Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 27, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 27, 2021


Triathlon Olympic gold medallist Kristian Blummenfelt pays tribute to Norway’s heat operation

Inside the Games, Philip Barker from

As the impact of Norway’s first triathlon gold medal has been sinking in here, winner Kristian Blummenfelt has paid tribute to the team that helped him conquer temperatures of 29 degrees and 70 per cent humidity to win in Tokyo.

“It was actually quite comfortable,” Blummenfelt said.

“We have been preparing for the heat for so many years with a really good team around me, probably world-leading when it comes to heat operation.”

Is Kanoa Igarashi the LeBron of Surfing?

Outside Online, Daniel Duane from

… More recently, Igarashi’s choice of flag has made him the single biggest human-interest story going into surfing’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Because, see, Igarashi’s mother and father not only surfed in Japan before moving to the United States but also claim to have moved precisely to give their unborn child the best possible shot at becoming a professional surfer. As if that weren’t awesome enough, Igarashi’s father is pretty sure that he and some friends were the first surfers ever to ride waves at the break in Japan where the Olympic competition will be held, 90 minutes outside Tokyo at Shidashita Beach, in the town of Ichinomiya. Meaning that Igarashi will compete for gold on behalf of family and country at his own father’s home break.

Shaq Moore’s USMNT return and under-the-radar ascent

Sports Illustrated, Brian Straus from

The right back may have the fastest goal in modern USMNT history, but his climb back to the national team radar has been anything but rapid. Now, he’s making the most of his chance.

Dad’s club leads to bonding for US men’s volleyball team

Associated Press, Josh Dubow from

Micah Christenson’s Olympic preparation got interrupted for the best possible reason.

Christenson was playing a pre-Olympic tournament in Italy in June with the rest of the U.S. men’s volleyball team when he hopped on a plane for a trip of about 8,000 miles to head home to Hawaii for less than 48 hours to be there for the birth of his second child.

“That was a bit chaotic,” Christenson said. “That travel was all a blur. I’m thankful my teammates and coaches supported it.”

Temperament, sleep quality, and insomnia severity in university students: Examining the mediating and moderating role of sleep hygiene

PLOS One; Angela F. Lukowski and Dmitry Tsukerman from

University students commonly experience sleep problems which have implications for daily functioning and academic achievement. For this reason, research is needed to identify modifiable individual difference variables that may contribute to better sleep in this population. Temperament and sleep hygiene may be two such factors. As part of a larger study, 167 university students (61.7% female) completed online questionnaires that inquired about temperament (the Adult Temperament Questionnaire; ATQ), sleep hygiene behavior (the Sleep Hygiene Index; SHI), global sleep quality (the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; PSQI), and insomnia severity (the Insomnia Severity Index; ISI). Correlations amongst the included measures were in the predicted direction: effortful control was negatively associated with the SHI composite, PSQI global scores, and ISI scores; extraversion was negatively related to PSQI global scores; and negative affect was positively associated with the SHI composite and ISI scores. In addition, the SHI composite mediated the association between effortful control and the PSQI global scores as well as the association between negative affect and PSQI global scores; similar patterns of mediation were found when considering ISI scores, although the direct effects differed. That is, negative affect was directly associated with ISI scores but not PSQI global scores. These findings suggest that interventions designed enhance effortful control, reduce negative affect, and improve sleep hygiene may contribute to better global sleep quality and decrease insomnia in university students. [full text]

Does the Interaction between Local and Systemic Inflammation Provide a Link from Psychology and Lifestyle to Tissue Health in Musculoskeletal Conditions?

MDPI, International Journal of Molecular Sciences from

Musculoskeletal conditions are known to involve biological, psychological, social and, often, lifestyle elements. However, these domains are generally considered in isolation from each other. This siloed approach is unlikely to be adequate to understand the complexity of these conditions and likely explains a major component of the disappointing effects of treatment. This paper presents a hypothesis that aims to provide a foundation to understand the interaction and integration between these domains. We propose a hypothesis that provides a plausible link between psychology and lifestyle factors with tissue level effects (such as connective tissue dysregulation/accumulation) in musculoskeletal conditions that is founded on understanding the molecular basis for interaction between systemic and local inflammation. The hypothesis provides plausible and testable links between mind and body, for which empirical evidence can be found for many aspects. We present this hypothesis from the perspective of connective tissue biology and pathology (fibrosis), the role of inflammation locally (tissue level), and how this inflammation is shaped by systemic inflammation through bidirectional pathways, and various psychological and lifestyle factors via their influence on systemic inflammation. This hypothesis provides a foundation for new consideration of the development and refinement of personalized multidimensional treatments for individuals with musculoskeletal conditions. [full text]

Sports psychologist explains brain’s role in peak performance at Olympics

Yahoo News, NBC News Now from

Dr. Lindsay Shaw, who works for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee as a senior sports psychophysiologist, joins NBC News NOW to describe how she helps athletes explore the brain’s role in achieving peak performance.

Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance

Stanford University, Stanford News from

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance is a public-private partnership of thought leaders and innovators from six research institutions, chaired by a Stanford faculty leader and made possible by a foundational gift from longtime Stanford benefactors Clara Wu Tsai, ’88, MA ’88, and her husband, Joe Tsai. Alliance researchers will harness advances in medicine, brain science, molecular biology, engineering and more to explore physical prowess from every imaginable scientific angle – including the biochemistry, physics, psychology and biomechanics of movement in order to improve human health broadly.

The Alliance will capitalize on the decade-long technology convergence taking place across fields, including medical imaging, data sciences, artificial intelligence, computational modeling, regenerative medicine and genetic sciences. Many advances in these fields – such as new approaches in artificial intelligence – did not exist just a few short years ago.

The Orlando Magic Extend Deal with Stats Perform for the Use of AutoStats Computer Vision Technology Powering Deeper Insights for Recruitment and the NBA Draft

PR Newswire, Stats Perform from

Stats Perform, the sports tech leader in data and AI technology, and the Orlando Magic announced a deal extension for the use of AutoStats, the revolutionary AI-enhanced body recognition technology. The Magic became the first NBA team to use AutoStats in 2019, creating a more robust, data-driven approach to evaluate college players.

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance

YouTube, Human Performance Alliance from

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance is a scientific collaboration that aims to transform human health on a global scale through the discovery and translation of the biological principles underlying athletic performance.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Let Athletes Lead the Way on Mental Health

The Hollywood Reporter, Kareem Abdul Jabbar from

Instead of demanding perfection from sports stars who get candid about their health, viewers should admire their perseverance — and take cues from their coping skills.

Young Black athletes are launching a mental health revolution

NBC News, Char Adams from

Raven Saunders was riding high after the 2016 Rio Olympics. She placed fifth in the women’s shot put, and upon her return, her hometown, Charleston, South Carolina, held a parade celebrating “Raven Saunders Day” in her honor.

She returned to the University of Mississippi for her senior year, feeling unstoppable, but the high was short-lived. She faced a series of post-Olympics setbacks during the 2017 collegiate season, and placed 10th at the Athletics World Championships that year.

“In 2018, I had my breakdown,” Saunders said, adding that navigating life as a Black, queer woman only added to the stress. She entered a period of depression, and suicide ideation.

“I would base my self worth and how good I was as a person on how I was doing in track,” she said. “When I ended up not having a good World Championship meet, it sent me further into that hole. I knew I was drained, but I still tried to push through. But it wasn’t for me; it was for a lot of people I felt like I owed.”

Healthy Contention

Substack, Learn Your Keep newsletter, Evan Demchick from

… Once any league realizes it is running an entertainment company as well as a competition of the world’s best athletes, the question then becomes how to best serve two masters.

How does the NBA deal with Kawhi Leonard resting during a large portion of the regular reason?

How does MLB handle the increase in strike out rate?

While these may seem like very different questions, they are getting at the same problem: How does a league balance each team’s individual championship aspirations with the group’s business interests.

The Italian European Championship seen from the inside, interview with Antonio Gagliardi

Google Translate, l'Ultimo Uomo, Alfredo Giacobbe from

Antonio Gagliardi is a coach and tactical analyst. He has been on the national team’s technical staff since 2010 and last season he was also one of Andrea Pirlo’s technical collaborators at Juventus. He has just returned from his winning expedition at Euro 2020 and has agreed to speak with us to offer us an inside look at the work our national team does day after day.

Olympics: Japan lied about the weather in its Olympic bid

Yahoo Sports, Dan Wetzel from

The finish line of the men’s triathlon Monday morning looked something like a battlefield scene, bodies sprawled out on ground, trainers coming to the aid of overheated athletes, even a few being helped off with their arms draped over shoulders.

This despite the Olympics moving the start time to 6:30 a.m. in an effort to beat the heat that, as these Tokyo Games have proven, remains undefeated. Temps still reached 85 degrees with a relative humidity of 67.1 percent at start time.

No, the Japanese don’t have to apologize for the weather here — the searing sun, the sky high temps, the pea-soup humidity. No one tells Mother Nature what to do.

But as athletes continue to wilt and wither in these conditions, they do owe everyone an apology for this much: They lied like hell about it.

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