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David G. Kerwin, Maurice R. Yeadon and Sung-Cheol Lee

An 11-segment three-dimensional simulation model was used to modify the body configurations of eight gymnasts performing multiple somersault dismounts during the Men’s High Bar competition in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Four layout double somersault performances were modified to change a characteristic backward arch to a straight body position. This modification reduced the somersault rotation by 0.03 to 0.10 somersaults. Four tucked triple somersault performances were modified so that the thigh abduction angle was reduced to zero. This modification resulted in underrotations ranging from 0.01 to 0.34 somersaults depending on the amount of thigh abduction in the original movement. The additional angular momentum needed for successful completion of the modified movements was small in general and in no case greater than 13%.

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Maurice R. Yeadon, Sung-Cheol Lee and David G. Kerwin

At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, eight full twisting somersault dismounts from the high bar were filmed using two cameras during the compulsory exercises of the Men’s High Bar competition. Angles describing body configuration and orientation were determined and were input into a computer simulation model of aerial movement. The deviations between simulation and film were less than 2.5° for tilt angles and less than 0.07 revolutions for twist angles. The twisting techniques employed were quantified using the tilt angle as a measure of twisting potential. Contributions to the maximum tilt angle were determined using simulations based on modifications of the film data. Each of the eight competitors obtained most of the tilt using aerial rather than contact techniques. In general, the majority of the aerial contributions arose from asymmetrical arm and hip movements.