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This study examined the biomechanical profiles of the takeoff phase of double backward somersaults in three flight positions: seven layout double backward somersaults (L), seven twisting double backward somersaults (TW), and seven tucked double backward somersaults (TDB). Selected kinematic variables and angular momenta were calculated in order to compare the differences resulting from different aerial maneuvers. The amount of total body angular momentum about the transverse axis through the gymnasts' center of mass progressively increased from TDB to TW to L. The gymnasts performing the skill in the layout position tried to minimize the angle of block in a direction opposite the intended motion by maximizing the angle of touchdown and takeoff. In so doing, the horizontal velocity center-of-mass curve of the L showed a slowly decreasing curve compared with those of the other two somersaults while the vertical velocity curve of the L increased more slowly than the other curves during the takeoff phase. In all cases the legs played the dominant role in contributing to total angular momentum during takeoff.
Inseong Hwang is with the Dept. of Physical Education at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Gukung Seo is with the Dept. of Physical Education at Pusan University, Pusan, Korea. Zhi Cheng Liu is with Beijing Institute of Physical Education, Beijing, PRC.