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Tuesday 11, Aug 2009

  Scientists to make revelations on how Olympic Success can be engineered

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Scientists to make revelations on how Olympic Success can be engineered  During a public discussion on 29 April at the University of Birmingham that was hosted by the Engineering & Technology Board (etb) in partnership with the Royal Institution (Ri), the science behind the performances of Olympic athletes was revealed.

Speakers at the University of Birmingham included Craig Sharp (Professor of Sports Science at Brunel University), James Lamont (Innovation Team Leader, adidas), Dr Greg Whyte (Director of Science and Research at the English Institute of Sport), and Claire Davis (School of Engineering, Birmingham University).

According to Dr Greg Whyte, Director of Science and Research at the English Institute of Sport, the public discussions were aimed at explaining the science at work behind the Olympics.

From News-Medical.Net:

Dr Greg Whyte, Director of Science and Research at the English Institute of Sport, who will lead each event said: “Every four years Olympic records previously thought to be unbeatable are broken and new milestones are reached.”

“These three public discussions will not only explain the science at work behind the Olympics, but also highlight the increasingly critical role science, engineering and technology plays in assisting athlete’s participation, and success, in the world’s greatest sports event.”

Dr Whyte will open the discussion by providing an overview of human performance throughout history in our bid to become swifter, higher and stronger. He will be followed by leading industry experts, who will talk on:

i) The physiological limits of human achievement by looking at the differences between humans and animals in terms of speed and endurance;

ii) The advances in sports equipment technology and examine its impact on human performance; and finally;

iii) The effect of advancements in drug testing technology on athletes’ pursuit of excellence.

Modern day Olympics have always been played under the clouds of steroids. With steroids gaining more popularity than ever, it is high time that sportsmen can be educated about the pros and cons of steroids in sports so that no awkward incident occurs at any of the future Olympics.

Thursday 28, Aug 2008

  Steroids work

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In the months leading to the Beijing Olympics, a handful of athletes had tested positive for steroids and other illegal substances. Those athletes had been disallowed to join the Summer Games.

During the duration of international multi-sport event, which officially started on 8th August and ended on the 24th, six athletes had been found out to have used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The six athletes were disqualified and/or stripped of their medals and could face a ban from their respective sports. Apparently, doping is a risky business, and the big question is why do athletes insist on using steroids?

Professional and Olympic athletes use steroids for the simple fact that steroids work.

To some athletes, the beneficial effects of steroids outweigh the deleterious ones.

Steroids can cause feminization symptoms in men – growth of breast tissues and testicular atrophy. In females, virilization symptoms can occur, such as hair growth in other parts of the body and clitoral enlargement. In both sexes, acne breakout and infertility can be possible side effects of steroids.

But these synthetic hormones can also make one bigger, stronger, and faster.

A Reuters article in 2007 explains how steroids work.

“It’s not just a question of improving muscular strength and recovery,” said Jay Hoffman, chairman of the department of Health & Exercise Science at The College of New Jersey and a former National Football League player who says he used steroids. “Hypothetically, there’s a good chance that taking anabolic steroids will have a chance to make you faster and quicker,” Hoffman said in a telephone interview.

In September, article physicist Roger Tobin of Tufts University in Boston said steroids could help baseball players hit 50 percent more home runs by boosting their muscle mass by just 10 percent.

He said 10 percent more muscle mass would help a player swing about 5 percent faster, increasing the ball’s speed by 4 percent as it leaves the bat.

“A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent,” Tobin said.

Given these statistics, it’s of no wonder why athletes in diverse sports resort to steroids to give them an advantage over their opponents. It has been reported though that steroids alone will not create winners. There is no substantiated evidence that even ultra-high doses of popular steroids will cause muscle and strength gains. Steroids can promote muscle growth and strength if taken along with intensive training and proper diet (preferably a high protein diet). The training should be carried out before and during steroid intake.