Science of winning gold
Friday, 11 May 2012
Categories: Olympics - Olympics
Aussie recovery centre may give the edge
AUSTRALIAN athletes are set to reap the benefits of a bigger and better recovery centre for the London Olympics, with hopes it can bridge the all-important gap between silver and gold or making the podium at all.
The AIS has set up a recovery hub at the past two Olympics, but will boast its biggest and best-equipped centre for the London Games.
It will be divided into dry and wet areas: dry for massage and rehabilitation rooms and wet for warm water recovery and the dreaded ice baths.
For the first time, athletes will also have access there to a psychologist, whose key focuses will be on relaxation, well-being and stress management.
AIS recovery head Shona Halson said experience proved recovery - both physical and psychological - was an integral part of performing well at a Games.
"We've done quite a bit of research that's shown that, specifically with hydrotherapy, you can get around a one to four per cent improvement in performance," she told reporters at Canberra's AIS recovery centre.
"So while that doesn't seem much to the average person, if you ask an athlete if they'd like an improvement of one per cent, that's often the difference between making a final and not making a final."
At the 2004 Athens Games, the centre was small but, by Beijing, had increased in size and facilities, with up to 70 athletes visiting each day.
In London, the recovery centre will be housed at the John F Kennedy School, traditionally a school for disabled children, but taken over by Australians for the the Olympics from July 27 to August 12.
It's only minutes from the athletes' village - unlike in Beijing where the centre was a 30-minute drive away - boosting expectations of attendance.
"This one will definitely be the largest, it will have the most staff, it will be without doubt the closest to the village," Dr Halson said.
"We think most of the athletes will come and visit us."
Sprinter Brendan Cole said he'd be rushing to make a booking.
"It's just going to make our job a whole lot easier and our recovery a lot better and ultimately our performance a lot better too," he said.
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