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Serena and Venus Williams at the 2014 U.S. Open. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

Younger siblings have a significantly higher chance of becoming elite athletes, according to a new book titled, "The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made."

What they're saying: "Playing with older siblings is better for skill acquisition because athletes learn at a faster rate when they fail regularly," co-author Tim Wigmore tells Axios. "Younger siblings can't use physical advantages so they need skills, tactics and resilience to compete."

Case study No. 1: In a study of USWNT candidates, 75% had an older sibling, 20% were the oldest child and just 5% were only children.

Case study No. 2: In a study of 700 pairs of brothers who played Major League Baseball, the younger brother outperformed the older brother in two-thirds of cases and played an average of 2.5 years longer.

"What helped Andy become that sort of uber-competitor was having an older brother who's a bit bigger and a bit stronger than him through most of his formative years. And all he ever wanted to do was to beat Jamie."
— Andy Murray's mother, Judy

Another area that the book explores is the striking correlation between the amount of informal play an athlete engages in during childhood and how successful they are in sports later in life.

  • Case study: This could explain why the working-class "banlieus" on the outskirts of Paris — where kids grow up playing informal street soccer from dawn to dusk — produce more talent than anywhere else in Europe.
  • From the author: "A healthy amount of informal play cultivates creativity, freethinking and technical expertise," says Wigmore. "A diet of rigid and hyper-serious coaching alone can be detrimental."

Buy the book.

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.