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Date
29 May 2002
Tags
IOC News , Press Release

Pfizer / IOC Olympic Research Results Revealed at Sixth IOC Olympic World Congress on Sport Sciences


In-depth Results From Pfizer/IOC Olympic Research Conducted in Sydney Reviewed Along With First Look
at Salt Lake City Research Findings

SAINT LOUIS, United States of America (29 May 2002)

- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Pfizer announced today in Saint Louis findings from the Pfizer/IOC Olympic Research on Sport Sciences conducted at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City at the Sixth IOC Olympic World Congress on Sport Sciences.

The Pfizer/IOC Olympic Research focuses on three key areas: overall athlete nutrition and health (conducted for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City), natural performance improvement and injury prevention and reduction. The Pfizer/IOC Olympic Research highlights the importance of scientific studies in the development and performance of elite athletes and ultimately offers insights on physical activity that can be used by everyday fitness enthusiasts of all levels. By studying elite athletes at the height of competition, researchers can better learn how the body moves (biomechanics) and gain valuable insights for overall athlete health and performance.

"When top athletes are striving to break records and outperform one other, researchers can analyze what exactly happens when the best are at their best," said Prince Alexandre de Merode, Chairman, IOC Medical Commission. "This research can benefit not only elite athletes but also those striving to learn a new sport or coach others using new techniques that reduce the risk of injury. We share a commitment with Pfizer to conduct this research in an effort to help all people live healthier lives."

Researchers from the Pfizer/IOC Olympic Research conducted in both Sydney and Salt Lake City presented their initial findings at the Sixth IOC Olympic World Congress to those gathered from the field of sports sciences and medicine. Some research highlights included:

  • Factors Contributing to Gymnastics Landing Performance During Olympic Competition (Dr. Jill McNitt-Gray, University of Southern California, USA).
  • Data acquired in Sydney shows that landing success is not defined at the time of apparatus departure. Modeling and simulation techniques have shown that flight phase control strategies may be used to improve the ability of the gymnast to control momentum during landing. Gymnasts must accurately anticipate the mechanical demand imposed during landing.

    This is critical for safe and effective interaction between the athletes and the landing surface. Understanding the trade-offs between successful landing performance (reducing the total body momentum to zero with a single placement of the feet) and safe interaction with the landing surface will advance understanding of control strategies individuals use to distribute mechanical load within the musculoskeletal system under competitive conditions.
  • Biomechanics of High-Velocity Tennis Serves and Variations between Different Styles (American Sports Medicine Institute, USA; Duke University, USA; and University of Western Australia).
  • This researched attempted to unlock the secrets of the successful tennis serve. One of the key elements of the most successful tennis serves was the proper sequence of coordination to rotate different parts of the body - the upper torso, pelvis, elbow, wrist and shoulder - from the arm-cocked back position to ball impact. Compared to female players, males produced greater ball velocity (183 v. 149 km/hr). While this is partly a result of strength it was found that females do not rotate their shoulder from the cocked position as quickly and that they square to face their opponent slightly earlier, all contributing to the greater male velocity. The research also showed that based on the 20 Olympians studied, those who used a deeper knee bend produced the same ball speed using their entire bodies with less stress on the shoulder and elbow, hence less chance of injury. The Women's Gold and Bronze and Men's Silver Medalists all used this technique showcasing the importance of an efficient serve in overall performance. An understanding of serve mechanics may also help in the development of surgical and rehabilitative treatment procedures for shoulder and elbow injuries in tennis.
  • Menstrual Dysfunction in Elite Winter Sports Athletes Preparing for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games (Elizabeth Egan, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK)
  • The preliminary results of this research, conducted in conjunction with the Olympic Winter Games, suggest that speed skaters and biathletes experience delayed menarche more often than ice hockey players, bobsleigh and skeleton athletes and figure skaters. Menstrual health appears to be related to age and gynaecological age (years since menarche) with a higher p
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