Articles on Rio 2016

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There’s little evidence relevant government bodies are able to leverage hosting the Olympics to develop a sport participation legacy for the wider population. Reuters/Kevin Coombs

Why Rio, like Sydney and London before it, won’t turn locals into sports stars

The commonly believed mechanism for increasing sport participation assumes that elite sport performances result in a greater number of people taking up sport.
Predictions that top women athletes will soon be competing with the best men, and may even outperform them someday, have not borne out. Ted Goldring/Flickr

Will women ever be able to compete against men in Olympic events?

A 1992 paper predicted that if women's running performance continued to improve as rapidly as it had since the 1920s, top women athletes would soon be running as quickly as the men.
Good horse riding requires skill, technique, precision and refined communication to form a partnership with a horse rather than physical prowess. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Equal but not the same: equestrian sport’s unisex approach hides inequity

Olympic equestrian events are celebrated for allowing men and women to compete with and against one another. But is this joining of hands and hooves a win for gender equality?
Dutch gymnast Epke Zonderland face-planted into the mat during the final of the men’s horizontal bar at the Rio Olympics – then got up and performed beautifully. Reuters/Mike Blake

When you mess up, get up: the power of failure in building resilience

Some Olympic moments are a timely reminder of the human capacity to bounce back in the face of challenge or failure. But why do some people wilt, while others seem to do over or go again?
Badminton players need to excel in physical, tactical, psychological and technical traits. Reuters/Peter Cziborra

What makes an elite badminton player?

Badminton is one of the most popular sports in the world (especially across Asia, Denmark and the United Kingdom), with over 200 million people playing worldwide.
Paula Radcliffe holds the world record in the women’s marathon, at 2:15:25. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

What makes a successful marathon runner?

Just like an efficient car on a long trip, the best marathon runners also use less energy to run at a given speed.
Cathy Freeman was criticised for flying the Aboriginal flag at the 1994 Commonwealth Games but the same act at the Sydney 2000 Olympics was hailed as a moment of reconciliation. Reuters/Jerry Lampen

Why being a sporting role model isn’t as simple as most people think

Athletes are increasingly expected to be good role models. But we don’t usually expect them to sacrifice their chance of winning to help others.
Racewalkers turn a corner – keeping one foot on the ground – during the women’s 20-km event at the 2012 London Olympics. Maureen Barlin/flickr

Don’t run (and don’t laugh): The little-known history of racewalking

Racewalking has been part of the Olympic Games since 1904, but gets little respect in the United States. That might change if Americans knew a little more about it.
The average margin in gold medal games across the last four Olympics is 3.5 goals in men’s competition and 1.5 goals in women’s competition. Reuters/Laszlo Balogh

What makes a winning water polo shot?

Three things go a long way to deciding water polo medallists.

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