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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favourite videos of 2009

Bringing the curtain down on 2009:  Two great "alternative" sports videos

One final post for 2009, to bring the curtain down on a great year.  These are my two favourite alternative sports videos of the year, for you to enjoy as the curtain comes down on a great (and controversial) year in sport.  It's easy to be bogged down in the detail and to overlook the remarkable, which I hope these videos capture to some extent.

Remarkable balance and control - bet you don't use your bike for this

First up, a video that we featured in April this year, showing Danny Macaskill, a trials rider, showing some skills over a period of a few months in Edinburgh.  Everything about this video - the skill, the setting, the soundtrack (a song by Band of Horses called "Funeral", for those who are interested), the editing, is just breath-taking, and it's my favourite video of 2009.

Extreme sport video of the year

Next, a video of extreme sport - wingsuit jumping.  What is most incredible about this is how difficult it must be to learn it.  Learning a sport like golf or tennis is difficult, sure, but there's a very set process by which you improve, systematically acquiring skill, practicing, obtaining feedback and then improving.

An activity like this, there is one chance.  I can't get my mind around how remarkable the process is by which these guys learn to do this.  I assume these men all begin as sky-divers, evolve into base-jumping and then eventually graduate to 'buzzing the walls' while wearing outfits that you'd expect to see in a sci-fi movie.  The penalty for miscalculation is severe, and the opportunities to experiment limited, and these men are right on the limit of extreme.  It's quite incredible.  Enjoy!

And on that note, a final thank you to everyone for reading, contributing and supporting us on The Science of Sport in 2009!

We hope that 2010 brings more of the same, and we'll do our very best to keep covering it!

Happy New Year, everyone!



Jim Hansen said...

Here is an intersting article just published by the New York Times on Danny MacAskill and that video.


Joe Garland said...

And Sixty Minutes just had a long segment on the Birdmen. (Spoiler: It notes that one of the Americans who was supposed to be in the piece was killed in an accident shortly before shooting began.)

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Jim and Joe

Thanks a million for that. What a great story! I see he is coming to South Africa, I wonder if he'll do anything that I can watch? Maybe I can do a video interview for the site! In my dreams - the article suggests he has become quite a commercial powerhouse, and good for him!

Then to Joe, I actually saw that piece on 60 minutes - it's where I found the video, I was so fascinated by it that I searched YouTube. Saw that piece about the accident and the guys' attitude towards it. Pretty amazing (some would say crazy). I remember a suit like this in a Lara Croft movie (I think it was the second one). I watched it and I even remember thinking "yeah right, I know this fiction based on a computer game, but that's not even vaguely realistic". Next thing you know, it's happening...

Have a great New Year's!

Dave said...

Hi Ross and Jonathan,

my congrats to your great site! Your site is already quite popular with us (sportscience-students). Motivating to see you as young sport-scientists coming up! Keep it up for 2010!
Greetings from snowy switzerland

Thomas said...

Hi Ross and Jonathan,

thanks for your great blog and all the best wishes for 2010 ;-)

There are more Danny MacAskill videos on youtube, the one I like most is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU82rMmUn9k. The music (Lemon Jelly, "In the Bath") and the riding-sections fit perfectly...

At 1:50 Danny goes down a handrail backwards on the front wheel - for me this is the most impressive section of all...

greetings from Austria,