I am finally back in London after the Olympics and the well deserved rest. It’s been an amazing few months. I did not have much time to write on the blog and I promise to keep it up to date more in the future. I was busy working for our greatest team: Team GB. The last few months of preparation have been frantic and culminated with an incredible Olympiad in which Team GB won 65 medals finishing with an historical 3rd place in the medal table after the superpowers China and USA.
This is the result of 4 years of incredible dedication not only by our athletes but also, coaches, administrators, science and medicine support and lots of people who contributed to the success of the team. The public was amazing, every venue had such a brilliant atmosphere and the support we all received was truly inspirational. It was for me a privilege and an honour to work with such a talented group of people in the last few years and with amazing support teams during the games. I will cherish the memories for years to come. The British sporting system has changed enormously since I arrived in the UK in 2001 and I can say that there is an exciting scientific and coaching community which is envied by the rest of the World.
Success in sport is due to many aspects: funding, environment, coaching, organisations structures, science and medicine, engineering, vision and belief that miracles happen to people who believe in them. GB was10th in the medal table with 30 medals in Athens in 2004 and is now in the top 3, well done everyone involved in Olympic Sports in the UK. 500 athletes, 50 million strong, you all are part of our greatest team!
I will write more about the Olympics in the next few weeks, I am still going through some data and will write more about what I have seen and what the trends are. Also I will keep writing about science in sport.
The 2010 Winter Olympics are over. It was absolutely brilliant! Great atmosphere, fantastic venues, and most of all for us a gold medal to remember for years.
A great show where incredible athletes do amazing things with state of the art technology. Science and technology play nowadays a crucial role for success in winter sports. Every move can be analysed in real time, every turn and the technology used can be dissected to show how good some athletes are. Shaun White won an impressive 2nd gold in the Half Pipe and everyone can see why he was better than everyone else.
Every technique can now be studied in details and athletes and coaches can receive feedback on the field of play. Despite the fact technology plays a big role in most of the winter sports I have to say that as usual, it is the athlete who wins.
Having the right mindset and being totally prepared is what makes the difference.
Physical preparation, nutrition, psychological preparation, fitness all play a role. However most of the times people forget that behind a great athlete there is always a brilliant coach. Coaching seems to be underrated in modern times. Reading some of the media during and after the games, it seems that an athlete wins because he/she is good or because he/she has the most advanced technology. What I can say is that many athletes win because they have incredibly good coaches, able to prepare them very well and most of all TEACH them something more or better than other coaches can do. They are the least celebrated individuals, and in my opinion the people who can really make the difference between winning and losing.
The margins between winning and losing are very small. Fractions of seconds separate a gold medal from a silver, bronze or no medal at all. What role can sports science play?
Sports science can only make an impact if a talented athlete has a talented coach and a structured programme is in place. Science can then help the coaching process pushing to reach the limits of the athlete’s potential and identifying the marginal gains.
There is more to be written on this topic, and I promise to write more in the next few months.
I am in Canada for the Winter Olympics and will be writing frequent reports from the Team GB base in Whistler. I will not write much about science, but I hope you will be interested in knowing a bit more about sports science in the real World during the biggest sporting event.
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