At the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, six triple somersaults with three twists or four twists were filmed using two cameras. Angles describing body configuration and orientation were determined and were used as input into a computer simulation model of aerial movement. It was found that the twist angle of each simulation deviated from the corresponding angle obtained from film by less than 0.08 revolutions during the first somersault of each movement. Contributions to the tilt angle after one somersault were determined using simulations based on modifications of the film data. It was found that of the six competitors, two initiated the twist during the takeoff phase, two initiated the twist during the aerial phase, and two used a combination of both methods.
M.R. Yeadon is with the Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4.