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Laura Duval, Lei Zhang, Anne-Sophie Lauzé, Yu Q. Zhu, Dorothy Barthélemy, Numa Dancause, Mindy F. Levin, and Anatol G. Feldman

We tested the hypothesis that the ipsilateral corticospinal system, like the contralateral corticospinal system, controls the threshold muscle length at which wrist muscles and the stretch reflex begin to act during holding tasks. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over the right primary motor cortex in 21 healthy subjects holding a smooth or coarse block between the hands. Regardless of the lifting force, motor evoked potentials in right wrist flexors were larger for the smooth block. This result was explained based on experimental evidence that motor actions are controlled by shifting spatial stretch reflex thresholds. Thus, the ipsilateral corticospinal system is involved in threshold position control by modulating facilitatory influences of hand skin afferents on motoneurons of wrist muscles during bimanual object manipulation.

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Benno M. Nigg

Dr. Richard Nelson contributed to the development of sport biomechanics by being an international facilitator. Together with Dr. Jürg Wartenweiler, he contributed the necessary support and input that allowed the field of Movement and Sports Biomechanics to develop and flourish.

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Robert Shapiro

The author recalls his initial introduction to the field of biomechanics in the Penn State Biomechanics Laboratory, known as the Water Tower, and its positive and profound effect on his lifetime career. Under the directorship of Dr. Richard Nelson, Penn State’s biomechanics program provided the author with a variety of both professional and personal learning opportunities. The author credits these experiences as having a direct relationship to his successful development as teacher, mentor, and researcher.

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Robert W. Norman, Stuart M. McGill, and James R. Potvin

Dr. Richard Nelson is internationally acknowledged in many countries as an extremely important leader in the emergence of biomechanics of human movement as a respected scientific discipline. As his PhD graduates, and, subsequently, their graduates, have become faculty members at many universities, Dr. Nelson’s influence has grown for more than 50 years via several generations of his biomechanics “children.” It was probably never known to him that he also had significant influence on all laboratory-based subdisciplines of the undergraduate and graduate education and faculty research programs of the then new (1967) Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, Canada. The teaching and research programs included not only biomechanics but also exercise and work physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, and neurophysiology of human movement.

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Doris I. Miller

As the first PhD graduate of the Biomechanics Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University under the leadership of Dr. Richard C. Nelson, I reflect on my early experience in sport biomechanics there and its influence on some of my subsequent, and typically unpublished, research challenges.

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Robert J. Gregor

Richard C. Nelson started the Biomechanics Laboratory, one of the first of its kind in the world, on the campus of the Pennsylvania State University in 1967. His vision focused on connecting the physiological and mechanical elements of human performance analysis, specifically sport performance. The lab’s engaging, interdisciplinary environment supported self-designed programs of study, benefiting each individual student. Furthermore, the Biomechanics Lab became the nexus for the development of biomechanics as a field of study internationally. Richard Nelson’s diplomatic skills spread the word initially through the formation of the International Society of Biomechanics. This international effort resulted in the development of national societies of biomechanics around the world, for example, the American Society of Biomechanics. Second, these efforts stimulated the concept of sport performance analysis on the international stage. Richard Nelson’s passion was to analyze individual performances at the Olympic Games. This goal was finally realized, with the development of the Subcommission within the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission and biomechanical analysis projects completed at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Richard Nelson’s vision, mentoring style, and dedication planted and nurtured the seed of biomechanics as a discipline of study around the world.

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Mitsumasa Miyashita

The reasons for the renaming of the Japanese Society of Kinesiology to the Japanese Society of Biomechanics are explained, and the importance of the International Congress of Biomechanics, the International Society of Biomechanics, and Richard Nelson are outlined.

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Kathryn Dainty Davis

As one of the early graduate students of the Penn State Biomechanics Laboratory (1970–1974), I had the pleasure of being involved in the lab developed under the direction of Dr. Richard Nelson. His vision of applying engineering principles to human movement, particularly through the vehicle of sport analysis, inspired many to commit to a career of biomechanical exploration of the many aspects of human movement. By bringing many international scholars to the lab, he exposed his students to innovative and unique approaches to research. By developing technical applications, he made biomechanical inquiry more scientific and applicable. By caring for and mentoring a new generation of scientists and providing them the direction and tools they would need to establish their own labs and careers, he helped us become teachers, researchers, consultants, and mentors for a new generation of students. His love of life inspired us all to further the groundbreaking work he had begun and continued throughout his amazing career. His contributions to the field of biomechanics through his visionary establishment of societies, journals, collegial relationships, and consulting skills have served our community well. It was an honor and a privilege to know and learn from him.