Making the Olympic Start Line

Posted on Friday 9th November 2012

The performances at London 2012 thrilled a nation but what factors influenced those athletes development during childhood and adolescence to ensure they reached the Olympic starting line? 

On Friday 9th November an event hosted by the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences will ask how experiences during the early years can help or hinder an individual’s chances of attaining elite performance and or simply enjoying lifelong participation in physical activity.

One key area for discussion will be how our individual opportunities are influenced by family, schooling and coaching, and why this means some people never even enter the ‘race’ to make the Olympics start line. 

Dr Matt Bridge who is leading the event explains: “At the London Olympic Games we saw world leading performances from athletes from around the globe. Behind each leading athlete were support systems that applied the very latest scientific knowledge to elite sporting achievement. 

However what we don’t often consider is how these athletes got there. What things influenced their development during childhood and adolescence? We know that experiences during a person’s early years can affect their chances of sporting success. In many ways these pre-adult years that are more important than the later influence of technology and training in becoming an Olympian.”

The event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science , which runs from 3-10 November 2012. This year’s ESRC Festival of Social Science has over 180 creative and exciting events aimed at encouraging businesses, charities, government agencies, and schools and college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues.

The event takes place in the School of Sport & Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham on Friday 9th November at 2pm. For directions please see http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/contact/directions/edgbaston-directions.aspx For more information please contact Dr Matt Bridge 07886386471 m.bridge@bham.ac.uk

ENDS

For further information contact Ben Hill, PR Manager, University of Birmingham, Tel 0121 4145134

Notes for editors

The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council and takes place from 3-10 November 2012. With events from some of the country's leading social scientists, the Festival celebrates the very best of British social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. This year’s Festival of Social Science has over 180 creative and exciting events across the UK to encourage businesses, charities, government agencies, schools and college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues. Press releases detailing some of the varied events and a full list of the programme are available at the Festival website. You can now follow updates from the Festival on twitter using #esrcfestival.