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James G. Hay and John A. Miller Jr.

The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the techniques used by elite triple jumpers and (b) to determine which characteristics were significantly related to the officially recorded distance of the jump. The subjects were the 12 finalists in the Triple Jump at the 1984 Olympic Games. Two motion-picture cameras placed with their optical axes at right angles to the runway were used to record the performances of the subjects. Means and standard deviations of the variables identified in a theoretical model and correlations between these variables and the distance of the jump were computed. Correlation of the distances achieved in each of the phases with the official distance of the jump suggested that, although the hop and jump phases made greater percentage contributions to the official distance than did the step phase, they accounted for only small amounts of the variance in that distance. Significant correlations of other independent variables with the distance of the jump suggested that the more the athlete's resources are expended prior to the jump phase and the more vertical his effort at takeoff into the jump, the better is the final result.

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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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Nancy R. Deuel and Jong-Jin Park

Limb contact variables of the gaits of dressage horses were determined for competitors at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games in the team and individual dressage competitions. Two 16-mm motion picture cameras filming at 100 fps were aimed perpendicular to the plane of equestrian motion along the HXF and MXK diagonals of the standard dressage arena. Eighteen competitors in team dressage were filmed during the Grand Prix test while executing the extended walk, extended trot, and left lead extended canter. Fifteen horses selected as finalists for individual dressage medals were filmed during the Grand Prix Special test executing the extended trot, one-stride canter lead changes, two-stride canter lead changes, and the left lead extended canter. Velocities of the extended walk, extended trot, and extended canter were positively related to stride length. Velocities of the Grand Prix extended walk and Grand Prix Special extended trot were positively related to stride frequency. Limb contact patterns of the extended walk stride appeared to have relatively little importance in scoring. Certain characteristics of the extended trot and extended canter were strongly related to scores attained in Grand Prix Special dressage tests, with highest scores achieved by horses with the longest, fastest strides. For canter strides involving lead changes, no limb contact variables were detected that were significantly related to scores. This study provided the first objective documentation of the limb contact patterns of the walk, trot, and canter of world-class dressage horses.

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David B. Pyne and Rick L. Sharp

The aquatic sports competitions held during the summer Olympic Games include diving, open-water swimming, pool swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo. Elite-level performance in each of these sports requires rigorous training and practice to develop the appropriate physiological, biomechanical, artistic, and strategic capabilities specific to each sport. Consequently, the daily training plans of these athletes are quite varied both between and within the sports. Common to all aquatic athletes, however, is that daily training and preparation consumes several hours and involves frequent periods of high-intensity exertion. Nutritional support for this high-level training is a critical element of the preparation of these athletes to ensure the energy and nutrient demands of the training and competition are met. In this article, we introduce the fundamental physical requirements of these sports and specifically explore the energetics of human locomotion in water. Subsequent articles in this issue explore the specific nutritional requirements of each aquatic sport. We hope that such exploration will provide a foundation for future investigation of the roles of optimal nutrition in optimizing performance in the aquatic sports.

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John Garhammer

The heaviest successful snatch and clean and jerk for five Gold medalists in weight-lifting at the 1984 Olympic Games were analyzed from 16mm film. Bar trajectories all showed that as the barbell was lifted from the platform it moved toward the athlete during the first pull, then away from the athlete and finally toward him again as it began to descend during the catch phase. Bar velocity profiles showed that most lifters decelerated the barbell at the end of the first pull while reorienting their body position for the second pull. Calculated power outputs were large in magnitude and showed considerable similarities for selected phases of the lifts of a given athlete. Power output values for complete snatch and clean pulls typically ranged between 28 and 35 W/Kg of body mass. Higher values were found for subphases of the pulls and for the jerk thrusts. Previously published data on one of the Gold medalists permitted longitudinal comparisons of his lifting technique. High power output capacity was the most distinguishing characteristic of the athletes studied and is likely necessary for successful participation in weightlifting at the elite level.

