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Terry Orlick and John Partington

Intensive interviews were conducted with each of 75 Canadian Olympic athletes representing 19 different sports in order to evaluate the sport psychology services offered to them. Athletes representing 12 of the sports indicated they had worked with 1 of 11 sport psychology consultants in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games. Some were highly satisfied with their consultant and his or her mental training program, others were highly dissatisfied. A profile of the best and worst consultants was developed based upon the athletes’ perceptions of desirable and undesirable consultant characteristics. Suggestions are provided for improving the quality of sport psychology services for elite athletes.

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Emerson Franchini, Monica Y. Takito, Rodrigo M. da Silva, Seihati A. Shiroma, Lance Wicks and Ursula F. Julio

Purpose:

To determine the optimal interval between competitions for success in the different events of the judo world tour.

Methods:

A total of 20,916 female and 29,900 male competition participations in the judo world-tour competitions held between January 2009 and December 2015 were analyzed, considering the dependent variable, winning a medal, and the independent variables, levels of competition.

Results:

There was an increased probability of winning a medal when the interval was in the 10- to 13-wk range for both male and female athletes competing at Grand Prix, Continental-Championship, and World-Championship events, whereas for Grand Slam, only men had an increased probability of winning a medal in this interval range. Furthermore, men had increased probability of podium positions in Continental Championship, World Master, and Olympic Games when the interval was longer than 14 wk.

Conclusion:

Optimal interval period between successive competitions varies according to competition level and sex; shorter intervals (6–9 wk) were better for female athletes competing at the lowest competition level (Continental Open), but for most of the competitions, the 10- to 13-wk interval was detected as optimal for both male and female athletes (Grand Prix, Continental Championship, and World Championship), whereas for the ranking-based qualified male competitions (ie, Masters and Olympic Games), a longer period (>14 wk) is needed.

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Olivier Hue

The tropical climate is unique in that the seasons are dominated by the movement of the tropical rain belt, resulting in dry and wet seasons rather than the four-season pattern of changes in temperature and day length seen in other parts of the world. More than 33% of the world population lives in the humid tropics, which are characterized by consistently high monthly temperatures and rainfall that exceeds evapotranspiration for most days of the year. Both the 2014 Football World Cup (in Brazil) and the 2016 Olympic Games (in Rio de Janeiro) will take place in this climate. This review focuses on the effects of the tropical environment on human exercise performance, with a special emphasis on prolonged aerobic exercise, such as swimming, cycling, and running. Some of the data were collected in Guadeloupe, the French West Indies Island where all the French teams will be training for the 2016 Olympic Games. We will first fully define the tropical climate and its effects on performance in these sports. Then we will discuss the types of adaptation that help to enhance performance in this climate, as well as the issues concerning the prescription of adequate training loads. We will conclude with some perspectives for future research.

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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 and David G. Kerwin

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, 18 single somersaults with one twist in the women’s compulsory floor exercises were recorded using two video cameras. An 11 segment computer simulation model was used to analyze the twisting techniques used. It was found mat counter-rotation techniques accounted for less than one third of the twist for all gymnasts, indicating that the production of twist was mainly a consequence of the angular momentum and a non-zero tilt angle. Contributions to the tilt angle reached at the mid-twist position were used as measures of the twisting potential of various techniques. Contact techniques accounted for 30% of the tilt produced, the remainder being produced using aerial techniques, which primarily comprised a symmetrical lowering of the arms together with minor contributions from asymmetrical arm and hip movements. There was no evidence of a difference in technique between the highest and lowest scoring competitors.

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Glenn M. Street and Robert W. Gregory

While the scientific literature has confirmed the importance of high maximal aerobic power to successful cross-country skiing performance, the same cannot be said of skiing technique or gliding characteristics of skis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether glide speed was related to Olympic race performance. Male competitors in the 50-km freestyle event were videotaped during the 1992 Winter Olympic Games. Glide speeds of the entire field were measured through a 20-m flat section at the bottom of a 150-m, 12° downhill. A significant correlation (r = -.73) was found between finish time and glide speed, showing that the more successful competitors tended to have faster glide speeds through this section of the course. A predictive model of glide speed suggested that the faster glide speeds were due primarily to differences in friction. There was little evidence to suggest that differences in air drag, body mass, or initial speed accounted for the major differences in glide speeds.

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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.

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Yoshiaki Takei

This study compared the techniques used by elite male gymnasts in performing blocking or pushoff against the horse and postflight in the handspring and salto forward tucked vault. Forty-one American gymnasts were compared with 51 Olympic gymnasts on the mechanical factors governing the blocking and body control for salto forward and kickout in postflight. A 16-mm high-speed camera recorded the performance of the gymnasts during the 1986 USA Gymnastics Championships and the 1988 Olympic Games. The results indicated that Olympic gymnasts assumed the tightest tuck position significantly nearer the peak of the parabolic path of CG and thus achieved significantly greater height of CG at the tightest tuck position during the somersault than did the U.S. gymnasts. The superiority of body control by the former after the tightest tuck to landing was evidenced by significantly longer time, larger horizontal and angular distances, greater average moment of inertia, and smaller angular velocity.

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Qiwei Huang and Ryan M. Brewer

This case examines dilemmas evolving in China’s premier soccer league, the Chinese Super League. A plan is suggested for confronting the league’s challenges, with recommendations that focus on creating a harmonious and competitive league. Challenges arise from the political and economic transformation currently taking place in China, affecting league operations. While the league stands at a precipice of change on the eve of the Beijing Olympic Games, its viability as a going concern is uncertain. Part of the uncertainty derives from an unregulated system of league policies that have been poorly communicated and unenforced, resulting in discord. Development of league regulations and communication protocols remains largely government driven and would be best if consistent with the local culture, but commercial issues of league operations are also important. Enhancing the effectiveness and consistency of culture-sensitive communication protocols—especially between the government, media, and league officials—will increase participation from league stakeholders.

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Ruud W. de Boer and Kim L. Nilsen

The mechanics of speed skating the curves is described in a mathematical model, using the sideward push-off characteristics of the propulsion and the cyclic nature of the movement. Theoretical and experimental relations between mechanical work per stroke, stroke frequency, and speed were studied with Olympic speed skaters. High-speed film and video measurements collected at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary provided the basic experimental data. Because of the ideal external conditions (indoor Olympic Oval) and the large numbers of optimally prepared specialists participating, unique scientific results on technical aspects of speed skating could be obtained. Statistical analysis and theoretical considerations showed that stroke frequency can be judged as the major regulator of speed. Unexpectedly, it was not possible to detect changes in speed within one lap.