August 19, 2008 / 1:54 AM / 11 years ago

Pisces for the pool and Taurus for the pole vault

BEIJING (Reuters) - Something fishy is happening at the Olympic Games in Beijing. Put it all down to the stars.

Forget training, dedication and determination. An athlete’s star sign could be the secret to Olympic gold.

After comparing the birthdates of every Olympic winner since the modern Games began in 1896, British statistician Kenneth Mitchell discovered gold medals really are written in the stars.

He found athletes born in certain months were more likely to thrive in particular events.

Mitchell dubbed the phenomenon “The Pisces Effect” (pisces is Latin for fish) after finding that athletes born under the sign received around 30 percent more medals than any other star sign in events like swimming and water polo.

In the history of the Games, the big winners in the overall medals haul were born under the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius and Aries. They boasted a significantly higher number of golds.

Checking out the birthdates among the Beijing winners produces some intriguing results.

For fencers looking to deliver a sting in the tail and make it to the podium, Scorpio is the right sign. Two of the three Beijing medallists in the men’s individual sabre event were Scorpio, he said.

For pole vaulters charging down the track, it is better to be born under Taurus, the sign of the bull.

Any Olympic hopefuls unsure which event to pick can now turn to olympicstarsign.com, check out their birthdate and find which sport would be the perfect astrological fit.

Even Mitchell was surprised by his own findings which he said were conclusive “and I really mean conclusive”.

“I am talking of odds against chance of hundreds of thousands to one”, he said, explaining the research he undertook after being made redundant from his IT job.

“And just for the record, I know a thing or two about statistics. I have a PhD from Glasgow University on statistical ecology and a further 33 years working on statistical data analysis,” he explained on his website.

Explaining his eureka moment with all the zeal of a statistical crusader, he concluded: “Did you know that the distribution of Olympic swimming medallists against the tropical astrological zodiac signs can be almost exactly mapped by a polynomial function of the third degree?

“That’s one to shut people up at a pub.” (Editing by Nick Macfie)

For more stories visit our multimedia website "2008 Summer Olympics" here; and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china

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