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Advances in Athletic Training

January 27, 1984

Report Outline
Gain in Recent Years
Olympic Training Role
New Applications Used
Special Focus

Gain in Recent Years

Explosion of Knowledge and Interest

Ever since Coroebus won the first Olympic foot race in 776 B.C., athletes have been searching for ways to improve their performance. Coroebus trained by running up and down hills. Milo of Croton, a 6th century B.C. Olympic wrestling champion, is said to have lifted a calf over his head daily until the animal was fully grown. Athletic training has come a long way since the days of the ancient Greeks. In the last 10 years alone, a combination of technological advances and burgeoning interest in physical fitness has revolutionized athletic training. Athletes from around the world will show off the benefits of these new training techniques when the XIV Olympic Winter Games begin Feb. 7 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

“We're in an explosion of knowledge and there's an explosion of interest” in all aspects of sports training, said A. Garth Fisher, director of the Human Performance Research Center at Utah's Brigham Young University. Coaches and athletes from professional to junior high school levels have at their disposal an extensive array of new training methods and athletic equipment to help athletes maximize their abilities and minimize injuries. These developments also have contributed to “an upward revision of the limits of performance,” said sports analyst John Jerome, adding that they are “rising at a startling rate.”

Many of these training techniques are outgrowths of a relatively new medical discipline, sports medicine, which applies scientific knowledge to both the physical and mental aspects of athletic performance. “In most countries other than the United States when somebody talks about sports medicine they primarily are talking about sports orthopedics—orthopedic medicine dealing with sports injuries,” said William Haskell, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and current president of the American College of Sports Medicine. But in the United States, Haskell said, “much more of the group is involved in the physiology and biochemistry, kineseology and biomechanics aspects of exercise and performance. People who consider themselves involved with sports medicine generally are not the teachers out teaching physical education. They're more interested in the scientific basis or applications.”

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