Medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics are an opportunity to grade national sports science programs, and to compare how nations go about developing and preparing their elite athletes for high stakes competition.
The U.S. won more medals than any other nation, and did so without the benefit of a centralized government sports organization. In events like distance running, where private coaches train clutches of elite runners, the progress is noticeable.
Dominant athletes are benefiting from superior training/coaching to prolong careers. It appears that the longevity isn’t blocking younger athletes from developing, but is more a matter of smart, effective training to minimize age effects.
And the combination of U.S. affluence and opportunities for women in sports has given our country’s women a leg up on world competition.
Among other nations, Australia seems to be falling off athletically (more on Aussie women. A decade ago the country had a sports science advantage but as the field gets more technical, the country may lack the engineering and computing know how to stay at the leading edge.
More things that I read and liked last week: