Olympic athletes are not like the rest of us. Most of them live longer, for one thing, as two revealing new studies found. But not all Olympians enjoy that bonus. Certain sports, the studies suggest, may be better than others when it comes to extending lifespan, a finding that has broad implications for those of us who have no expectations of ever being an Olympian.
The more comprehensive of the two studies, both of which appear in the Christmas issue of the British medical journal BMJ, examined the lives — and deaths — of 15,174 male and female Olympic medalists who had competed at Summer or Winter Games since 1896 (the date of the first modern Olympics), employing an extensive database created by Olympic historians and statisticians.