Many people are shocked to see that a young girl named Tessa Virtue from Windsor, paired with another teenager, are the youngest pair from North America to win gold. The skaters who win medals in the Olympics have jumps that leave the audience breathless, but how can they do so when most people can barely jump high enough to make one revolution in the air? This relates to both the Olympics and the topic of physics. Physiology also relates to the winter Olympics. Skiing involves more muscle groups than jogging or running, so the overall cardiovascular demand and energy expenditure involved in skiing may be as high as, or higher than, the energy expenditure involved in jogging or running. The final topic that relates to the winter Olympics is psychology, and the relationships between personality and sport performance. Physics and biomechanics, physiology, and psychology are all associated with both the 2010 winter Olympics and science.
Physics or biomechanics is one of the largest common topics between science and the 2010 winter Olympics. In winter sports such as speed skating and ski jumping, air resistance is critically important, especially at fast speeds. Skaters perform quadruples that have fast rotation speeds, yet elegant and smooth take-offs and landings. In figure skating, the skater’s generally are not moving fast enough for air resistance to affect their jumps. To get the biggest jump, skaters take-off at about a 45 degree angle. They also generate as much take-off velocity as possible. Since the skater is already moving horizontally when he or she performs a jump, it would make sense to say that all they need to make the jump is a vertical velocity, equal to the incoming horizontal velocity. But in reality, the skaters horizontal speed is lost through friction caused by their skates and the ice. This friction may slow down the skater’s approach into the jump, but it will also allow the skater to push against the ice to generate the force they need to jump into the air and complete the required revolutions in the air. This information about the physics of skaters actions relates to both science and the winter Olympics.
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Another topic that deals with both the winter Olympics and science is physiology. Exposure to extreme cold can reduce the athlete’s core body temperature and maximal aerobic power, weakening the athlete’s performance. Opposite of that, moderate coldness may have a positive effect. Skiers must maintain an internal body temperature close to 98.6 0F (37 0C).
Therefore, during exposure to a cold environment, the normal body temperature is maintained by increasing heat production and/or reducing the rate of heat loss (heat conservation).
Heat production can be increased by voluntary exercise or by shivering. Heat conservation is accomplished behaviourally by adding clothing or physiologically by constricting the vessels that carry blood to the skin and to regions of the body such as the ears, feet, and hand. Also, research has shown that the performance of endurance exercise is enhanced by cooler environmental conditions and by treatments such as brief pre-exercise cold showers. Both severe and moderate cold can harmfully affect the performance of activities that depend on high levels of anaerobic power. For these reasons, physiology relates to the winter Olympics.
Another topic in science that relates to the 2010 Olympics is psychology. Firstly, some relationships do exist between personality and sport performance, but no specific personality consistently discriminates athletes from non-athletes. Also, positive mental health is directly related to athletic success. Compared with non-athletes, top level skiers tend to have a lower level of tension and depression, about equal levels of anger, significantly higher vigour, and less fatigue and confusion. Nowadays, a big psychological issue in ski jumping is anorexia, because the less they weigh, the farther they will glide, which is the key to this sport. Another way the topic of psychology relates to the winter sports is the method of team selection. While most do not agree with this idea, some sport psychologists use psychological tests to select teams. Many do not like this idea because the tests are not perfect and it may be unfair to many athletes. For these reasons and more, the topic of psychology relates to the 2010 winter Olympics.
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In conclusion, the three topics of science that relate to the 2010 winter Olympics are physics or biomechanics, physiology, and psychology.