Press Release13 Aug 2017

Advancing athletics - London technology and data


General view of the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (© Getty Images)

The IAAF, in cooperation with a number of specialist organisations and individuals, have in the last week been gathering and analysing data, discussing and experimenting with new techniques and technologies at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Tests are ongoing during the competition to assess the viability of athletes more widely in the future wearing body cameras which would give fans a closer experience of what athletes are experiencing when they compete. Similarly, the largest ever Biomechanics Project in the sport’s history is taking place analysing performances in 17 events, helping to understand the techniques which separate the champions from the pack. The 3rd IAAF World Coaches Conference, which was held for four days earlier in the week, attracted over 600 participants including many of the world’s premier coaches, with speed, endurance, strength and brain coaching the topics addressed.

The guiding principal of all these projects is the safety and welfare of athletes. With that in mind a voluntary IAAF Medical Examination and Health Survey has been underway to gain as much information as possible from athletes to know which medical services they have been subject to, prior to the event, so as to better protect their health in the future.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe commented: “We are grateful to the world class teams and experts who have been working on some interesting projects and exciting tech developments which will help us advance the understanding of athletics. This information will help the IAAF to better protect the health of athletes, advance their coaching, the sport science associated with it and help us to better tell the story of their super human achievements to sports fans worldwide.” 

Body camera

On the field of play the IAAF has been trialling body cameras on some athletes who have volunteered to support this experiment. The object is to show fans athletics performance through the eyes of the athlete. The micro sized camera mounted in a vest doesn’t affect sporting performance thanks to its ergonomics. Worn underneath the athlete’s uniform, the lens peers out of a precise opening, adapting to any uniform.

Check out some of the test video captured in London.

Biomechanics research project

Leeds Beckett University, in cooperation with the IAAF, are carrying out the biggest biomechanics research project ever conducted in athletics during the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

The aim of the project is to support athletes and coaches in the optimisation and improvement of their training and competition performance.

Dr Athanassios Bissas, a leading researcher and international expert on issues related to biomechanics of sports performance, has been leading a team of 40 people from the Carnegie School of Sport. The team is deploying a selection of 40 cameras – comprising 25 high-speed cameras and 15 HD camcorders across 17 event disciplines in London.

Initial Data Reports have now been published from four events. Did you know?

10,000m: Despite being an arduous endurance event, the very best athletes exhibited running speeds in excess of 25 km/h in the final 100m. [Download the preliminary men's 10,000m report.]

100m: Reaction time in the final was 0.045 seconds slower than Gatlin’s, which was more than the final time difference between them (0.03 seconds). [Download the preliminary men's 100m report.]

Pole Vault: Ekaterini Stefanidi approached the box with a lower speed compared to the other medallists. This perhaps facilitated a take-off positon closer to the box and a steeper take-off angle: 27.5° compared with (14.4 – 21.3°) of the other finalists. [Download the preliminary women's pole vault report.]

Discus Throw: the total duration of the throw for both gold and silver medallists was noticeably shorter (<800ms) than their two nearest opponents. This indicates the paramount importance of the explosiveness required to perform a successful throw. [Download the preliminary discus throw report.]

Fuller data and analysis for these and another 13 events will be published later in the year.

IAAF World Coaches Conference

From Monday 7 to Thursday 10 August, the third edition of the IAAF World Coaches Conference was held.

Opened by President Coe, the conference was held over four mornings when there were no competition sessions in the stadium.  The main speakers were Loren Seagrave, Prof Dr Ulrich Hartmann, Shaun Pickering, and Neil Dallaway.

The conference also attracted coaches whose athletes had taken gold at these championships: Dale Stevenson, coach to newly crowned world shot put champion Tom Walsh of New Zealand, Rana Reider who guides world triple jump champion Christian Taylor and Mitchell Krier, who coaches Ekaterini Stefanidi the world pole vault champion.

The conference attracted a total of 623 participants across the sessions, with 136 attending the first morning focussed on ‘endurance’ disciplines, 196 taking part in the second’s day’s discussions about ‘strength’, the next day another 152 were attended to discuss ‘speed’ training and on the last day when discussion about ‘the brain as a performance-limiting factor’ 139 attended.


Pre-participation medical examination and health survey

An IAAF Medical Examination and Health Survey has been underway during the World Championships in London. So that the IAAF fully understands and contributes in the best way towards the protection of athletes’ health, in the context of a major athletics championship, it is important to know which medical services the athletes have been subject to, prior to the event.

The Survey which is being conducted by IAAF Health and Science Department in cooperation with the Athletics Research Center, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, Sweden, will also help to identify areas that may need improving. 

Participation in this research was voluntary. All personal information is being treated in the strictest confidence and will not be divulged to parties outside the research team affiliated to the IAAF, including your coaches or national team managers. Results from this study will be published according to the highest scientific standards in aggregate form so that no individual athlete be identified.

The survey is in three parts (personal information, pre-participation medical examinations and self-care, as well as views on medical procedures) and takes approximately 4-5 minutes to complete.


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