Taking a known and enjoyed topic that is of great interest and using that
as a springboard for learning about a less exciting to the novice area of
study is sometimes useful method of capturing the interest and attention
of students. Presenting education regarding physics from the carrot of
Winter Olympics is certainly an example of this approach.


Winter Olympics Science

"The enormous appeal of the Winter Olympic Games creates several teachable
moments for showing how science illuminates human activity."

Major Course Content Sections:

Sports Nutrition
Physics and Biomechanics
Physiology and Psychology

Content Sample: Physiology and Psychology

Outside the classroom
Number of out-of-class assignments accompany all of the topics. Their
objectives is to interact with national, international and Olympic
athletes and learn about variety of physical and mental factors involved
in becoming a successful athlete.

Muscular factors of cross-country skiing

Muscle fiber types
Skeletal muscle movements
Muscles used in cross-country skiing
Sequence and timing of muscles
Cardiovascular factors of cross-country skiing

Resting heart rate
Heart rate during exercise
Determination of training (target) zones
Stroke volume
Stroke volume increase with exercise
Explanations of stroke volume increase
Performance benchmarks of cross-country skiers

Cardiac output
Maximum oxygen uptake
Body composition
Energy expenditures
Exercise in the cold

Body response to exercise in cold
Factors affecting body heat loss
Tips on exercising in cold
Psychological parameters related to cross-country skiing participation and

Personality profiles of xc skiers
Motivational factors of elite athletes


The question is whether or not students need to try out to make the team
that studies these Olympics science courses.

David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204-4584

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