Feb
17
2010

Winter Olympics science: Click these links during all those commercials

The skinny on ski jumping: New regulations are in place in international ski jumping competition to discourage eating disorders among competitors. Lighter is better in the sport, but officials don't want competitors to get unhealthily too light.
The skinny on ski jumping: New regulations are in place in international ski jumping competition to discourage eating disorders among competitors. Lighter is better in the sport, but officials don't want competitors to get unhealthily too light.Courtesy Morgan Goodwin
Do you feel like me – that the Winter Olympics coverage is hours of commercials interrupted by occasional bursts of winter sports activities? Well, rather than watch those same commercials for the 123rd time, here are some interesting links that can add some scientific understanding to the amazing things we occasionally get to see during the TV coverage. Click on these links to fill in the time wasted on all of those commercials. And then you can thank me after the games are done.

Just how dangerous are winter sports anyway? We got a strong sense of the dangers involved just before the games started when a German luge racer was killed from injuries suffered in a training run wipe-out. This story takes an analytical look at how dangerous ice and snow sports really are. And here's a story on why doctors strongly urge you to wear a helmet when snowboarding or skiing, even if it's just a leisurely run on your local ski hill.

Ski jumpers aren't being accused of using steroids....it's just the opposite. New regulations are in place to prevent excessive weight loss, including linking ski length to body mass index among competitors. Find out more here.

Will a ton of new world records be set on the speed skating rink? New technologies in racing suit designs – "(suits) more aerodynamic than human skin" – will be used in this Olympics. It's good to know that there is now a disincentive to naked speed skating in the games.

Why do they have that funky blue paint on the ski and snowboard courses? Find out more here.

Over the weekend, ARTiFactor posted a number of NBC's video reports on scientific aspects of specific sports. You can learn more here about:
Curling science
Skate technology
Ski technology
Snowboarding physics
Figure skating physics
Bobsled physics
Short-track speed skating physics

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