ESPN Radio Host Tony Fiorino Takes Athletic Genetic Testing To Task

If you frequent my blog at all, it would be easy for you to guess my position on genetic testing as a means for predetermining one’s success in sports. From my perspective, there are just too many other important factors (essential ingredients if I might) that help enable the possibility of athletic achievement, over and above ones inborn athleticism—especially at the elite level. And I have yet to bring up the likely consequences for young athletes if these tests become poplular.

Host of ESPN’s Hey Coach Tony radio show, Tony Fiorino, certainly had a hard time with the possible negative side effects of such testing. Here, take a look at the video above or go to the YouTube link below:

Are Great Athletes Born or Made? - June 25 2011

One emphasis in Tony’s show centered on giving individuals information about the best way to train an athlete based on the results of their testing, or genetic markers. I suppose I can see home value here for that purpose.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, it is much more likely that these tests will be used in a far different way; especially since our current youth sports culture places such a high priority on “winning” and gaining “athletic scholarship.” Pressures from outside the athlete could easily overwhelm any chances of developing the intrinsic (internal) characteristics needed for real athletic success.

One thing that caught my attention, something I am not a supporter of, was when Tony’s guest used the word destiny; a term traditionally used in predicting certain outcomes. He used this term in reference to one’s likely athletic destiny.

From my perspective, athletic destiny is built from the inside out and is not a predetermined “given” in any sense of the word. As I alluded to in the beginning of this post, it is only one small piece in a complicated puzzle of athletic greatness, there is just so much more to it.

It will be interesting to see how this genetic testing thing plays out over time. Here is for hoping that the impact will only be a positive one, but I am not sure that is likely.


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  • Kirk

    Great piece and well stated. Thanks also for the plug. I'm in Joplin, MO with my baseball team at the Premier World Series but we're spending just as much time helping with the relief efforts from the tornado here in May. Very humbling experience. I hope your readers got something out of the show. I'm getting on a plane tonight to go see my girls (wife included) for a much needed vacation. Back on the air on Saturday, July 23. Anyone interested in watching some videos of our experiences and the devastation here in Joplin can go to my channel at

    Keep up the great work.

    Coach Tony

  • Thanks Tony,

    Glade you liked it.

    Yes, the devastation from Tornado's this year has been unbelievable. I can only imagine as a couple of friends of mine went through one of the areas that was hit hard and said that seeing it in real life is much more moving than what you seen on television. Pictures and video just do not show how bad it really is.

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