The importance of aerodynamics for sports

The importance of aerodynamics for sports - Transcript

My name is Annick D'Auteuil. I work at the National Research Council of Canada and I am a researcher in aerodynamics. Most important for the athletes is the drag force, the invisible force that is stopping you to move faster forward. Here in a wind tunnel, we just isolate purely the variable related to the drag on your body so that's what we want to provide to you at the end of the day: what is the best suit for you to be faster. An important parameter when we try different suits is to maintain the same position. It is impossible for us at the end of the day to compare results if two parameters change at a time.

You're ready to rock? I'm ready! Excellent!


And we can see on this graph all the results for the different suits that we have tested for long track speed skating. And clearly this curve is the best one.

That's our winner for the day, which showed the lowest drag. We help them select the best piece of equipment for their performance at the next Olympics and also to play on their different body positions to have them the most optimized to reduce the drag. When your arm is close to your torso, it is definitely better because there's less air that is captured between your arm and your torso. So when you're actually skating and you keep one of your arms tied to your body and you just propulse yourself with one arm, it is better than when you are swinging with both arms. I'm all excited to watch the Olympics and see all the Canadian athletes performing at their best and I'm hoping that the Canadians will rock the place.

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