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At Your Fingertips

Be Strong
By Evelyn Spence
posted: 06/30/2003

J.T. Manning has a finger fetish-especially with the index and ring digits. Over the years, the doctor, based in Liverpool, England, has studied how the ratio between the two can forecast sperm count, peg whether men are gay or straight, divine soccer skills and running speeds, and predict the onset of everything from dyslexia to heart disease.

Turns out that the size of your pointers correlates to ski performance as well. When Manning timed 72 skiers on a 200-meter slalom course, those with longer ring fingers than index fingers had faster times. Although men naturally tend to have longer ring fingers, the women in the study who were graced with malelike digits could carve better than the women with more typical female fingers. "The ratio is fixed before birth," says Manning, explaining that testosterone levels in the womb likely cause the difference, leading to greater assertiveness, better visual judgment of speed and distance, and more willingness to give "rough-and-tumble, male-oriented" sports-like skiing-a go.

"(Finger length) could be used to help identify young skiers who have potential to reach high levels of performance," Manning adds. No word yet as to whether the U.S. Ski Team plans on prowling maternity wards with tape measures this spring.

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