Mighty Mars, the planet of aggression, figures strongly in the charts of athletes, who are statistically more likely than nonathletes to have Mars within striking distance of either the Midheaven or the Ascendant. (The specific areas near the Midheaven are the ninth house and first ten degrees of the tenth. The sensitive areas near the Ascendant are the twelfth house and the first ten degrees of the first house.) You see these positions in the charts of Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods, both Capricorns. Ali has a tenacious Mars in Taurus conjunct the Midheaven. Tiger has a similar setup, with an impatient Mars in Gemini conjunct his Midheaven.
Mars can also be prominent for other reasons. For instance, I don't know whether Lance Armstrong has an angular Mars. Angularity depends on birth time, and I don't have that information about him. I do know this: His Mars in Aquarius aspects all but one of his other planets, making it very active indeed.
Mars can also dominate a chart in the opposite situation: When it makes no aspects whatsoever. Such a solitary planet, unhampered by other planets with competing agendas, operates without interference and can consequently be the strongest influence in a chart.
I don't want to suggest that Mars is the only planet that affects athletic ability. A well-placed Sun gives vitality. Mercury lends quickness. Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto confer power. Athleticism, like other talents, is an amalgamation of many factors.
Finally, although gifted athletes are born under every sign of the zodiac, fire and earth signs are slightly more common among them than air and water. Athletes, like artists, benefit from a touch of Leo — not because it advances athletic ability (Leos, I have noticed, can be amazingly klutzy) but because it stimulates the love of performance. And that is definitely part of the game.
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