Five Things To Keep An Eye On Before The Olympics

The first events take place August 5th! The Olympics in Rio this year will undoubtedly display some of the best athletic performances on this planet. In regards to peak performance, here are five things to keep an eye on before the Olympics:

1.  Rio: The Environment.

You thought this was going to be about the Zika Virus, didn’t you? It’s not. Sailing, rowing, and open water swimming are set to participate in water that the AP recently found to have dangerously high amounts of viruses and  bacteria. CNN also found strands of a “Super bacteria” off the coast. That same coast, by the way, washed ashore dead body parts on the beaches where the beach volleyball venue will take place. There’s pollution, political unrest, construction delays, and always, always security concerns and issues.

The Zika virus is still a wildcard with many of…

2.  The Elite dropping out.

Pau Gasol has yet to commit to the games. He’s considered freezing sperm due to Zika concerns. It’s a real concern. The Zika virus and the water conditions have some of the elite athletes taking the summer off. Some athletes will be absent due to rest or recovery from injuries.

Rory McIlroy. LeBron James. Jason Day. Tejay van Garderen. Anthony Davis. Russel Westbrook. Dustin Johnson.

The list of Elites staying home grows daily.

3.   New Sports.

Two “new” sports have been added. Golf has a new Olympic format with Rugby Sevens being added as well. The two sports were chosen by the IOC execute board beating out karate, softball, baseball, roller sports, and squash . Final selection for the new 2020 Olympic sports in Tokyo will be decided by the IOC Session next month. The sports in the running: baseball and softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, and surfing.

4.  Performance Enhancing Drugs and Testing

It’s 2016. This topic will be here in 2020. And 2024. And 2040. Rinse and repeat. By the time I publish this post, PED information will already be changed/updated.

My suggestion: set up a Google alert for “PEDs Olympics” to the get latest and greatest news on the topic. Enjoy.

5.  Travel and Rest Analytics

The latest trend in professional sports has been to monitor sleep and rest to enhance recovery. This isn’t new to Olympic athletes, though. The best periodization systems are usually on display at the Olympics and rest has often been a variable in those schemes. This new wave of recovery is different and led by technology. Arianna Huffington recently gave a talk on the “Sleep Revolution” where she discusses the impact sleep can have on performance. Andre Igoudala, the Golden State Warrior’s Forward who is leading the NBA Player’s Association’s new Tech Summit, made improvements to his performance by focusing on sleep and recovery. With new tech and knowledge in the area, resting during travel and in between competitions physical has become a new variable for athletes to use to better performance. When following your favorite athletes next month, take a look at their competition schedule. Travel and recovery could play a role in the competitions next month. Most sports are now played year-round. Winning may come down to the athlete who periodizes their rest best and peaks at the right time.

About Dr. Zachary Binkley

Zachary W. Binkley, PhD is the former Assistant Professor and Program Director of Exercise and Movement Science Program. He is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Special Interest Group on Basketball.

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