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DAVID EPSTEIN: ARE ATHLETES REALLY GETTING FASTER, BETTER, STRONGER

Source: David Epstein, TED Summaries (03/05/2014)

The Olympic motto is “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, and over time our Olympic records are getting better. However, David is investigating why: the technological and training drivers.

100m sprint: Jesse Owens won the 1936 Olympics in 10.2 seconds, but would have came last in the 2013 race where Usain Bolt set his record of 9.77seconds. The human race has not evolved over this time, but technology is supporting them: for example Owens ran on a soft surface of wood ash (cinders), which would have made him lose a lot more energy than Usain’s engineered carpet. Likewise, Usain ran from starting blocks, while Owens used a trowel to dig small holes in the surface. By analysing Owens’ movements, it is believed if he competed directly against Usain Bolt on the same surface, he would have come within a stride of victory, instead of being 14ft slower.

4 minute mile: The first man to run a 4 minute mile was in 1954, also on cinders (soft wood ash). Since then 1,314 have run a 4 minute mile, but the cinders are 1.5% slower than synthetic tracks. If you apply this conversion, only 513 men have run 4 minute miles.

100m freestyle: the record is decreasing over time, but there were sudden drops in time caused by introduction of flip turns, gutters around the pool to absorb ripples, and the introduction of full body swim suits.

Longest distance cycled in an hour: increased from 30miles, 3774 feet in 1972 more than 35miles in 1996. the 1996 bike was aerodynamic and much better engineered. When the rules were changed to force everyone to use a similar bike to what was used in 1972, the new record stands at 30miles 4657ft – not much further than 1972. Essentially the whole gain was from technological gain.

Selection of athletes: In the early 20th century it was believed that the most normal, average body type was best suited for all sports. Since then sports scientists revealed different body shapes were stronger in different sports, resulting in each sport having a certain type of people competing. This coincided with more people wanting to join in on the sports, making a wider range of people available to choose from, and therefore more people able to fit into the perfect body for the sport. This has been called the ‘Big Bang of Bodytypes’. Specialisation has concentrated people into these sports for example 1 in 6 men taller than 7ft are in the NBA. In sports where large bodies are prized, the athletes got bigger. Likewise sports preferring smaller bodies got them.

Ultra-endurance: There was a time when it was believed that ultra-endurance was harmful to our health. However, as we analysed our bodies we found they were hairless and easily cooled, and muscle structures made us well adapted to long runs. Recently Kilian Jornet ran up and down the Matterhorn (8,000ft) in under 3hrs, but he is not a freak. More people will do the same in the future, now that we have changed our mindset about what is possible.

With new technology, body type adaptation, mindset, imagination, and understanding of what the human body is capable of, athletes have been getting faster, higher, stronger.

 

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2018 Early Childhood Education Kids’ Athletics – Samabula Primary School Kindergarten

Samabula Primary School (SPS) Kindergarten ended their 2018 Early Childhood Education (ECE) with a Kids’ Athletics program as part of their Sports Day Program last Friday (27/07/2018).

SPS Head Teacher, Mr. Mohammed Feroz, saluted the efforts of his forever dedicated and hardworking staff of 7 that made the week a memorable one for the 80 plus kindergartners at the SPS Kindergarten.

In the 20 plus years of the ECE Program, this has been by far the most successful and it was all made possible by the hardworking kindergarten staff.

The ECE program has been around for while and only, in the past 10 – 12 years, has the Ministry of Education taken it upon themselves to formalize such celebrations.

The main objective of such an initiative was to collaborate with important stakeholders to facilitate quality Early childhood education for every child and as such, develop a strong foundation for future educational excellence.

Athletics Fiji development officers spent the day setting up and help run the Kids Athletics program with the help of the teachers who were there to make sure that every kindergartner had the opportunity to do the formula 1 course.

The theme of this year’s ECE celebrations was “Quality Childhood Care and Education – Everyone’s Responsibility”.

In addition to his salutary comments, Mr. Feroz reiterated the Everyone’s Responisibility” bit of the theme by sharing some of the experiences and challenges that most teachers in Fiji face with having to fork out of their own pockets to help pay for resource material for their classes.

Teachers are spending their own money for their resources. Resources such as various colored pens, books etc. It’s an investment in the young”

Teaching is a calling that only a few answer and I believe that we teachers play an important role in society as much as doctors do.

Story by: Eugene Vollmer, Athletics Fiji (29/07/2018)

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KIDS IN COMMUNITY SPORTS PROGRAM – YAT SEN PRIMARY SCHOOL

In its hopes to promote a healthy lifestyle at the primary schools level, the Fiji National Sports Commission invited Athletics Fiji Development Officers to help run the Kids’ Athletics Program at Yat Sen Primary School.

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WE’RE OFFERING THIS PROGRAM TO ANY SCHOOL AND SO FAR WE’VE ONLY HAD YAT SEN PRIMARY WHO HAVE REQUESTED US TO COME IN AND RUN THE PROGRAM

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Sports Commission development officer Mitieli Savu said that the program will last the whole of the second school term.

WE’RE TEACHING KIDS THE BASIC MOTOR SKILLS.

Apart from Kid’s Athletics, Basketball Fiji was also there. “We’re waiting for the response from other sporting bodies as we’ve invited them as well.” said Savu.

Savu also commented that this program will help Sports Commission and sporting bodies identify potential talent.

Story by: Eugene Vollmer, Athletics Fiji (13/07/2018)

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