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Sci-tech Empowers Athletes in Competitive Ablities

Source: | 2021-08-19 14:22:52| Author: Haoyuan Yu

ByYU Haoyuan

China bagged 88 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a figure higher than the results achieved at the previous Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

What enhanced the performances and advantages of the athletes who took part in this epic sporting spectacle is the work done behind the scenes, specifically in the use of sports technology and team support, and a range of hi-tech training equipment and methods helped athletes achieve awe-inspiring results.

Team China produced the best diving performance in Olympic history, coming away with seven gold and five silver medals from eight events at the Tokyo Games.

As a challenging and high-speed sport, diving involves jumping from a high springboard and falling in an elegant movement into the water.  Every dive takes about two-seconds, requiring athletes and coaches to precisely analyze and adjust the movement. Based on this requirement, a "3D+AI" diving training system was developed to analyze a diver's movements during training.

The "3D+AI" diving training system engineer captures athletes' continuous movements in a three-dimensional space and reveals the details hidden in a movement through various data analyses. 

With the help of the "3D+AI" technology, coaches can provide targeted guidance on the relevant quantitative indicators of athletes, to help them prepare before competitions.

Traditional video recording and other approaches fail to capture the quantitative movement information of the athletes, especially the small changes such as the rotation between joints. With the help of aerospace inertial technology, the analyzing problem can be easily solved.

In December 2019, the General Administration of Sports of China cooperated withthe 9th Institute of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, to use advanced space technology to develop precision measurement equipment to help swimmers strength improvement through scientific trainingto achieve superior performances.

The equipment contains inertial navigation, positioning, and speed measurement, video acquisition, and a data comprehensive analysis system that can separately realize the functions of capturing postures, measuring positions and speed, recording video, analyzing data integration and 3D model driving. It can figure out the law of resistance of different stances of athletes at typical swimming speed, which provides the scientific basis for the coaching team to determine the training plan and improves the streamlining of the athletes body and optimizestechnical movements.

Aerospace technology also assisted the success rate for Chinese teams in boat racing. According to the 11th Institute of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, another space technology called "wind tunnel" was adopted to improve boat racing performance.

Since 2019, the research team has successfully developed a set of three-dimensional force measurement platforms based on the wind tunnel test requirements of a four-person rowing team. The wind tunnel test has studied the aerodynamic forces of athletes in different motions such as catching, driving, exiting, and returning. The influence of different formation combinations of four athletes on aerodynamic resistance provides a scientific reference for athletes' competitions.

With the support of the Wind Tunnel system, on July 31, 2021, Chinese athlete Lu Yunxiu won the gold medal in the Women's RS:X in Tokyo, becoming only the second Chinese sportswoman to be the Olympic champion in this competition.

Previously, "wind tunnel" targeted training to improve athletes' performance has been widely adopted in Britain, Germany, the United States, Canada and other countries.

For Su Bingtian, advanced digital technology support changed his training approach and brought him great success.

Rather than traditional analyzing approaches, it is more convenient to adopt digital technologies to conduct monitoring and training processes. The hi-tech instruments and equipment monitored athletes' physical fitness, recovery and other aspects. It also discovers problems, and gaps, and formulates personalized training programs to make up for shortcomings to improve an athletes competence in a holistic way. According to Su, there are as many as 19 instruments that assist running athletes in scientific training.

Under the scientific guidance of Su's American coach, Randy Huntington,Su adjusted his starting foot, which helped him set a new Asian record of 9.83 seconds in the men's 100 m semifinal,becoming the first Asian to reach the final of the event at the Olympics.


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