Archives for posts with tag: Paralympics

According to a piece on the BBC News website, Olympic cycling has taught us five science lessons…

  1. Slipstreaming saves energy – the cyclist in front uses about a third more energy than the one behind
  2. The centripetal force in a flat circular track would make it hard for cyclists to stay on track – so the velodrome is an oval and is banked
  3. Aerodynamics is important – by making themselves small, wearing sleek helmets and by riding bikes with solid wheels, the cyclists cut wind resistance
  4. Muscle makes a difference – cyclists build up different kinds of muscles for sprint (fast twitch muscle) and endurance cycling (slow twitch muscle)
  5. High tech clothing helps – once piece suits are designed not to soak up sweat and to smooth air flows

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

In the 2008 Olympics, Beijing managed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 metric tons per day compared with the previous year. If this could be maintained, and if other large industrial cities did the same, this could make a big impact on global warming. During the Beijing Olympics, these reductions in air pollution were associated with improvements in biomarkers of systemic inflammation and thrombosis in young people (read the abstract).

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Some of the Olympic venue sites have been cleaned up using bioremediation as part of one of the world’s largest brownfield regeneration projects. Brownfield sites are previous industrial sites and include the Aquatic Centre, where the ground was contaminated with lubricating oil. The process used indigenous microbes to aerobically biodegrade the oil, supported with REGENESIS’ Advanced Oxygen Release Compound, which released oxygen over 12 months.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

According to a paper in British Journal of Sports Medicine, asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) are the most common chronic diseases in Olympic athletes over the past five Olympic games, affecting around 8%. This could be caused by the intense training, perhaps supported by the fact that those athletes with asthma and AHR beat their colleagues.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Luc Fusaro, a French engineering and design student, has design a shoe that can be printed using a 3D printer. These  could be tailored to an athlete and the designer believes that it could shave 3.5% off a runner’s time.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Olympic gold medals are not all gold and haven’t been since 1912. They are 1.34% gold, 92.5% silver and the rest is copper. Silver medals are also 92.5% percent silver, with the rest copper, and the bronze medals are 97% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin.

London 2012 Olympic medals designed by British artist David Watkins

Olympic medals. Source: London 2012

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Olympicene is a synthetic five-ring polyaromatic hydrocarbon created by researchers at the University of Warwick that looks like the Olympic rings. It has electronic and optical properties.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

The London Olympic pool has been designed with science in mind – for example, the sides and ends have a special trough that dissipates waves, and the bottom of the pool is movable, again to reduce the impact of waves. The lane markers are also designed to cut turbulence. Pool water will be used to flush the venue’s toilets.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

In a set of articles in the British Medical Journal, researchers debunked a number of claims for sports products. The color of urine—something athletes are told to keep an eye on—depends on many factors, not just hydration. Drinking before you feel thirsty may worsen performance. Energy drinks with caffeine and other compounds have no benefit above and beyond the boost from caffeine. And carbohydrate and protein combinations post-workout don’t improve performance and recovery.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Yes. And no. Sorry, not really a fact, is it? Zola Budd ran barefoot in the Olympics in 1984, a race that was controversial for other reasons. Research in Journal of Strength And Conditioning suggests that barefoot running is neither good nor bad, but that both barefoot and shod running need proper training and conditioning.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

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