The (Physical) Strength of Nations

The (Physical) Strength of Nations. By Anatoly Karlin. At the recent Olympics, the same old countries won most of the medals:

 

The politically correct explanation for European and north Asian dominance is that these nations are richer, have more time for frivolous pastimes, and prepare much better. Compared to population size, European-ancestry nations did particularly well.

Yet the Philippines and India — who have won 35 and 14 Olympic medals ever, compared to 562 for Australia and 2,963 for the USA —  both celebrated their first gold medals in many years in a huge fashion, so it does matter to them.

Is there something else going on as well? Perhaps. Here’s a quick survey of physical strength differences from a human bio-diversity (HBD) perspective. Let’s focus on grip strength, because it is easy to measure, changes the least as people age (hand grip is the last to go), and is exercised more or less universally.

From Leong, Darryl et al. – 2015 – Prognostic value of grip strength:

That would appear to go some way to explaining the Olympic results. Then, within the Europeans:

From Andersen Ranberg, Karen et al. – 2009 – Cross National Differences in Grip Strength among 50yo Europeans:

The Germanics really are significantly stronger than the Mediterraneans. The average Germanic seems to be around 15 years “younger” than the average Italian or Spaniard in terms of hand grip strength. …

Women have around 60% of the hand grip strength of men. …

Two nations in particular seem to be superlative in terms of physical strength relative to their racial groups:

1. Icelanders, with a mere 300,000 people, dominate the world strongman competitions. They have won 9 Gold medals, more than any other country other than the US, which has won 11 (and has one thousand times its population). … Icelandic women have also won four years of the past decade’s worth the Crossfit Games. …

2. The Mongols, with just three million people, dominate sumo wrestling in Japan. (In fairness, the Japanese seem to be physically smaller than other East Asians, so they are probably weaker than Koreans and northern Chinese). …

Conversely, the Indians really might be the physically weakest race. … Of course malnutrition is still a factor. Once that is solved and India gets its bodily Flynn effect, the average Indian male will surpass the Swedish and probably the Icelandic woman. …

Perhaps the human race was at its genomic peak of physical strength in Iceland 1,000 years ago. Agriculture is more of an aerobic activity, so explosive physical strength may have been selected against ever since.

More at the link.