Vancouver 2010 Olympic Science

I caught a few tidbits from the wall to wall coverage on the Olympics held here in Vancouver this past two weeks that are worth sharing.

I had noticed that the Canadian speed skaters during their relay transitions were apparently pushing the skater taking over from them on the bum.  I assumed that this was normal and thought is a great way to transfer momentum at just the right time.  Only later did a coach or someone else mention that this had been a well kept secret of the Canadian team that had been used sparingly in order to not be discovered too quickly.  It obviously was good enough to win gold over the USA.  Of course everyone will be using it next year.

For the past thirty years, sport has been struggling with the problem of doping with steroids to improve athletic performance.  Stringent efforts have had to be made to end the practice.  This appears to be happening.

Now it needs to be understood.  Doping does not enhance ability so much as accelerate training recovery.  With steroids, it was possible to do full maximal workouts every day as against every three days.  Sort of explains why the first symptom of such usage is a body that is ripped.  It suddenly gets easy to build bulk.

Recent work has changed that. The science of nutrition is accomplishing the same benefits for the athletes.  That means accelerated training recovery is achieved without steroids.  This was a major factor in the support given our athletes.

So the good news is that athletics are leaving the problem of steroids behind and Canadian success during these Olympics will help bring it on for everyone else.

Perhaps the 14 gold medals resulted from scientific nutrition.  Anyway, it is a convincing testimony to an improving methodology and the collapse of the steroid game.

If nutrition can replace doping, then we have a revolution in sports training that will safely translate into all levels.  We can be pleased.

I do not have hard numbers, but I noticed that a lot of Canadian athletes, while not reaching the podium were certainly in the top five which surely means the podium on a good day.  In fact I have toyed with the idea of looking at the top ten finishers and assigning points one through ten in order to provide a measure.  Such a system would be way more inclusive of true top talent since with exceptions; few are that sharply better than any other in the top ten.

Golf is a great example of this.  On any given day the top ten have a good chance to win the day.  They often do as a set piece like the Masters shows.

In the event a ten place system is likely to be much fairer in measuring a countries output.  I am sure that Sweden this year who expected a medal count over twenty and did not make half that, must have left a lot of talent just below the bronze.  We saw the same at Turin when the count was low but the forth and fifth place finishes were many.  

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