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Stan Labanowich

By referring to criteria established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for including sports in the Olympic Games and considering the maturation of the sports movement for the disabled, it is reasonable to conclude that certain sports reserved exclusively for the disabled can be made eligible for inclusion in the Olympic Games as medal events. A confounding factor in pursuit of inclusion in the Olympic Games is the uncritical willingness of the established international sports organizations for the disabled to amalgamate in order to communicate as a single voice with the IOC. Created in the process is a formal institutionalization of sports programs for the disabled. Despite invitations to stage demonstration events in recent Olympic Games, sports organizations have failed to take measures necessary to qualify for full integration into the Olympic movement. Reorganization is called for on the basis of versions of sports that would lend themselves to integration.

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Yoshiaki Takei and Eay Jin Kim

The purposes of this study were to (a) determine the mechanical factors associated with successful performance of the handspring and salto forward vault at the 1988 Olympic Games, and (b) contrast the findings in this study to those from the 1986 USA Championships to gain additional insight for the improvement of performance. The subjects were 51 male gymnasts in the 1988 Olympic Games. Significant correlations indicated that the following were important determinants for successful results: (a) large horizontal velocity (VH) at takeoff (TO) from floor and board resulting from a fast sprint in the approach run; (b) a large change of vertical velocity (Vv) during the horse contact by means of blocking with arms and shoulders; and (c) large VH and Vv at TO from horse, which ensures great distance and height and a long time of postflight, which the judges are seeking. Comparison of the techniques between the two groups revealed that the Olympic gymnasts achieved significantly greater horizontal velocity in preflight, change of vertical velocity while on horse, and vertical velocity at takeoff from horse, which resulted in a significantly longer time of postflight than for the USA gymnasts. An analysis of the aspect of form in postflight, possibly by means of mechanical variables, should be conducted because it may provide additional insight for improvement for performance of this vault.

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Young-Hoo Kwon, Virginia L. Fortney and In-Sik Shin

Two of the most frequently performed vaults in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul were selected for 3-D cine-photogrammetry analysis: the Yurchenko layout with full twist and the Yurchenko layout. The performances included 20 vaults with the highest performance scores: 10 Yurchenko layout with Ml twist (YLF) and 10 Yurchenko layout (YL) vaults, which were performed in the women’s team optional competitions. The YLF group earned higher performance scores than the YL group. Average vaulting times were similar for the groups, but the YLF group showed shorter board and horse contact times and longer postflight times. The projectile motion variables were critical for better performance in the YLF group. Higher vertical velocity at horse takeoff was achieved mainly by minimizing its (Vv) loss during horse contact. The YL group showed the importance of angular momentum for better performance, with the normalized angular momentum during postflight being the critical variable for the YL vault.

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Jane M. Cappaert, David L. Pease and John P. Troup

Twelve male 100-m freestyle swimmers were videotaped during the 1992 Olympic Games. Four cameras, two above water and two below, recorded the same stroke cycle of the swimmer at approximately the 40- to 45-m mark. The whole body and the recovering arms were digitized from the videotapes to recreate a complete stroke cycle. Body position variables and hand reaction forces (Schleihauf, 1979) were calculated. Swimmers were divided into elite and subelite groups based on their swimming velocity and were compared for differences in biomechanical variables. Elites used slightly lower hand forces while maintaining a higher propelling efficiency. Subelites had opposite rotations about the longitudinal axis of the body rather than symmetrical body roll. The elite swimmers were different from subelites in that their pulling patterns were more efficient and their body position was more streamlined. These variables assisted them in achieving faster swimming velocities without requiring higher propulsive forces.

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Raul Arellano, Peter Brown, Jane Cappaert and Richard C. Nelson

The performances of 335 male and female swimmers competing in 50-, 100-, and 200-m freestyle events at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games were videotaped and analyzed to determine stroke length (SL), stroke rate (SR), starting time (ST), turning times (TI = turn in, TO = turn out), finishing (end) time (ET), and average velocity (AV); relationships were then determined among these variables in addition to height, weight, age, and final time (FT). Differences were subsequently assessed within and among the events, and comparisons were made between male and female performances. ST, TI, TO, ET, and SL were identified as principal components of successful swimming performance at each distance. Results revealed statistically significant correlations between factors for all events. The men were older and taller; possessed longer stroke lengths; and started, turned, and swam faster than the women. As the race distance increased from 50 to 200 m, ST, TI, TO, SL, and ET increased for both men and women, while age, SR, and AV decreased.

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Yoshiaki Takei, Erik P. Blucker, J. Hubert Dunn, Scott A. Myers and Virginia L. Fortney

The 20 highest scored handspring with full-turn vaults performed during the 1992 Olympic Games were compared with those receiving the 20 lowest scores. Hypotheses were that the vaults receiving high scores would (a) demonstrate larger horizontal velocity at takeoff from the board and larger vertical velocity at takeoff from the horse and (b) demonstrate greater amplitude of postflight, higher center of gravity (CG) at the completion of the full twist, and superior landing performance than those receiving low scores. Two 16-mm Locam II DC cameras, each operating at a nominal frame rate of 100 Hz, recorded the vaults. It was concluded that the vaults receiving high scores demonstrated (a) larger horizontal velocity and translational kinetic energy at takeoff from the board, larger vertical velocity and translational kinetic energy at takeoff from the horse, and greater amplitude of postflight; (b) greater heights of CG from the beginning of the second-quarter twist to halfway through the third-quarter twist; and (c) superior landing performance than those receiving low scores.

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Robert J. Gregor

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Edited by Richard C. Nelson

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James G. Hay

The purposes of this study were to determine the frequency with which triple jumpers used hop-dominated, balanced, and jump-dominated techniques to achieve their best distances in Olympic competition; whether the use of one of these techniques generally yielded greater actual distances than did the use of the others; and how the actual distances achieved by specific athletes were related to the way in which they distributed their efforts through the three phases. Data were collected at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. About half the competitors used a hop-dominated technique. Balanced and jump-dominated techniques were just as effective as hop-dominated techniques. Four of the top eight finishers tended to use hop percentages that were longer than the optimum for them.

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Yoshiaki Takei

The purpose of the study was to identify mechanical variables that govern successful performance of the handspring with full turn vault. Subjects were 67 male gymnasts from 25 countries performing the vault during the 1992 Olympic Games. The vaults were filmed by two 16-mm Locam II DC cameras operating at 100 Hz. Approximately 80 frames per subject were digitized for each camera view. Direct linear transformation (DLT) was used to calculate the 3-D coordinates of the digitized body points. The method of Hay and Reid (1988) was used to develop a theoretical model to identify the mechanical variables that determine linear and angular motions of the vault. Significant correlations (p < .005) indicated that the following were important determinants for success: large horizontal velocity, large horizontal kinetic energy term, and overall translational kinetic energy term at takeoff from the board; short duration, small vertical displacement of the center of gravity (CG), and small somersaulting angular distance of preflight; large vertical velocity and large vertical kinetic energy term at takeoff from the horse; and large "amplitude of postflight," that is, large horizontal and vertical displacements of CG and long duration of flight; great height of CG during the second quarter-tum in postflight; and small point deduction for landing.