Went to the mountain biking today. Loved it. Seeing folk who look completely composed, but sound utterly fucked. A different world from the TV coverage.
Freya Anderson has been great and could become something really special:
Off to find a good spot to watch the time trial shortly
Went down to the Riverside Museum for the start of the women’s event. Torrential rain started 60 seconds before the first rider and went off 60 seconds after the last. Was fun to see 34 variations on the expression ‘fuck this shit’.
Thanks for the chart - really useful!
If you have EuroSport then you can always try that when the BBC are going into an in-depth discussion about British athletes when there’s other non-British action on
@marckee and anyone else
why is it that swimmers seem to be really dominant at international level much younger than other, similar sports. Like Phelps was 23 or so when he won 8 golds, Thorpe was in his teens, Adlington retired at 23(?), but for runners and cyclists the peak is late 20s, early 30s.
Is it that you need less pure physical strength? or just that swimming training and practice is more mentally draining cause you’re inside in a pool? or something else?
Think that guys like Phelps, Thorpe and Adlington ect, are outliers rather than the norm (and the vast majority of those are males). Remember reading something that says that most swimmers best times still come through their late 20s and early 30s.
Swimmers are actually tending to peak later these days, with longer careers, but the fact that it’s still a perception shows just how unbalanced it was, say, 10 years ago. I think that there are two main reasons:
- It’s because your body changes as you get older, changing differently for men and women, and
- Because the training required to be an elite swimmer takes a huge toll on a person physically, mentally and outside of the college environment, it’s very difficult to get the financial backing to support it as a professional lifestyle with the same level of support teams.
The first one probably needs a bit more explanation. Swimming is about aerodynamics and technique more than muscle strength, and swimmers these days tend to be tall, broad-shouldered, with very low body fat, but without being ‘big’ in the arms or legs. It’s all in the core and back, as the arms and legs aren’t pumping in the same way that a runner or cyclists would be. Muscle density can actually be a hindrance in the pool. It’s a bit different for breaststroke swimmers, and these tend to be bulkier, and usually a bit shorter than freestyle and butterfly.
If you’ve grown up swimming all throughout childhood, training to a high level, your technique and endurance will be good. For many, if they have the skeletal structure, these are good enough to beat older swimmers who have increased muscle density, have slowed metabolism (which makes training harder), or have fully developed as adults (this is particularly an issue for women swimmers).
cheers, more coherent version of what I was thinking. Ta both
Phelps is definitely an outlier, but not because he peaked early. He’s an outlier because he was consistently winning multiple gold medals at Worlds and Olympics for 15 years, which is virtually unprecedented in any sport, let alone swimming.
It’s definitely a noticeable trend that elite swimmers now have longer careers and peak a little later than they used to.
It wasn’t unusual for 15 year old girls to set world records at one Olympic games and then never be heard from again. If they were lucky, they may have been able to stretch their career to five years and coincide with two Olympic games. Overtraining, pressure, systematic doping etc, all led to those early peaks. Thankfully the situation is better now.
Is it better regards doping? But yeah the careers of swimmers are more sustainable
Definitely. Both in terms of illegal substances being used and also in the mistreatment of athletes as a result of drug programmes. Compared to the regimes that ran in East Germany, Russia and China in past, the welfare of swimmers is much better.
China used to produce a world-record beating teenager every six-months during the 1990s who’d then disappear without a trace, burnt out, abandoned and left with chronic health issues.
Still one of the least tested sports though and lots of reports around the sport being rife with PEDs. I’m not derailing this thread into a doping discussion so will duck out after this. just that I don’t really watch swimming outside of Olympics/worlds, so interested to see what it’s about
Hyping up KJT has never ended well for anyone and still hard to see her getting close to Thiam but she’s been pretty solid so far
Punched the air at Bradshaw clearing 4.75 there, would be amazing to see her finally getting a big outdoor medal.
also actually starting to believe KJT can do it after that 200m.
been a great competition for the brits already
That’s a great run from Guliyev. Smashed the rest of them.
Lovely touch to see Stefanidi celebrate when Bradshaw went over, too.
Second fastest European run ever…although must admit I was concentrating on the race for second! Great race all round.
Amazingly, Pietro Mennea’s European 200m record still stands after 39 years.
I think it all rests on the javelin now, but we’ll see. KJT has to get a good jump in early in the long jump…don’t want any repeats of the World Champs a few years back!
That was at altitude though wasn’t it?