The Science of Sport: How to Win Gold
With the 2012 Olympic Games taking place in London, we had an exciting opportunity to cultivate young people's interest in sport and the physiology behind athletes' performance. Sport hence provided the focal point for the biggest school competition run by The Physiological Society to date, The Science of Sport: How to Win Gold, which encouraged young people to conduct their own research into sports physiology and communicate their work with professional scientists.
In this competition, A-level (or equivalent) students were invited to direct their own sports physiology research project, work with their friends and gain invaluable experience for the next step in their career. They were also provided with access to scientific mentors to support the development of their projects.
After completing 15 hours of initial research, students were required to submit a report summarising their progress, which was reviewed by a panel of judges. Shortlisted students were then invited to conduct a further 15 hours of research and then present their project as a poster at The Society's scientific meeting, The Biomedical Basis of Elite Performance, in London on 20 March 2012. Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes were awarded to the best projects presented on the day.
The winners of The Science of Sport: How to Win Gold competition: Sophie Sibley (Bronze), Danny Foster (Silver), Harriet O'Connor (Silver) and Team Three Directions (Gold) [from left to right].
Gold prize went to Three Directions, a team of four students (Eve Doran, Lauren Frost, Kymberly Gormer and Mitzi Munuo), at Northgate High School in Suffolk for their project, 'The effect of video imagery on sports performance.' They were mentored by Professor Sam Marcora from the University of Kent.
Silver prize was awarded jointly to Danny Foster at Moulton College in Northamptonshire for his project, 'The effects of sodium citrate on repeated sprint ability,' and to Harriet O'Connor at Ringwood School in Hampshire for her project, 'Bone marrow blood injections in the treatment of tennis and golfers' elbow.'
Bronze prize went to Sophie Sibley at South Wilts Grammar School in Wiltshire for her project, 'The effect of milk and chocolate milk on blood glucose after exercise.'
An additional prize was also given to a team that narrowly missed out on one of the above prizes but who the judges felt deserved to receive some recognition for their work. This 'Highly Commended' prize was awarded to Mustard Madness, a team of four students (Siobhan Armstrong, Miriam Paddon, Yasmin Picton and Antonia Ramirez) also at Northgate High School, for their project, 'The effects of mustard on muscle mass.'
The Society congratulates all the winners, and extends its thanks to Dr Valerie Gladwell of the University of Essex, for her invaluable contribution to the development and success of this competition, as well as the judges and mentors who offered their time and expertise.