Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Food for thought: genetic testing and sports

"Born to Run? Little ones get test for sports gene"
11.29.08, The New York Times, Juliet Macur
Some parents are lining up to get a new genetic test that aims to predict a child’s natural athletic strengths by collecting DNA and having it analyzed for a specific gene. The New York Times reports that DNA is collected by a simple swab inside the child’s cheek and along the gums and then the sample is sent to a lab for analysis of the gene ACTN3. A 2003 study discovered the link between ACTN3 and athletic ability. In this era of genetic testing, DNA is being analyzed to determine predispositions to disease, but experts raise serious questions about marketing it as a first step in finding a child’s sports niche. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/sports/30genetics.html?em

Well, I tell you this. I wouldn't test my kid. You need to read to the second page of the article to find the neat quote about the springiest guy in Spain and lining up kindergarteners for a free race.

As I've mentioned in several other posts, Ice Girl was mediocre to lousy in all other sports she'd tried. A gymnastics drop-out (9 years), Ice Girl tried soccer, basketball, and swimming. Lousy, lousy, lousy. She was mediocre at gymnastics.

Figure skating, though. Holy cow. We weren't prepared for her to go from Basic 3 to Limited Beginniner in a year. I don't think any test would have revealed that, either.

So, I'm saving my $147 and throwing it at the ice instead. Even a free race with kindergarteners probably wouldn't have revealed Ice Girl's talent. Of course, now that Ice Girl is almost 13, I bet she'd kick those little kids' butts. Well, most of them, anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That seems to be about the progress at our rink. All these skaters struggle though to level 3 or 4, skate a Basic Skills competition at 5, maybe 6, then pow! In a matter of weeks, they are all suddenly skating Beginner Freestyle or even No Test or Pre Pre. Last year, the basic Skills Competition was heavy in the B6-8, and now they are all doing axels. It's mind boggling!

Coaches say that they all do sort of level out at the axel and then double salcow, plateau for a while, and then jump again.

It will give us time to save up money for the increased ice time. Yike!