U.S. Figure Skaters undergo UD biomechanics testing

U.S. Figure Skaters undergo UD biomechanics testing


[LIZ RAPP VAN RODEN] These are all skaters from the U.S. Figure Skating association. They come here to try and augment their performance – whatever jump they happen to be working on that they can almost do it, but they
just can’t quite get there. And what this process allows them to do is sort of get
that little extra competitive edge by actually analyzing the biomechanics of their jump. [KRISTEN NICHOLSON] So we want them to pick a jump that they’re not super comfortable with
and they haven’t quite perfected. Maybe they’re not spinning the entire number
of revolutions that they need to accurately complete the jump. More often
than anything else, it’s the arms and so, in order to spin around, you need a
really tight center of mass and so they’ll have their arms out like this
and that prevents them from spinning as fast as they need to. [LIZ] In order to define
the most accurate biomechanical model, we need to identify all of the body
segments – so the arms, the legs, the chest, the trunk. [JIM RICHARDS] With those markers, we can
recreate their body so we know where it was at any point in time on the ice and
how it moved. Once we’ve obtained that data and cleaned it, we can then use it
in a simulation. So, when the skater’s in the air and they’re jumping, we can then
look at their position and then find a more optimal position for them to get
into so that they have a higher probability of landing the jump. [LIZ] Biomechanics in general is something that, when I was in college, I had no idea
about. My background is math, but it turns out you can apply math to really cool
things, whether it’s patient care or physical therapy or sports like this. And
so, it was really important to me to find an adviser who was active in all those
areas, and Dr. Richards definitely runs the whole gamut. He thankfully let me come along for the ride.

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