Presented by University of Central Lancashire

Dr Howard Hurst
Sports, Tourism & the Outdoors, UCLan

Prof Jim Richards
Allied Health Professions Research Unit, UCLan

Matt Dickinson
Engineering, UCLan

To become a world class athlete, you need more than just talent and dedication. Beyond the training schedule and physical fitness of an individual, research can provide the competitive edge to win gold. Engineering, science and technology are combined to support athletes to maximise their performance potential.

See the scientists explain the science behind their exhibit in the video above

How it works

This exhibit will show the cutting-edge research utilised by Team GB and other countries to develop training machines and high tech equipment to improve performance and help athletes achieve their personal best. Adjustments to environment, diet, scheduling and equipment can give the small percentage gains that makes the difference between silver and gold medal success.

Understanding the biomechanical stresses on the human body helps designers modify and adjust equipment and the materials it is made from to optimise performance and minimise injury.  Improving the aerodynamics of a bicycle frame is one example. Designers can use lightweight materials and adjust the shape of the frame to maximise comfort for the user, which can have a significant impact on the athlete’s performance.

Technology can also improve the technique of the athlete. Using 3D modelling systems, scientists can see the running technique of an athlete and then find ways to improve it to help the athlete increase their speed. This may include developments in sportswear and training devices.

Lead Image: Dr Howard Hurst Downhill Mountain Biking