The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the techniques used by elite female athletes during the transition from approach to takeoff in the long jump and (b) to determine which characteristics were significantly related to the officially recorded distance of the jump. The subjects were the 12 finalists in the Women's Long Jump at the 1984 Olympic Games. A motion-picture camera placed with its optical axis at right angles to the runway was used to record the performances of the subjects. Means and standard deviations of the variables identified in a theoretical model and correlations between these variables and the distance of the jump were computed. Significant correlations revealed that the less the downward velocity at touchdown at the end of the third-last stride, and the less this velocity is changed by the vertical forces transmitted via the supporting foot, and the shorter the duration of the next flight phase, the greater the distance of the jump.
The authors wish to express their appreciation to Joleen Nelson for digitizing the films, to The Athletics Congress of the USA for financial support, and to the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, and the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee for making it possible to gather the data at the 1984 Olympic Games.
Direct all correspondence to James G. Hay, Biomechanics Laboratory, Dept. of Exercise Science and Physical Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.