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'Hercules' vs. Elite Athletes 100 Years Ago
in Sports

By xMathFanxxMathFanx 125 Pts
Consider, if the Ancient Greeks built the 'Hercules' statue, then why were the Elite Athletes 100 years ago so comparatively inferior?

'Hercules'





'John Flanagan: 3 Time Olympic Gold Medalist at Hammer Throw'





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  • agsragsr 852 Pts
    edited March 2018
    Hmm, Hercules is a son of God according to Greek mythology..are you comparing that to an athlete?
    xMathFanx
    Live Long and Prosper
  • agsr said:
    Hmm, Hercules is a son of Gon according to Greek mythology..are you comparing that to an athlete?

    You missed the point entirely.

    The Ancienct Greeks created a statue of a man who is highly physically advanced, even by todays standards; which is highly suggestive that (at least one) such a man existed thousands of years ago.  Fast-forward 2000 years and the Elite athletes in the world looked like the stereotype of men who would have to be forced to take Gym class against their will, and would be happy Dodgeball is no longer part of the standard curriculum.

    Do you have any thoughts on how and/or why this may be?
  • The Olympics is an amateur competition and not necessarily the best of the best, not all sports require vast physical strength throughout the entire body and even when they do require strength that  doesn't necessarily mean strength and low body fat to show off glamour muscles.

    Not only that but a sample size of 1 isn't really very telling and you are basing your claim on an unevidenced assumptions - that the statue is representative in any way of greek stature and build at the time even though the statue is of a fictional demigod and that this bodytype didn't appear 100 years ago.
    xMathFanx
  • Ampersand said:
    The Olympics is an amateur competition and not necessarily the best of the best, not all sports require vast physical strength throughout the entire body and even when they do require strength that  doesn't necessarily mean strength and low body fat to show off glamour muscles.

    Not only that but a sample size of 1 isn't really very telling and you are basing your claim on an unevidenced assumptions - that the statue is representative in any way of greek stature and build at the time even though the statue is of a fictional demigod and that this bodytype didn't appear 100 years ago.

    @Ampersand ;

    (A) The Olympics is in fact intended to be the Elite athletes in the world who choose to engage in a competitive arena--thus proving their athletic ability

    (B) I intentionally selected a 3 time world champion at a primarily strength-based event in order to really highlight the stark differences

    (C) There is a strong correlation between muscular size and strength--which is why combat sports all have weight classes.  Now, there are certainly varying degrees of optimizing strength to body size ratio, however this hardly overrides the previously mentioned correlation.

    (D) Do your own research, the Elite athletes of 100 years ago are extremely unimpressive by nearly all measures


  • @agsr ;
    Hercules was a Roman God and the son of Jupiter.

    Heracles was the Greek equivalent and was the son of Zeus.

    Who was Gon?
  • xMathFanx said:
    Ampersand said:
    The Olympics is an amateur competition and not necessarily the best of the best, not all sports require vast physical strength throughout the entire body and even when they do require strength that  doesn't necessarily mean strength and low body fat to show off glamour muscles.

    Not only that but a sample size of 1 isn't really very telling and you are basing your claim on an unevidenced assumptions - that the statue is representative in any way of greek stature and build at the time even though the statue is of a fictional demigod and that this bodytype didn't appear 100 years ago.

    @Ampersand ;

    (A) The Olympics is in fact intended to be the Elite athletes in the world who choose to engage in a competitive arena--thus proving their athletic ability

    (B) I intentionally selected a 3 time world champion at a primarily strength-based event in order to really highlight the stark differences

    (C) There is a strong correlation between muscular size and strength--which is why combat sports all have weight classes.  Now, there are certainly varying degrees of optimizing strength to body size ratio, however this hardly overrides the previously mentioned correlation.

    (D) Do your own research, the Elite athletes of 100 years ago are extremely unimpressive by nearly all measures


    A) The point is that with many events there is no professional version - e.g. there is no such thing as a professional Hammer Thrower. You can't watch hammer throwing every weekend on the TV. John Flanagan worked as a police officer and competed in his spare time. He was by definition an amateur.

    B) That is not a response to it being a small sample size. You chose one example of one competitor at one time in his life (which after checking, was at the 1908 Olympics when he was 40 years old). Even just changing one of those metrics slightly and looking at him when he was 36 in the 1904 Olympics makes a substantial difference:



    C) The point isn't about muscle size and strength because you don't seem to care about that, none of your points have actually been about someone being stronger or better than the other - you just think that one person has visible mucles while the other looks pudgy. Your entire point seems to be about whether someone has a low body fat content to show off those muscles - which seems to be the only metric you care about rather than how strong or how athletic someone actually is. By way of example here is a worlds strongest man competitor who would almost certainly be physically stronger than someone with the build of the Hercules statue. based on your logic, you would seem to call him inferior because he muscles aren't showy like that of a bodybuilders.

    Low body fat to show off muscles =/= strength of your muscles

    d) You are the one making the claim, the burden of proof is on your to provide adequate evidence to support it.Why would I try and make your argument for you?

    E) You have given no response to this all being based on assumptions without a shred of evidence.
  • agsragsr 852 Pts
    @Fredsnephew, sorry..fixed spellling..God instead of Gon.

    @xMathFanx, picking one photo is not a good sample.  Also I think that perhaps with less media being available 100 years ago, and exercise/body building not mainstream, people weren't as much in shape as now. We also have no idea if statue of Hercules was based on a real person or imagination.

    Live Long and Prosper
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 2057 Pts
    The features the sculptor desires to exemplify tend to be exaggerated on statues. As with any piece of art, exaggeration of features in order to make them more obvious and noticeable is very common, and it was not different at the Ancient Greek times.

    That said, I would guess that people in the ancient times were, on average, in a significantly better physical shape than nowadays. People ate purely organic food, they had to do a lot of physical labor on an everyday basis to survive, and the expectations from life in terms of comfort were significantly lower, so people did not see working hard on their physical form as something terribly inconvenient.

    They also had a much lower quality of life, however, as well as a much poorer understanding of human physiology, of healthcare and so on. That would be a factor benefiting modern athletes, as very effective diets and physical exercise programs have been developed over the millennia, and modern pharmaceutics are extremely potent.

    Which one of these two factors has a stronger effect is hard to say without consulting professional historians.
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