Saturday, 6 March 2010

Well the Winter Olympics finished nearly a week ago and I thought I’d list a few of my favourite moments from the games. First off I’d like to say that I don’t buy the criticism levelled at Vancouver and Canada as hosts. I think they did a great job; it wasn’t their fault the weather decided it didn’t want to play fair and the Canadians did a great job of ensuring an amazing atmosphere. Who would have thought Curling could get so rowdy!

Well here are my three favourite Vancouver 2010 moments;

Mogul Skiing

I’d never seen this event before even though it’s been part of the Olympics since 1992. What astonishes me every time is the movement of the skier’s legs. It’s a very unnatural, pneumatic movement. It reminds me somewhat of the Honda “Asimo” robot. It looks like it puts huge amount stress on the athlete’s knees. However I did a little bit of research and found a paper suggesting that stress placed on mogul skiers knees is almost half than the load on slalom skiers; in fact they found that the load was similar to when walking briskly. I found this interesting video on mogul skiing technique too.

Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey finals

Two great grudge matches with Canada and America in the finals. Canada’s Alamo esque defence when the American’s had a double power play in the women’s final was really impressive. The Canadians celebration made me chuckle a bit too. The men’s final was a great competition but the co commentator was on another planet! Some of his quotes included;

“This is like Brokeback mountain 2”

“Once, twice, three times a lady... denied”

Sometimes quotes look odd out of context but the fact is that these quotes didn’t really make sense in their original context. It clearly had an effect on the BBC’s Bob Ballard as when Canada scored the winning goal in overtime he referred to them as “Canadia”. These mishaps didn’t ruin the coverage for me; I like the commentators to make mistakes now and again.

British Gold in the Skeleton

Britain's one and only medal; it was Gold though. It was a brilliant performance by Amy Williams especially considering that the Canadian competitors had had significantly more time on the track. It’s also even more amazing considering that Britain doesn’t have a dedicated training track and have to commute to Austria for their practice. The negative criticism aimed towards the Team GB seems a bit unfair. We don’t really have the facilities for the majority of the events. Maybe in indoor events such as ice skating, ice hockey and curling we should perform better at but our climate just doesn’t suit Winter Olympic events. Perhaps we should speed up climate change to increase the amount of snow...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

“Ooo you must be really good at sport...” The perennial question when you tell someone that you study Sport Science; the answer is always the same “No...” My greatest sporting achievement is probably two 2nd’s and a 3rd place in the 100m for school sports day, hardly a prolific talent then. So what is Sport Science?

Sport science endeavours to improve an athlete’s performance; either through improving their physical capabilities, improving their equipment, analysing their technique etc. If you watch any sport on the T.V you will no doubt witness the involvement of some sport science; however it’s often behind the scenes and goes unnoticed. When you watch footballers warming up before a game stretching into various compromising positions they’ll be following a program designed to optimise their performance during the game all grounded in sport science. Many of the various sports drinks that you see in shops will claim to have been developed through scientific testing to deliver optimum performance. Are they worth it? Maybe. The race suits worn by Bobsleigher’s have been researched and designed to provide as little air resistance as possible when they are hurtling down the ice; sometimes they’re a little too tight...

I want this blog will make of Sport Science more accessible; whilst hopefully being fun and just little bit educational. I’ll try and write some ‘consumer type’ articles e.g Are sports drinks worth the money? Maybe I’ll chuck in a few sport/athlete comparisons too; imagine an online, written version of superstars without the dreaded “Gym test” and sadly no Kevin Keegan falling of his bike!