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Ralph Mann and John Herman

Selected kinematic variables in the performance of the Gold and Silver medalists and the eighth-place finisher in the women's 100-meter hurdles final at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games were investigated. Cinematographic records were obtained for all track hurdling events at the Games, with the 100-meter hurdle performers singled out for initial analysis. In this race, sagittal view filming records (100 fps) were collected at the 9th hurdle of the performance. Computer generated analysis variables included both direct performance variables (body velocity, support time, etc.) and body kinematics (upper leg position, lower leg velocity, etc.) that have previously been utilized in the analysis of elite athlete hurdlers. The difference in place finish was related to the performance variables body horizontal velocity (direct), vertical velocity (indirect), and support time (indirect). The critical body kinematics variables related to success included upper and lower leg velocity during support into and off the hurdle (direct), relative horizontal foot position (to the body) at touchdown into and off the hurdle (indirect), and relative horizontal foot velocity (to the body) at touchdown into the hurdle.

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Philip Davis, Peter R. Benson, Robert Waldock and Andrew J. Connorton

Female boxing debuted at the 2012 London Olympic Games. To better understand the performance aspects of the sport, video footage of eighteen 4 × 2-min bouts were analyzed. The boxers involved in the competition were of an elite level (mean ± SD), age 26.4 ± 4.6 y, height 169.3 ± 6.2 cm, and weight 60.3 ± 10.0 kg. Analysis revealed an activity rate of ~1.6 actions/s, including ~16 punches, ~3.3 defensive movements, and ~63 vertical hip movements, all per minute, over the 4 × ~132-s rounds (R). A 2 × 4 (outcome × round) ANOVA with repeated measures over the rounds was used to analyze the data. Winners maintained a higher activity rate in round 1 (R1) and R2; a higher movement rate in R2, R3, and R4; and an increased punch accuracy including the ratio of total punches to punches landed in R3 and air punches as a percentage of punches missed in R1 and R3. Specific techniques that discriminate between successful and unsuccessful female amateur boxers include the straight rear-hand and body punches, higher for winners in R1, as well as uppercut punches and defensive foot movements, higher for winners in R4. Findings highlight the current demands of elite amateur female boxing. These data will be useful for those designing training programs and may also be useful for guiding sport-specific fitness testing.

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Iñigo Mujika

Detailed accounts of the training programs followed by today’s elite triathletes are lacking in the sport-science literature. This study reports on the training program of a world-class female triathlete preparing to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Over 50 wk, she performed 796 sessions (303 swim, 194 bike, 254 run, 45 strength training), ie, 16 ± 4 sessions/wk (mean ± SD). Swim, bike, and run training volumes were, respectively, 1230 km (25 ± 8 km/wk), 427 h (9 ± 3 h/wk), and 250 h (5 ± 2 h/wk). Training tasks were categorized and prescribed based on heart-rate values and/or speeds and power outputs associated with different blood lactate concentrations. Training performed at intensities below her individual lactate threshold (ILT), between the ILT and the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA), and above the OBLA for swim were 74% ± 6%, 16% ± 2%, 10% ± 2%; bike 88% ± 3%, 10% ± 1%, 2.1% ± 0.2%; and run 85% ± 2%, 8.0% ± 0.3%, 6.7% ± 0.3%. Training organization was adapted to the busy competition calendar (18 events, of which 8 were Olympic-distance triathlons) and continuously responded to emerging information. Training volumes were 35–80% higher than those previously reported for elite male and female triathletes, but training intensity and tapering strategies successfully followed recommended best practice for endurance athletes. This triathlete placed 7th in London 2012, and her world ranking improved from 14th to 8th at the end of 2012.

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Miguel-Ángel Gómez, Enrique Ortega Toro and Philip Furley

The aim of the current study was to analyze the temporal effects that unsportsmanlike fouls may have on basketball teams’ scoring performance under consideration of context-related variables. The authors analyzed 130 unsportsmanlike fouls from 362 elite basketball games (men’s and women’s Olympic Games, European and World Championships). The context-related variables studied were score-line, quality of opposition, timeout situation, minutes remaining, and player status. The data were analyzed with linear-regression models. The results showed that both teams (the team that made the foul and the opponent) had similar positive scoring performances during 1 and 3 ball possessions after the unsportsmanlike foul (short-term effect). However, 5 ball possessions after the foul (midterm effect), the team that made the foul had a scoring disadvantage (−0.96) and the opponent team an advantage (0.78). The context-related variable quality of opposition was significant only during 1 ball possession, with negative effects for the team that made the foul and positive effects for the opponent. The final outcome showed a positive effect for score-line when the unsportsmanlike foul was made (0.96) and for quality of opposition (0.64).

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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.