Originally Posted by NOS88
No doubt true, Nos, but, as in any endeavor, amongst the elite of the elite, where everyone has the right genetic goop (not saying that some don't have natural advantages even among that elite group - they do), other factors also come into play.
I can't remember his name - you all would - the current skier who likes to party and is so unorthodox in his skiing - he is an exception - or maybe not. For every spectacular unorthodox win he achieves, how many opportunities has he squandered as a result of his undisciplined (or what appears to be undisciplined) approach.
I recall watching an interview with the late great pianist, Vladimir Horowitz. He was recounting from his childhood how some passage of music had really given him trouble because of the large size of his hand. Some silly little [twit is the term he used or something similar] of a girl could play the passage without practice and without difficulty because it better "fit" her hand.
The point he was making was that each of us has certain advantages of which we can take advantage - and, as to the disadvantages, we have to practice to overcome those. The passage in question is a distant memory to Horowitz (who is, himself, a distant, but fond memory to the music world). Horowitz went on to become one of the world's preeminent pianists - the girl probably quit playing all together before she reached her teenage years.
I would vote for practice - disciplined, well planned, well coached practice backed by sheer determination as one of the champion's best secrets.
If you've done any reading on Lance, you know that he had some technical problems early on and was aided greatly by his coach in developing techniques to overcome those problems to become such a great cyclist.
He also had the determination to train like crazy. Who among us would devote the kind of time he did riding and riding and riding.
This is a really interesting and complex topic - and the same principles probably apply to almost any skill-related endeavor.