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July/August 2012 — Olympic Gold

July August Odyssey Magazine 2012


July/August 2012

From Head to Toe: Science at the Olympic Training Center

When an Olympic athlete stands on the podium to accept a medal, she doesn’t stand alone. Invisible to the millions of people watching, but crucial to an athlete’s success, is the team (and the science!) that helped her get there.
By Merry Dankanich

July/August 2012

Going Full Circle with Biomechanics Expert Jill McNitt-Gray
Biomechanics is the study of the structure and function of biological systems from a mechanical and neuroscience perspective. It examines the way body systems like nerves, joints, and muscles work together, especially as they interact with different forces in their environment. Studying biomechanics can help athletes . . . but also many other people in real-life situations.
By Merry Dankanich

July/August 2012

Watching the Olympics with Isaac
What can we learn about sports science from one of history’s greatest scientists? Listen in on a conversation with Sir Isaac Newton, and then enter ODYSSEY’s Olympic Challenge!
By Nick D’Alto

July/August 2012

Gold Medal Mind
The body may compete for Olympic medals, but they are won with the mind. Sports psychologists apply theories about how the brain works to help athletes hone their mental skills and perform at their best when it matters most. And those same principles apply even if you’re just trying to get on the school team or impress your friends in the park.
By Aaron Millar

July/August 2012

Engineering the Perfect Game

Sports engineering analyzes a player’s moves and the equipment she uses, and looks for ways to give the player an edge to win. These engineers will analyze things like the materials a tennis racket is made from, as well as where on the racket the ball hits, all to help determine how difficult it will be for an opponent to hit the ball back. But sometimes a newly engineered innovation threatens to change an entire sport.
By Kathryn Hulick

July/August 2012

Personal Best
Jeremy was in his seat in the studio waiting for the interview to start when Shinichi, the sports news anchor, got that slightly distant look anchors get when a message is coming in. Then, suddenly, Shinichi smiled, his professional good humor replaced by the real thing for a moment. He slapped Jeremy on the shoulder. “They want you to run. Last minute opening. Amazing.”
A short story by John Frizell

July/August 2012

Fueling Wheelchair Athletes to Paralympic Gold
So you’re a Paralympian and you’ve finally arrived in London. The energy is electrifying! How do you concentrate on your diet when all you can think about is winning Gold? All athletes pay a LOT of attention to what they eat, whether they are Olympians, Paralympians, or on the high school track team. But for Paralympians, nutrition can be even more important to athletic success.
By Wendy Singer

July/August 2012

Fastest, Highest, Strongest
Citius, Altius, Fortius. That’s the official motto of the modern Olympic Games: Faster, Higher, Stronger. The “er” at the end of the English words is important. Olympic competitors aspire to outperform previous champions. They try to break old records and establish new ones. But what if that becomes impossible? Someday records may become permanent—unbeatable marks of fastest, highest, strongest.
By Mary Beth Cox


Where’s Your Center of Mass?

Find your center of mass with help from a video camera and a friend.

By Merry Dankanich


Science Scoops
By Kathryn Hulick

Ask Dr. Cy Borg
From Peat to Coal

July/August 2012

Staying Healthy? It’s a Science! Dive Right In? NOT!
Injuries generally come in two flavors: acute traumas and overuse injuries from repetitive motion. Olympic diving can offer you both.
By Ruth Tenzer Feldman

July/August 2012

e-Scape with O and Aarti: Battling Past Gates
There’s a lot of science involved in the sport of kayaking. ODYSSEY talks with London 2012 Olympics Team member Caroline Queen about her sport.
By Dan Risch

Sharkskin Doodle
By Karen Romano Young

You’ve Got Mail!
ODYSSEY‘s reader response department welcomes your letters, original poems, stories, drawings, and responses to questions!
E-mail [email protected] with You’ve Got Mail! as the subject, or snail mail You’ve Got Mail, ODYSSEY
30 Grove St., Suite C
Peterborough, NH 03458


Win ODYSSEY’s Olympic Challenge!
Isaac Newton and his friends were about to calculate who would win a rowing race . . . before Isaac disappeared. Now it’s your turn to see if you can determine who will win.
By Nick D’Alto

Consulting Editor
Dr. Jill McNitt-Gray is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. As director of the Biomechanics Research Laboratory she has brought together a team of engineers, biologists, and mathematicians to study the neuromuscular control and dynamics of human movement under physically demanding conditions. The goal of their research is to improve performance, facilitate skill acquisition, and translate basic science into practice to benefit clinical populations as well as elite athletes. Dr. McNitt-Gray is past president of the American Society of Biomechanics. She has served as a biomechanist for the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and has led research projects, sponsored by the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission, as part of the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, and Sydney, Australia.

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