Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The science behind the Olympics

Dr. Sarah Konrad talks with NBC Producer Kaleb Medders

When it comes to the Olympics, images of star athletes, fierce competition and epic wins come to mind, but what about science? While it may be the last thing most people think about, science is deeply embedded in the Games. It explains how the half-pipe works, how an ice skate skims across the ice and why some snow conditions are faster than others
 As the 2014 Olympic winter games in Sochi, Russia draw near, NBC is gearing up to not only talk about the athletes, but also to explore the science behind the Games. On Tuesday, August 27, an NBC film crew visited Laramie, Wyoming to talk with Olympian Sarah Konrad, Wyoming EPSCoR’s Associate Project Director. Konrad competed in Biathlon and Cross-Country skiing in the 2006 Turin, Italy and is currently the chair of the US Olympic Committee’s Athletic Advisory Council. Athletics, however, isn’t Konrad’s only area of expertise. She is also a scientist, with a doctorate in geology and a specialization in glaciology. Her knowledge of glaciology helps her understand the snow conditions and what to expect when she begins a race.
NBC interviewed Konrad about her experience in the Olympics and racing, but also about snow, how it is formed, what factors influence it and how artificial snow is made. This interview will be part of an NBC Learn series about the Olympics and science, which will be available online to the public before the Olympics begin. More science videos can be found on the NBC Learn website

By Kali S. McCrackin
Photo by Kali S. McCrackin

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