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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2002 Dec;42(4):446-50.

The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length and performance in skiing.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.



The ratio of the length of the 2nd and 4th digits (2D:4D) is sexually dimorphic with males tending to have lower values (longer 4 digits relative to 2nd) than females. There is evidence that low 2D:4D ratio is associated with high prenatal and adult levels of testosterone, good visuo-spatial ability, protection against heart attack, high self-reported sporting attainment and good soccer ability.


This preliminary study aimed to assess the relationship between 2D:4D ratio and skiing speed on the basis of times recorded on a 200 m slalom course by 72 skiers. Each skier made 2 individual timed runs and the fastest time was used for comparisons. Seventy-two sex and age-matched non-skiers served as controls for a comparison of 2D:4D.


There were lower values of 2D:4D in males compared to females, and in skiers compared to non-skiers. Age and skiing experience were not related to 2D:4D. Analyses of performance were restricted to the younger skiers (6 to 25 years, n=57). Age and skiing experience were negatively related to best times. The 2D:4D ratio was positively related to skiing times i.e. participants with low 2D:4D recorded the fastest times. The relationship between 2D:4D and skiing times was independent of sex, age and performance.


Low 2D:4D in skiers compared to controls suggests the former are more andogenised than the latter. Low 2D:4D was associated with fast skiing times. The 2D:4D ratio is fixed before birth and could be used to help identify young skiers who have potential to reach high levels of performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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