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Nicholas P. Linthorne

The effect of wind on the race times of international standard 100-m sprinters was determined using statistical information from official competitions. A time adjustment curve derived from mathematical models was fitted to performances by the finalists at the U.S. Olympic Trials and TAC Championships over the last 10 years, and to multiple performances by individual athletes at recent Olympic Games and World Championships. Consistent results were obtained from the two studies. The rate of improvement in. race time gradually decreased with increasing wind velocity, and so the disadvantage of a head wind was greater than the benefit of a tail wind of the same magnitude. The advantage of a 2-m/s following wind was 0.10 ± 0.01 s for the male sprinters and 0.12 ± 0.02 s for the female sprinters. These results indicated that the altitude of Mexico City (2,250 m) provides an advantage of about 0.07 s. Time adjustment versus wind velocity curves are presented that allow comparison of the merit of 100-m sprint times achieved under diverse wind conditions. The curves supersede those derived by previous investigators.

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Nicholas P. Linthorne

A mathematical model is presented of the takeoff phase in the pole vault for an athlete vaulting with a rigid pole. An expression is derived that gives the maximum height that the vaulter may grip on the pole in terms of the takeoff velocity, the takeoff angle, the athlete's vertical reach, and the depth of the takeoff box. Including the dependence of the vaulter's takeoff velocity on the takeoff angle reveals that there is an optimum takeoff angle that maximizes the vaulter's grip height. It is also shown that taller and faster vaulters are able to grip higher on the pole. The results of the investigation compare favorably with data for vaulters using bamboo and steel poles.