Why You're Not an Olympian: Athletes Built for Their Sports

Olympic athletes often have physical attributes that suit their events.

ByABC News
August 2, 2012, 7:04 PM

Aug. 7, 2012— -- If you've got it, you've got it.

This is clearly the case when it comes to certain Oympic athletes whose unusual physical attributes seem to make them uncannily suited for their sport.

Needless to say, the advantages that nature gave the following five athletes have been complemented by years of practice and a grueling training schedule. Still, in many cases their physical advantages may make the difference between simply participating and coming home with a medal.

LeBron James

LeBron James is like the New York Yankees: Millions love him, and even more despise him. But anyone who is a sports lover can't help but appreciate his freak-of-nature physique and his ability on the basketball court.

James is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players ever to play the game, and rightfully so. His body (6-foot-8, 250 pounds) allows him to dunk a basketball 3 ½ feet away from the rim. His legs give him the capability to produce 700 pounds of pressure per leap. And his speed is unmatched, even against the fastest point guards.

Michael Phelps

By medal count, Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian who ever lived. But it his unusual body that gives him the ability to do things no other Olympian could ever dream of.

His ankles, shoulders and elbows are double jointed, his wingspan is four inches longer than his body, and his shoulders are reported to be 45 inches across, giving him a slight advantage over his teammate and rival, Ryan Lochte.

He made his first appearance in the Sydney 2000 Olympics and everyone knew then that he would be a swimming superstar.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt is the world's best sprinter -- a title he has held since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. No one can compare to the physique that Bolt brings to the track; his 6-foot-5 inch frame gives his stride a length that seems almost gazelle-like.

In fact, Bolt's stride is eight feet long -- which means that he covers more distance with each step than other Olympians, who have to exert more energy to keep up. Bolt then has the ability to glide past the competition with little or no effort at all.

Gabby Douglas

Sixteen-year-old Gabby "The Flying Squirrel" Douglas is considered to be her generation's Dominique Moceanu. Moceanu was the star of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Douglas, with her 4-foot-11-inch frame, is able to do things that not too many people in world can do. For example, she can project her body 13 feet into the air off a vault with just her hands. But don't let her small size fool you; her high-speed rotation on the uneven bars means that she generates a force equivalent to nine times her body weight -- all of which she needs to bear with her arms as she goes through her routine.

Brady Ellison

Arizona native Brady Ellison has an eye for success -- literally. His vision is 20/10, which means that he can see at 20 feet what mere mortals can only make out at half that distance. Ellison can shoot an arrow over 86 yards away and hit a target that is 4.8 inches in diameter (a target the size of a Samsung Galaxy S III, for anyone who is wondering).

Ellison shot and killed his first bear at the age of 11. He has also killed deer, elk and wild boar. He recently started bow fishing, a sport that doesn't allow you to catch and release.

Ellison made his first appearance in the 2008 Olympics at the age of 19.