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Thread: "How scientists are making ice skating safer" (CNN, Sat Jun 29)

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    Lightbulb "How scientists are making ice skating safer" (CNN, Sat Jun 29)

    This technology sounds like a game-changer!?!

    How scientists are making ice skating safer
    Editor’s note: Tune in to CNN Saturday, June 29th, at 2:30 pm ET to see "The Next List's" 15-minute profile of biomechanist Jim Richards.
    June 25th, 2013
    09:03 AM ET
    http://whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com/2013/...skating-safer/

    The blog at the link above includes a short (1:13) preview video (with Dr. Sanjay Gupta). Excerpts from the blog:
    “The whole point of what we’re doing is to accelerate their ability to learn these jumps,” Richards says, “We’re decreasing the number of impacts which we hope would have an effect on the long-term health of their lower extremity joints.”
    Motion capture technology has been used to develop lifelike movements in animations and video games. For skating, 40 markers are placed on the athlete’s body while 10 high-speed infrared cameras record the markers' movements. ....
    The research is sponsored by the United States Olympic Committee and United States Figure Skating, and while the university has had requests from all around the world, the program is exclusive to U.S. athletes.
    It could take up to a year to master aerial tricks known as triple and quadruple rotation jumps. After completing the analysis, one skater landed the perfect jump the same day. The learning curve is drastically reduced and most participants successfully complete the jumps within two weeks.
    Nearly 70 skaters have gone through the system and they are blown away by the results.
    “This program is going to help skaters for the future figure out how to do more quads, and who knows, maybe quints,” said Alex Johnson, an internationally ranked figure skater and Olympic contender.

    Tip of the hat to @SarahHughesNY, who tweeted the link to the CNN blog.

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    Very interesting! Sounds more advanced than dartfish!

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    This is fascinating! Wonder what short-term impact this will have on skating.

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    This sounds great! I hope it will help raising the level of Ladies jumping and we will see more 3As and quads!

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    It seems kind of unfair to restrict the program to U.S. athletes, but I guess that's to be expected when it's sponsored only by the USOC and USFSA. I wonder if other countries will develop (or are developing) a similar technology. Also, how do international athletes in the U.S. feel about being excluded, when their training mates are allowed?

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    I wonder if they've tried this on top skaters as well. Specifically, working on a jump with a skater who already has the particular jump under a better-side consistency and quality.

    I wonder if, for example, Yuna would be able to upscale her 3Lz-3t in height & distance, or maybe attempt adding a 3F or Lz at the end of a combo (2/3-3F/Lz), or if her way already optimizes her combo (within the realistic realm of her physical potential). I'd also love to know if skaters will be able to land FORWARD with the help of technology, etc., etc..

    I guess I will (wishfully) find out after the 29th

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    Quote Originally Posted by altuixde View Post
    Also, how do international athletes in the U.S. feel about being excluded, when their training mates are allowed?
    I was wondering about the same. I'd like to know how they determine who gets access to this program, and how USFSA justifies giving some skaters an edge over others.

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    Assuming it eventually becomes less expensive and more widely available...

    Would this help younger or mid-level skaters who are first trying to learn double axels and easy triples? Does it give knowledge about what each individual skater needs to do better given their own body type and current technical skills?

    Or does it mainly help coaches understand what the optimal technique is for anyone to accomplish cutting-edge skills that few have studied because even fewer have mastered yet in the history of the sport?

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    Finally am getting around to watching Max Aaron's interview for The Skating Lesson.

    When asked when he landed his first quad, he said he thinks he was age 19. And success came within a day and a half of returning home from the University of Delaware, "where they put those crazy dots all over you." (This part of the interview is from approx. 16:00 -17:35.)

    A fuller version of the anecdote is that in Delaware, Aaron's attempts at the quad salchow were videotaped and analyzed. Although he never landed the quad there, the analysis indicated that adjusting the angle of his arm or crossing his leg a little more would make a difference. He asked how long post-Delaware it took other people to land the quad, and was told that maybe four days after visiting Delaware, Adam Rippon landed a quad. The determined Aaron -- who laughed at himself during the interview for being too competitive -- set out to beat that record, and was excited when he did.

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    A newer blog entry that is a first-person piece by the biomechanist at the University of Delaware. (Something different from the link in the first post of this thread.)

