Science of Olympic Events

ITHACA, NY — How do Olympic figure skaters use angular momentum to achieve perfect toe loops? What precision moves do bobsled teams need to reach maximum velocity? How does the way cross county skiers metabolize oxygen increase their endurance? Ithaca College’s Deborah King, associate professor of exercise and sport sciences, is one of the experts NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation asked to answer those questions for their 16-part video series, “The Science of the Olympic Winter Games.”“The series focuses on the scientific principles behind how athletes skate, ski and jump their way to win Olympic gold,” King said. “The focus is to help students and adults understand science by illustrating how it applies to competitive sports.”King contributes to the videos on figure skating, bobsledding and cross-country skiing, and is willing to share her insights with interested editors and reporters. Other videos in the series include the slap shot physics of hockey, how Newton’s laws of motion apply to speed skating and the forces at work in the twisting techniques of aerial skiing.“The Science of the Olympic Winter Games” may be viewed at http://www.nbclearn.com/olympics. The 2010 winter games will be held Feb. 12 to 28 in Vancouver.In addition to her research on the biomechanics of human movement, Deborah King has studied the movement patterns and performance characteristics of several sports skills, including running and cross country skiing, with a focus on competitive figure skating. Currently vice chair of the United States Figure Skating (USFS) High Performance subcommittee of the USFS’s Sports Medicine Committee, King has presented to numerous professional organizations, including the U.S. Olympic Sports Science and Technology Committee.

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