Athletics’ global governing body on Sunday released 38 in-depth reports as part of the largest biomechanical study in the sport’s history after measuring and analysing data from last year’s World Championships in London.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, used 49 high-speed cameras to record specific events from the track and field program in London. Results of the project were released at their Coaches Conference in Tampere. Biomechanical research has been an integral part of the IAAF’s activities since they conducted their first study at the 1987 World Championships in Rome.
“The reports over the three decades show how far technology and technics have come over 30 years and give a rare insight into the evolution of biomechanical data in our sport over this time,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.
“Biomechanics enable athletes and coaches to perfect performances, tweak technique and more importantly understand, manage and mitigate injury.”
As part of its latest study, the IAAF recorded data from 76 individual events, filming over 730 athletes with 49 high-speed and high-definition cameras.
Leeds Beckett University spent six and a half thousand hours in planning, data collection and data analysis resulting in the 38 individual reports.
According to the study, the 4x100m men’s relay showed that the difference between gold and silver was the same difference between the time the athletes spent in the changeover zone.
Britain’s men’s team spent the least total time in the changeover — 0.05 seconds less than the U.S. team — which was the eventual winning margin.
The longest measured stride during speed development in the women’s 100m final was recorded by Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers at 2.3 metres.
Data captured on 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana shows a difference up of up to 20cm between the length of her strides from right to left. The study concluded that eliminating this asymmetry could enable her to go faster and also avoid injury.
“We are working on some innovative ideas around graphics for our next World Championships in Doha, using biomechanical data to bring our fans closer to the action and our athletes. These are exciting times for our sport,” Coe added.