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LeRoy W. Alaways, Sean P. Mish and Mont Hubbard

Pitched-baseball trajectories were measured in three dimensions during competitions at the 1996 Summer Olympic games using two high-speed video cameras and standard DLT techniques. A dynamic model of baseball flight including aerodynamic drag and Magnus lift forces was used to simulate trajectories. This simulation together with the measured trajectory position data constituted the components of an estimation scheme to determine 8 of the 9 release conditions (3 components each of velocity, position, and angular velocity) as well as the mean drag coefficient CD and terminal conditions at home plate. The average pitch loses 5% of its initial velocity during flight. The dependence of estimated drag coefficient on Reynolds number hints at the possibility of the drag crisis occurring in pitched baseballs. Such data may be used to quantify a pitcher’s performance (including fastball speed and amount of curve-ball break) and its improvement or degradation over time. It may also be used to understand the effects of release parameters on baseball trajectories.

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Edward J. Smith, Ryan Storey and Mayur K. Ranchordas

Bouldering competitions are held up to International level and governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing. Bouldering has been selected to feature at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, physiological qualities and nutritional requirements to optimize performance remain inadequately defined due to large gaps in the literature. The primary goals of training include optimizing the capacity of the anaerobic energy systems and developing sport-specific strength, with emphasis on the isometric function of the forearm flexors responsible for grip. Bouldering athletes typically possess a lean physique, similar to the characteristics of sport climbers with reported body fat values of 6–12%. Athletes strive for a low body weight to improve power to weight ratio and limit the load on the extremities. Specialized nutritional support is uncommon and poor nutritional practices such as chronic carbohydrate restriction are prevalent, compromising the health of the athletes. The high intensity nature of bouldering demands a focus on adequate carbohydrate availability. Protein intake and timing should be structured to maximize muscle protein synthesis and recovery, with the literature suggesting 0.25–0.3 g/kg in 3–4 hr intervals. Supplementing with creatine and b-alanine may provide some benefit by augmenting the capacity of the anaerobic systems. Boulderers are encouraged to seek advice from nutrition experts to enhance performance, particularly important when weight loss is the desired outcome. Further research is warranted across all nutritional aspects of bouldering which is summarized in this review.

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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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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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Ralph Mann and John Herman

Selected kinematic variables in the performance of the Gold and Silver medalists and the eighth-place finisher in the men's 200-meter sprint final at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games were investigated. Cinematographic records were obtained for all track running events at the Games, with the 200-meter performers singled out for initial analysis. In this race, sagittal view filming records (100 fps) were collected at the middle (125-meter mark) and end (180-meter mark) of the performance. Computer-generated analysis variables included both direct performance variables (body velocity, stride rate, etc.) and upper and lower body kinematics (upper arm position, lower leg velocity, etc.) that have previously been utilized in the analysis of elite athlete sprinters. The difference in place finish was related to the performance variables body horizontal velocity (direct), stride rate (direct), and support time (indirect). The critical body kinematics variables related to success included upper leg angle at takeoff (indirect), upper leg velocity during support (direct), lower leg velocity at touchdown (direct), foot to body touchdown distance (indirect), and relative foot velocity at touchdown.

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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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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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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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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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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.