Click name to view affiliation
A linear and angular momentum analysis was conducted on Greg Louganis' forward and reverse 3-m springboard takeoffs performed during National Sports Festival V in Colorado Springs, and differences among dives were examined. At initial contact with the board, his horizontal velocity approximated 0.5 m/s across all dives analyzed. In the forward 3.5 somersaults pike, the horizontal velocity subsequently increased in magnitude until the latter half of recoil. By contrast, in the forward and reverse dives and reverse 2.5 somersaults, horizontal velocity displayed an initial reduction followed by an increase to the final value of 0.8 to 1.2 m/s. His vertical velocities at touchdown (−4.3 to −4.5 m/s) increased to 5.0 to 6.0 m/s during the takeoff, with the final upward velocity being related to the type of dive performed. At initial contact, Louganis’ total body angular momentum with respect to his center of gravity was negligible. By the end of the takeoff, it had increased to 18 kg-m-m/s for the forward dive straight and was three and four times that magnitude for his reverse 2.5 and forward 3.5 somersaults pike, respectively. Between 80 and 90% of the total angular momentum at the end of the takeoff was due to the segment remote contributions. The importance of the upper extremities in developing somersaulting angular momentum was shown by the fact that they were responsible for between 30 and 43% of the final angular momentum in all but the forward dive straight.
This research was supported in part by the Canadian Amateur Diving Association, United States Diving, and the U.S. Olympic Training Center.