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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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Charles R. Pedlar, Gregory P. Whyte, Richard Burden, Brian Moore, Gill Horgan and Noel Pollock

This case study examines the impact of low serum ferritin (sFe) on physiological assessment measures and performance in a young female 1500-m runner undertaking approximately 95–130 km/wk training. The study spans 4 race seasons and an Olympic Games. During this period, 25 venous blood samples were analyzed for sFe and hemoglobin (Hb); running economy, VO2max, and lactate threshold were measured on 6 occasions separated by 8–10 mo. Training was carefully monitored including 65 monitored treadmill training runs (targeting an intensity associated with the onset of blood lactate accumulation) using blood lactate and heart rate. Performances at competitive track events were recorded. All data were compared longitudinally. Mean sFe was 24.5 ± 7.6 μg/L (range 10–47), appearing to be in gradual decline with the exception of 2 data points (37 and 47 μg/L) after parenteral iron injections before championships, when the lowest values tended to occur, coinciding with peak training volumes. Each season, 1500-m performance improved, from 4:12.8 in year 1 to 4:03.5 in year 4. VO2max (69.8 ± 2.0 mL · kg−1 · min−1) and running economy (%VO2max at a fixed speed of 16 km/h; max 87.8%, min 80.3%) were stable across time and lactate threshold improved (from 14 to 15.5 km/h). Evidence of anemia (Hb <12 g/dL) was absent. These unique data demonstrate that in 1 endurance athlete, performance can continue to improve despite an apparent iron deficiency. Raising training volume may have caused increased iron utilization; however, the effect of this on performance is unknown. Iron injections were effective in raising sFe in the short term but did not appear to affect the long-term pattern.

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Daniel J. Plews, Paul B. Laursen, Andrew E. Kilding and Martin Buchheit

Purpose:

Elite endurance athletes may train in a polarized fashion, such that their training-intensity distribution preserves autonomic balance. However, field data supporting this are limited.

Methods:

The authors examined the relationship between heart-rate variability and training-intensity distribution in 9 elite rowers during the 26-wk build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games (2 won gold and 2 won bronze medals). Weekly averaged log-transformed square root of the mean sum of the squared differences between R-R intervals (Ln rMSSD) was examined, with respect to changes in total training time (TTT) and training time below the first lactate threshold (>LT1), above the second lactate threshold (LT2), and between LT1 and LT2 (LT1–LT2).

Results:

After substantial increases in training time in a particular training zone or load, standardized changes in Ln rMSSD were +0.13 (unclear) for TTT, +0.20 (51% chance increase) for time >LT1, –0.02 (trivial) for time LT1–LT2, and –0.20 (53% chance decrease) for time >LT2. Correlations (±90% confidence limits) for Ln rMSSD were small vs TTT (r = .37 ± .80), moderate vs time >LT1 (r = .43 ± .10), unclear vs LT1–LT2 (r = .01 ± .17), and small vs >LT2 (r = –.22 ± .50).

Conclusion:

These data provide supportive rationale for the polarized model of training, showing that training phases with increased time spent at high intensity suppress parasympathetic activity, while low-intensity training preserves and increases it. As such, periodized low-intensity training may be beneficial for optimal training programming.

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Laura Capranica and Mindy L. Millard-Stafford