    The 3-D technology that is helping ice skaters
    By Jim Richards, Special to CNN
    June 28th, 2013
    04:31 PM ET
    Editor’s note: Jim Richards is a professor of biomechanics and vice provost for graduate and professional education at the University of Delaware, where 3D simulations are created to enhance performance in both sports and medical rehabilitation.

    Within the new blog entry also is a different version of the video (2:57).
    The first two minutes is about the technology applied to skating (the content is somewhat different than the previous video).
    The rest is about a separate use for the technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by altuixde View Post
    It seems kind of unfair to restrict the program to U.S. athletes, but I guess that's to be expected when it's sponsored only by the USOC and USFSA. I wonder if other countries will develop (or are developing) a similar technology. Also, how do international athletes in the U.S. feel about being excluded, when their training mates are allowed?
    I don't see why it's unfair if the USFSA and USOC are paying for it. Their job is to help their athletes, not some other country's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    I don't see why it's unfair if the USFSA and USOC are paying for it. Their job is to help their athletes, not some other country's.
    I agree, but I want to see good skating and fewer injuries from all skaters, not just the US skaters. The USFSA and USOC could be gracious enough to allow international skaters to participate in the program for a fee, just as international skaters who train in the US pay for ice time and coaching. Also, if the US organizations allowed non-US athletes to use this program, when the shoe is on the other foot perhaps US athletes would be allowed to benefit from the technology of another country. Besides, if I were an athlete, I wouldn't want to beat my competitors because of some technological advantage.

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    Transcript of the full CNN segment:

    THE NEXT LIST
    Professor Uses Motion Capture Technology to Help Athletes and Surgeons; Ukulele Virtuoso Profiled
    Aired June 29, 2013 - 14:30 ET
    This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIP.../29/nl.01.html

    ETA, excerpts:

    Dr. Jim Richards, Professor of Biomechanics, University of Delaware: Over 90 percent of the athletes could improve their performance simply by changing what they're doing in the air.

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Nearly 20 percent of Olympic caliber figure skaters will suffer a stress fracture this year alone.

    Richards: We've seen skaters who are as young as 20 who have had major hip surgeries and replacements. ....

    Richards: Motion capture technology uses reflective markers to reflect light back to the camera. By placing markers in strategic locations on a human body, we can measure where the body is moving at any point in time. We're doing something that most other sports haven't done. We can play what if games. We can change their body position when they're in the air and then re-simulate the jump. The only adjustment you need to make is the arm. That's it. That's going to get you to where you want to be. ....

    Richards: ... The cool part is we can play it back and it would have told you what you would have done had you assumed this position.

    Richards: And 90 percent of the athletes could change their performance simply by what they're doing in the air. To complete the jump they're going to have to spin at a rate that is extremely uncomfortable. They're spinning at a rate of 300 to 350 rpm. When we put them into positions that are more suited to landing multiple revolution jumps, that goes up to 400 rpm. That's very challenging. ....

    Richards: One of the things we learned is that almost all the athletes have the capacity to complete the jump. So we're going to see if we can just find you a little bit more rotation velocity by adjusting your arm positions. ....

    Richards: We're still putting markers all over the body. We have to reach a point where the system becomes marker-less, and then we can take this technology into actual sporting events and we can analyze them during competition, and that's the goal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by altuixde View Post
    I agree, but I want to see good skating and fewer injuries from all skaters, not just the US skaters. The USFSA and USOC could be gracious enough to allow international skaters to participate in the program for a fee, just as international skaters who train in the US pay for ice time and coaching. Also, if the US organizations allowed non-US athletes to use this program, when the shoe is on the other foot perhaps US athletes would be allowed to benefit from the technology of another country. Besides, if I were an athlete, I wouldn't want to beat my competitors because of some technological advantage.

    Hi. I'm a long time skating fan (since the Olympics of 1976), and a lurker on this site. I see this program as more of a new training method for skaters which this sport has been needing for decades. The sport has become more athletic, but the equipment--the boot and blade--have not changed, and most likely cannot be changed, to reflect this development. All the athlete is given is the scientific information about how their body moves; it is then up to the skater of whether they can take that information and use it successfully. This program was developed with money from the USFSA and USOC. It make sense that American skaters get the benefits. Had this been developed in another country, they wouldn't share either. But eventually other countries, should this method be proven to work, will look into and start their own programs. Lets hope that this motion capture technology works to cut the injuries rates.

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    Hi Darthwill. Thanks for responding to my post, and welcome to the forum!

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