born August 3, 1984. And French swimmer Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 200 meter butterfly in the 2012 Olympics, was born April 12, 1992.

Great Athletes: When Were They Born?

PHOTO: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat gets a pick from teammate Udonis Haslem #40 against the Indiana Pacers at the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 24, 2014 in Miami, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Lebron James

Lebron James was born December 30, 1984, and no one can deny his dominance on the basketball court. He’s won two NBA championships and holds four NBA most valuable player titles.

As for other male basketball greats, you can celebrate their birthday’s all year long. Shaq’s is in March. Michael Jordan was born in February. And Magic Johnson was an August baby.

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