A prevailing theory (and practical application) is that elite performance requires early childhood skill development and training across various domains, including sport. Debate continues whether children specializing early (ie, training/competition in a single sport) have true advantage compared with those who sample various sports early and specialize in a single sport later (adolescence). Retrospective data and case studies suggest either model yields elite status depending upon the sport category (ie, situational: ball games, martial arts, fencing; quantitative: track and feld, swimming, skiing; or qualitative: gymnastics, diving, figure skating). However, potential risks of early specialization include greater attrition and adverse physical/emotional health outcomes. With the advent of the IOC Youth Olympic Games, increased emphasis on global youth competition has unknown implications but also represents a potential platform for investigation. Modification of youth competition formats should be based upon multidisciplinary research on psycho-physiological responses, and technical-tactical behaviors during competition. The assumption that a simple scaled-down approach of adult competitions facilitates the development of technical/tactical skills of youth athletes is not necessarily substantiated with field-based research. Relatively little evidence exists regarding the long-term effects of rigorous training and competitive schedules on children in specific sports. It is clear that more prospective studies are needed to understand the training dose that optimally develops adaptations in youth without inducing dropout, overtraining syndrome, and/or injury. Such an approach should be sport specific as well as gender based. Until such evidence exists, coaches and sport administrators will continue to rely upon their sport-specific dogma to influence programmatic development of our most vulnerable population.

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Sabrina Skorski, Naroa Etxebarria and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose:

To investigate if swimming performance is better in a relay race than in the corresponding individual race.

Methods:

The authors analyzed 166 elite male swimmers from 15 nations in the same competition (downloaded from www.swimrankings.net). Of 778 observed races, 144 were Olympic Games performances (2000, 2004, 2012), with the remaining 634 performed in national or international competitions. The races were 100-m (n = 436) and 200-m (n = 342) freestyle events. Relay performance times for the 2nd–4th swimmers were adjusted (+ 0.73 s) to allow for the “flying start.”

Results:

Without any adjustment, mean individual relay performances were significantly faster for the first 50 m and overall time in the 100-m events. Furthermore, the first 100 m of the 200-m relay was significantly faster (P > .001). During relays, swimmers competing in 1st position did not show any difference compared with their corresponding individual performance (P > .16). However, swimmers competing in 2nd–4th relay-team positions demonstrated significantly faster times in the 100-m (P < .001) and first half of the 200-m relays than in their individual events (P < .001, ES: 0.28–1.77). However, when finishing times for 2nd–4th relay team positions were adjusted for the flying start no differences were detected between relay and individual race performance for any event or split time (P > .17).

Conclusion:

Highly trained swimmers do not swim (or turn) faster in relay events than in their individual races. Relay exchange times account for the difference observed in individual vs relay performance.

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Roberto Baldassarre, Marco Bonifazi, Romain Meeusen and Maria Francesca Piacentini

season, athletes performed 1 altitude-training camp, adopting a live high-train high methodology (Johannesburg 1800 m). For the specific preparation of the Olympic Games (OG), athlete n. 5 performed a second live-high–train-high training camp (La Loma, 1900 m) 27 days prior to the OG, whereas athletes n

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Luca Filipas, Emiliano Nerli Ballati, Matteo Bonato, Antonio La Torre and Maria Francesca Piacentini

Olympic Games and World Championships, 5 , 6 but it usually differs greatly from pacing patterns adopted during WR performances, where lap splits suggest smooth and slow transitions in speed. 7 In fact, during the Olympic Games and World Championships, the goal is to reach a medal position, whereas

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Ina Garthe and Ronald J. Maughan

Use Huang, Johnson, and Pipe ( 2006 ) • 121 M & 136 F Canadian athletes, Atlanta Olympic Games 1996; response rate: 95% • 150 M & 150 F Canadian athletes, Sydney Olympic Games 2000; response rate: 97% Interview with items on dietary supplements; current use Overall: 69 Atlanta, 74 Sydney Not reported

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Wei Gao and Keqiang Cao

, do not translate into improved public health because most of these sites are not readily accessible to or usable by the public, making the promotion of PA at the population level challenging. Most large-scale sports venues in China are built for major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, Asian

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Stephen S. Cheung

, Wada K , Smith DR , Endo S , Fukushima T . Preventing heat illness in the anticipated hot climate of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games . Environ Health Prev Med . 2017 ; 22 : 68 . PubMed ID: 29165162 doi:10.1186/s12199-017-0675-y 10.1186/s12199-017-0675-y 29165162 2. Twitter