The present article outlines the development and implementation of a multifaceted psychological skills training program for the Canadian National Short Track Speedskating team over a 3-year period leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. A program approach was used emphasizing a seven-phase model in an effort to enhance sport performance (Thomas, 1990) in which psychological skills training was integrated with biofeedback training to optimize self-regulation for performance on demand and under pressure. The biofeedback training protocols were adapted from general guidelines described by Wilson, Peper, and Moss (2006) who built on the work of DeMichelis (2007) and the “Mind Room” program approach for enhancing athletic performance. The goal of the program was to prepare the athletes for their best performance under the pressure of the Olympic Games. While causation cannot be implied due to the lack of a control group, the team demonstrated success on both team and individual levels.
Marla K. Beauchamp, Richard H. Harvey and Pierre H. Beauchamp
Margaret Dupee, Tanya Forneris and Penny Werthner
The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived outcomes of a biofeedback and neurofeedback training intervention with high performance athletes. Five Olympic level athletes preparing for world championships and the 2012 Olympic Games took part in a 20 session intervention over the period of one year. At the completion of the intervention, a semistructured interview was conducted with each athlete. The athletes indicated that they became more self-aware, were better able to self-regulate both their physiological and psychological states, developed a greater sense of personal control, and a greater understanding of skills inherent in the field of sport psychology. Three of the athletes made the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 Olympic Games and two of those athletes won bronze medals. The present study suggests that biofeedback and neurofeedback training may be useful in enabling athletes to perform optimally, in both training and competition, on a consistent basis.
Jan Bourgois, Adelheid Steyaert and Jan Boone
In this case study, a world-class rower was followed over a period of 15 y in which he evolved from junior to professional athlete.
An incremental exercise test and a 2000-m ergometer test were performed each year in the peak period of the season starting at the age of 16 y. In addition, the training logs of 1 y each as a junior and a senior rower were recorded and analyzed.
Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), maximal power output (Pmax), and power output at 4 mmol/L blood lactate concentration increased until the age of 27 and then stabilized at 30 y at 6.0 ± 0.2 L/min, 536 ± 15 W, and 404 ± 22 W, respectively. At the age of 27–28 y the rower also had a career-best 2000-m ergometer test (5′58″) and on-water performance with a 4th place at the Olympic Games (2008) in Beijing and World Championships (2009). At the age of 23 y, the rower trained a total of 6091 km in 48 wk. Of the total training time, 15.4% consisted of general training practices, 23.4% resistance training, and 61.2% specific rowing training.
The on-water performance in the World Championships and Olympic Games corresponded closely to the evolution in the rower’s physiological profile and 2000-m ergometer performance. The long-term build-up program resulted in an increase in the physiological parameters up to the age of 27 y and resulted in a 4th position at the 2008 Olympic Games at a body mass of only 86 kg.
Jos J. de Koning
The quality of performance during international competitions such as the Olympic Games and various world championships is often judged by the number of world records attained. The simple fact that world records continue to improve is evidence that sports performance is progressing. Does this also mean that athletes are improving? Is the continual progression of world-record performances evidence that contemporary athletes are superior to the athletes who performed in the past? Technological developments may obscure insight into the athletic enhancement made by athletes over the years. This commentary tries to separate technological and athletic enhancement in the progression of world records by the use of a power balance model.
Ik Young Chang, Jane Crossman, Jane Taylor and Diane Walker
This study compared and explored the textual coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. The authors found 8 high-order themes and 25 low-order themes for the OG. The high-order themes were predicting game results, reporting game results, athleticism, politics, ethical issues, nationalism, the media, and the economy. For the PG, there were 4 high-order themes, and each high-order theme had 1 low-order theme. The high-order themes were reporting game results, athleticism, ethical issues, and equality between Paralympians and Olympians. Comparisons between OG and PG coverage are discussed and recommendations for future research provided.
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.
Clifford J. Mallett
The coach is central to the development of expertise in sport (Bloom, 1985) and is subsequently key to facilitating adaptive forms of motivation to enhance the quality of sport performance (Mallett & Hanrahan, 2004). In designing optimal training environments that are sensitive to the underlying motives of athletes, the coach requires an in-depth understanding of motivation. This paper reports on the application of self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) to coaching elite athletes. Specifically, the application of SDT to designing an autonomy-supportive motivational climate is outlined, which was used in preparing Australia’s two men’s relay teams for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
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.
Margaret Carlisle Duncan and Barry Brummett
Although scholars have increasingly turned their attention to sport spectatorship, few have examined the particular appeals of television sports spectatorship. This study explains the pleasures of televised sports viewing by building on the work of media theorists. In particular, it argues that three types of specular pleasure (fetishism, voyeurism, narcissism) are found in televised sports. Further, it identifies discursive, technological, and social dimensions of televised sport spectating as the sources of those visual pleasures. The voyeurism, fetishism, and narcissism of televised sport are illustrated with examples drawn from videotapes of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
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.