The women's 30-km freestyle cross-country race at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games was selected to determine the kinematic differences between more and less successful skiers. Three-dimensional filming techniques were used to capture the movement patterns on level terrain of 8 skiers who placed in the top 50% (Group 1) and 8 skiers who placed in the bottom 50% (Group 2) of the field. The mean cycle velocity for Group 1 was significantly faster (p < .005) than the velocity for Group 2. Significant correlations (p < .05) were found between race velocity and cycle velocity (r = .89) and between cycle length and cycle rate (r = -.82). Group 1 had significantly greater (p < .03) weak-side elbow flexion at pole plant, as well as less (p < .01) weak-side elbow extension and more (p < .05) trunk flexion during poling. The mean cycle velocity differences between Groups 1 and 2 may have been the result of smaller resistive and/or larger propulsive forces.
Robert W. Gregory, Sean E. Humphreys, and Glenn M. Street are with the Human Performance Lab, HaH S102, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN 56301.