The science of sport: Perimeter Institute explains the physics of Olympic events

The Perimeter Institute in Waterloo is offering people a quick snapshot explaining the physics involved in Olympic events like running, diving and discus-throwing.

Sports is physics taken to the extreme

The Perimeter Institute has put together a series of photos showing the physics behind Olympic events. (Perimeter Institute)

If you have ever wondered why a sprinter has muscular arms or the science behind pole vaulting, the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo has the answers.

The institute has released a photo series as part of its monthly Slice of PI series that discuss the physics behind events in The Olympic Games, including archery, diving, gymnastics and discus.

"The Olympics just seemed like the perfect occasion to look at some of the underlying science behind sports. You know, it really boils down to the fact that everything is physics and sports is sort of physics taken to the extreme. It's the human body trying to work with and sort of maximize the forces at play in physics to achieve what the rest of us can only dream of achieving," the institute's director of communications and media Colin Hunter said.

Among his favourites are the pole vault and discus facts.

"Everyone can visualize the form of a jumper – whether a high jumper or a pole vaulter going over the bar, but we don't tend to stop and think about what are the forces at play there," he said.

Check out a few of the images below or on the Perimeter Institute's website.

(Perimeter Institute )
(Perimeter Institute)
(Perimeter Institute )


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