The 2012 London Olympics begin on July 27, and the world’s premier athletes will be going for the gold. However, there are some top-tier contenders that prefer to earn their stripes in the wild: Nature’s Athletes.
Here's how the world's best human athletes measure up to nature's athletes:
Phelps' maximum speed of about 6 miles per hour has earned him 14 Olympic gold medals. But a bluefin tuna, which can be found off of the coast of Long Island, can swim at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
Bolt, clocks in at a remarkable 28 miles per hour over 110 yards. Meanwhile, a cheetah can run 71 mph over 300 yards. Even if Bolt were to come close, cheetahs make fast and abrupt turns while hunting prey in the African desert.
Known for his speed and agility, Federer darts back and forth across a 36-foot court during matches. But White-handed Gibbons are considered the fastest and most agile primates, throwing themselves up to 50 feet between branches in the rainforest.
Though they are incredibly in synch, the choreography that synchronized divers use to guide their jumps cannot compare to the flight of a migratory bird, which is guided by the Earth's magnetic fields.
Hummingbirds have very weak feet and can barely walk — not much help on the balance beam where Johnson shines. But these agile little birds can fly forward, backwards and upside down!
Fencers use three different types of swords to hit their opponents in one-on-one matches; Sailfish use their pointed bills to stun the shoals of fish that are their prey.
Leaping 47 inches vertically, Walsh can certainly out-jump many of her competitors on the sand courts where she plays volleyball. But a mountain lion has her beat: These cats can jump 15 feet vertically.November 08, 2012