SCIENCE
07/30/2012 03:49 pm ET | Updated Aug 06, 2013

Olympic Diving: Biomechanics Of The Perfect Dive (VIDEO)

By Carin Bondar
Now that the 2012 Olympic Games are underway in London, England it’s quite likely that most of us are guilty of watching a little more TV than we normally would. Among my favorite sports to watch are swimming, gymnastics and diving. Being a former dancer I suppose that the quality of the movement is what appeals to me the most about those latter; however, in a sport like diving there is so much more to think about than merely being graceful and strong. In order to complete a number of twists and somersaults in the air, athletes must have a clear understanding of rotational force, torque, and of course gravity! In springboard diving you’ve got the added element of the upward force from the board – and don’t forget a little outward velocity to make sure you don’t smack yourself on the board on your way down.

That’s a lot of physics!

The team at USC Dornsife have produced a short video about the biomechanics and physics of diving. It’s a great primer for gaining a greater appreciation of the many elements of science that go into just a few short seconds of an athlete’s career. Well worth a watch!

CONVERSATIONS