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Richard D. Gordin Jr. and Keith P. Henschen

The following article explains the sport psychology program utilized with the USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team. The program was developed in 1983 and was implemented over the past quadrennium. Both service and research delivery systems are explained as well as the organization of service delivery over the past 5 years. This multimodel approach to the systematic training of elite world-class female athletes is presented to illustrate the psychometrics, mental skill development, and group process techniques utilized within the U.S. Gymnastic Federation’s artistic program. Both organizational and philosophical components of service delivery are explained. The range of services and problems encountered are also discussed. Finally, a detailed account of service leading to the Olympic Games and the program’s effectiveness is presented.

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Zhengjia Liu and Dan Berkowitz

Social media have changed the way that social actors participate in sports events. “Prosumers” are able to directly offer different interpretations without journalists’ mediation when a social issue arises. However, social media do not fundamentally change the significance of cultural narratives in communication. This study focuses on discussions initiated by a commercial feed on a Chinese microblogging site during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Qualitative textual analysis was conducted. The study found that enduring cultural narratives create the predrafts of social-media communication; the instantaneity of microblogging referred to not simply its physical appearance but also the meaning of that appearance. In addition, social-media texts illustrate a society’s ongoing stories. Going beyond the limitations of previous control-vs.-freedom paradigms, this study explores a Chinese consumer society that is more dynamic and complex than previous studies would suggest.

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Anna-Liisa Ojala and Holly Thorpe

Action sports (e.g., snowboarding, skateboarding, windsurfing, BMX) have traditionally celebrated antiauthoritarian, do-it-yourself and anticompetition cultural values. With the institutionalization and commercialization of action sports over the past two decades, and the introduction of mega-sports events such as the X Games, and the inclusion of some action sports into the Olympic Games (i.e., snowboarding, freestyle skiing, BMX), action sport athletes are increasingly working with coaches, psychologists, agents, managers and personal trainers to improve their performances. In this Insights paper we consider coaching in action sports via the case of Finnish professional snowboarders’ attitudes to coaches. Drawing upon conversations with elite freestyle snowboarders we briefly present insights into their perceptions of the various positions of coaches in professional snowboarding before we offer suggestions built upon a Problem-based learning approach for coaches interested in working with action sport athletes.

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Dean A. Zoerink and Joseph Wilson

The twofold purpose of this study was (a) to determine the perspectives held by athletes with mental retardation relative to competitiveness, winning, and setting goals in competitive team sports situations and (b) to explore differences between male and female athletes with mental retardation and their counterparts without disabilities regarding their perceptions of competitiveness, winning, and setting goals in team sports environments. Of the 402 subjects who completed the Sport Orientation Questionnaire-Form B (Gill & Deeter, 1988), 288 were male and female athletes with mental retardation who participated in team sports at the 1991 International Special Olympic Games. They were compared with 114 university team sports athletes without disabilities. Analyses of variance revealed that, regardless of disability status, young men viewed themselves to be more competitive than their female counterparts. The findings also indicated that male athletes with mental retardation were more competitive than other athletes and that male athletes without disabilities perceived winning to be more important than did athletes with mental retardation.

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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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Robert W. Gregory, Sean E. Humphreys and Glenn M. Street

The women's 30-km freestyle cross-country race at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games was selected to determine the kinematic differences between more and less successful skiers. Three-dimensional filming techniques were used to capture the movement patterns on level terrain of 8 skiers who placed in the top 50% (Group 1) and 8 skiers who placed in the bottom 50% (Group 2) of the field. The mean cycle velocity for Group 1 was significantly faster (p < .005) than the velocity for Group 2. Significant correlations (p < .05) were found between race velocity and cycle velocity (r = .89) and between cycle length and cycle rate (r = -.82). Group 1 had significantly greater (p < .03) weak-side elbow flexion at pole plant, as well as less (p < .01) weak-side elbow extension and more (p < .05) trunk flexion during poling. The mean cycle velocity differences between Groups 1 and 2 may have been the result of smaller resistive and/or larger propulsive forces.

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Maurice R. Yeadon

At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, four double somersault dismounts with one twist and four double somersault dismounts with two twists were filmed using two 16 mm cameras during the men's horizontal bar competitions. Contributions to tilt angle reached at the midtwist position, determined using computer simulations based on modifications of the data obtained from film, were used as measures of the twisting potential of various techniques. The amount of tilt produced was greater when total twist was greater and when the body was tucked rather than straight. The twisting techniques used varied with the timing of the twist within the two somersaults. Contact contributions were larger when there was more twist in the first somersault. When there was little or no twist in the first somersault, the major contribution came from aerial techniques that comprised mainly arm movements and asymmetrical hip movements in the flight phase.

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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.

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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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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.