KINEMATIC COMPARISON OF THE BEST AND WORST THROWS OF THE TOP MEN’S DISCUS PERFORMERS AT THE 1996 ATLANTA OLYMPIC GAMES

  • Alfred Finch
  • Gideon Ariel
  • Ann Penny
Keywords: kinematics, discus, performance

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Kinematic comparisons were made of the best and worst discus throws by the top four male performers at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. METHODS: The discus throws of the qualifying and final rounds were filmed by three video cameras at distances from 50 to 80m. One camera was situated at the back of the circle, camera 2 was to the side, and camera 3 was positioned at 45 degrees to the left-front of the circle. Dimensions of the circle and anatomical locations served as 9 calibration points used in the DLT conversion of 21 data points to real coordinates which were smoothed at 10 Hz with a digital lowpass filter. Kinematic variables of the discus throwing technique were calculated for each performer’s best and worst throws. RESULTS: The medalist throws were 69.4 m (OR) by Riedel, 66.6, 65.8, and 65.4 m for Dubrovshchik, Kaptyukh, and Washington. The performers’ poorest throws were 6.3, 6.9, 2.0, and 4.1 m shorter, respectively. 1. The resultant release velocities calculated for the best (worst) throws were 3118 (3008), 2725 (3343), 2567 (2269), and 2500 (2440) cm/s for Riedel, Dubrovshchik, Kaptyukh, and Washington, respectively. 2. The projection angles for best (worst) throws were 32.4 (30.2), 30.0 (36.4), 35.4 (30.8) and 29.9 (59.9) degrees for Riedel, Dubrovshchik, Kaptyukh, and Washington. 3. The horizontal velocity due to body torsion showed that Riedel and Washington used less twisting action in their poor throws and Dubrovshchik used substantially more torsion. 4. The changes between trials in the horizontal velocities due to arm action were – 4.5%, +.9%, -10%, and –43.3% for Riedel, Dubrovshchik, Kaptyukh, and Washington, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: An examination of selected kinematic variables of discus throwing techniques showed that poor throwing trials by the top performers at the 1996 Olympic Games were caused by improper projection angles, faulty plant foot blocking action, and poor transfer of velocities from the torso to the arm and then the discus.