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Harry Edwards

In 1968 I organized the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Its purpose was to carry out a black athletes’ boycott of the Mexico City Olympic Games in protest against racism in American sports in particular and American society in general. Those of us associated with OPHR were viciously attacked in the U.S. media for introducing politics into the Olympics. My response to these attacks was simple: “The Olympics are and have always been political!” My position on this issue has not changed, but now I am far from alone in my view.

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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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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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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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Kelly Poniatowski

The purpose of the study was to focus on how hegemonic nationality, as well as hegemonic masculinity and femininity are expressed in the media commentaries about women’s sport. This study focused specifically on Olympic hockey broadcasts on NBC’s cable affiliates employing freelance journalists during the 2006 Olympics. Textual analyses of five U.S. and Canadian women’s games were conducted. Two hockey commentators of the Olympic Games were also interviewed. Results indicate that, in relationship to men, the women’s game is viewed as less physical. In regards to nationality, the U.S. women are viewed as legitimate athletes for embracing hockey and not traditional feminine sports such as figure skating. Canadian women are viewed as legitimate for initially having participated in female versions of hockey such as ringette before playing hockey. The U.S. women are described as having strength and power as well as being fit and still feminine, while their Canadian counterparts are mostly described by physical size.

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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

At the 1992 Olympic Games six full twisting double somersault dismounts were recorded with two video cameras during the rings individual apparatus finals in the men's Artistic Gymnastics competition. Angles describing body configuration were determined from video data and were input, together with initial orientation angle values and angular momentum components, into a computer simulation model of aerial movement. Mean absolute deviations between simulation and video after the completion of one half twist were 0.01 rev for somersault, 2.8° for tilt, and 0.08 rev for twist. When the estimate of the initial tilt angle was adjusted by up to 1° these deviations fell to 1.6° for tilt and 0.02 rev for twist. All 6 competitors produced the majority of the tilt using aerial techniques that were predominantly asymmetrical movements of the arms. Contributions to the subsequent removal of tilt were determined using reverse simulations, and again arm movements were the main contributors.

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Daniel J. Daly, Laurie A. Malone, David J. Smith, Yves Vanlandewijck and Robert D. Steadward

A video race analysis was conducted at the Atlanta Paralympic Games swimming competition. The purpose was to describe the contribution of clean swimming speed, as well as start, turn, and finish speed, to the total race performance in the four strokes for the men’s 100 m events. Start, turn, and finish times, as well as clean swimming speed during four race sections, were measured on videotapes during the preliminary heats (329 swims). Information on 1996 Olympic Games finalists (N = 16) was also available. In Paralympic swimmers, next to clean swimming speed, both turning and finishing were highly correlated with the end race result. Paralympic swimmers do start, turn, and finish slower than Olympic swimmers but in direct relation to their slower clean swimming speed. The race pattern of these components is not different between Paralympic and Olympic swimmers.

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Göran Kenttä, Stephen Mellalieu and Claire-Marie Roberts

This paper presents a case study of an elite female coach and her career termination from a 20+ year career following a critical life incident. A novel autobiographical approach was adopted whereby the participant undertook expressive writing to describe her experiences before, during, and following coaching an athlete at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Thematic analysis indicated seven phases related to the participant’s experiences of the critical incident: Build up to the event, the event, the aftermath, recovery and reflection on the event, sampling of new avenues, enlightenment, and career rebirth. The findings reinforce the high demands placed upon elite coaches, the subsequent threats to physical and mental well-being, and the importance of having robust psychological skills and suitable social support to cope with these demands. Implications for preparing and supporting coaches for successful career transition are discussed.