Welcome to the Science of Sport, where we bring you the second, third, and fourth level of analysis you will not find anywhere else.

Be it doping in sport, hot topics like Caster Semenya or Oscar Pistorius, or the dehydration myth, we try to translate the science behind sports and sports performance.

Consider a donation if you like what you see here!

Did you know?
We published The Runner's Body in May 2009. With an average 4.4/5 stars on Amazon.com, it has been receiving positive reviews from runners and non-runners alike.

Available for the Kindle and also in the traditional paper back. It will make a great gift for the runners you know, and helps support our work here on The Science of Sport.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Oslo Golden League preview

LeTour, and Golden League momentum picks up in a star-studded Oslo meet

It's a great sporting weekend - Wimbledon, Tour de France, the final Lions-Boks rugby match (and a chance to see whether it's even possible for the Boks' coach so say anything more embarrassing than he has so far, because the rugby is not nearly as intriguing), and then the second Golden League meeting of the year.

The Tour is the big one, and for the next three weeks, the eyes of the world will be on the Alps, Pyrenees, and flatter roads of France as the drama unfolds. Every year, the Tour starts amid much hype of how strictly controlled drug testing is going to be, and sure enough, every year a number of riders are caught.

Last year, the King of the Mountains, third overall, and five stage wins were 'nullified' by positive drug results, giving further credence to the theory that success is inextricably linked to doping in the sport. Occassionally, one of them speaks out, as Bernard Kohl did after last year, and the sport is exposed more than ever. In the words of a friend of mine - "cycling makes fools of its fans", and let's hope the next three weeks does not continue that trend!

Somewhere in the midst of all this controvery a bike race happens, and it promises to be one of the most intriguing in recent years, because of the return of Lance Armstrong, and the inter-team rivalry that is threatening to unfold in the Astana team, which also possesses the pre-race favourite, Alberto Contador.

Here in SA, you'd think only one man is riding, the TV advertising has focused exclusively on Armstrong, and not on a host of other characters who it seems are secondary to the plot. He brings a level of interest that the sport has not seen for a few years, and how the team dynamic is shaped in the first 10 days is likely to be one of the big talking points. That does not even factor in the likes of Schleck, Sastre (the defending champion), Menchov and Evans.

Over the next three weeks, we'll see who emerges in the headlines (for hopefully the right reasons), and we'll do our best to add some insight into the race, particularly when the roads head upwards in the mountain stages. So join us then!

Golden League

The first big sports event of the weekend (for us, anyway) is the Golden League meeting in Oslo. It's number 2 of 6 for 2009, the first being Berlin just under a month ago. The focus of the athletics world is Berlin, in August, for the IAAF World Champs, and so a lot of stars are out this weekend.

They include Kenenisa Bekele, Abubaker Kaki, Asafa Powell, Sanya Richards, Meseret Defar, Meselech Melkamu, Augustine Choge, and a host of great field event athletes.

Rather than duplicate an already complete and concise summary, I refer you to LetsRun.com's preview of the meeting, which highlights all the great events, and the head-to-head contests that add intrigue.

For me, the hightlight promises to be the men's 5,000m race, where Kenenisa Bekele has continued with his intention of winning the jackpot by winning all six meetings (either at 3,000 or 5,000m). One month ago, he was perhaps at his most vulnerable, having returned from a stress fracture last year, and an apparent muscle injury only 2 weeks before that in Holland. He was made to work harder than ever before, and it was not the same controlled, dominant performance we are accustomed to.

Yet he was still able to win, and with another 3 weeks added to his recovery/preparation, it will surely be more difficult than ever to dethrone him. A field of no less then 10 men who've run sub-13 will try, and that should be one of the highlights.

We'll bring you any insights if the meeting produces them!

Enjoy the action!


Ray said...

What is the "Osol Golden League"?

Joe Garland said...

What of your discussion about Michael Ashenden and Andy Shen's interview concerning Armstrong?

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

HI Ray, Joe

Thanks Ray, made the change. My bad...

Then to Joe,

Yes, that still needs to be done, and trust us, it's on the table.

The problem is trying to find the time to do those kinds of posts in amongst our work (the main reason) and also the calendar.

There was a gap a while ago, but the timing was wrong, and then the rest of last month was really busy for me since I was on tour with the SA Sevens team and Jonathan has had summer school commitments.

So I know it's promised, and we'll deliver, but unfortunately, the reality is we have to squeeze out the time ourselves! And I'm sure you've read the Ashenden interview - it's not one that can be analysed in 30 minutes!

It's coming, I promise!