Tag: Olympics

Guest Post: A History of Indoor Sports at the Olympics

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When you think of the Olympics, you probably imagine Usain Bolt sprinting towards another world record or Yelena Isinbayeva pole vaulting over the crowd. These outdoor sports have somehow become synonymous with the Olympics, probably because we don’t get to see them every time we switch to any sports channel. However, indoor sports are continuing to build a huge audience since the first time they were introduced at the competition. Some very well-known, some not so popular, indoor sports are slowly taking the center stage at the biggest sporting event in the world. Actually, eight out of ten most exciting and popular sports to watch at the Games today are indoor sports! So, let’s get a bit more familiar with the history of the indoor sports at the Olympic Games.

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Guest Post: A Brief History of Medicine at the Olympics

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Today, most of the attention at the Olympics is aimed at doping, so it’s very easy to overlook all other medical interventions that happen during the most important sporting event in the world. However, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, diet experts and all other medical staff play a huge role in keeping athletes healthy, safe and happy. So, as thanks to all the work they do, here’s a brief history of medicine at the Olympics.

The History of the Olympic Barbell

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A friend of mine recently made a very serious and from my perspective funny discovery. Having spent months training in a University gym replete with shiny new barbells, he decided to join me in my own gym for a catch up and quick training session. Ever the opportunist, he decided it was ‘Chest Day’ and first up was the Bench Press.

Engaging in some light hearted, at least he thought it was light hearted, joking we began loading up the plates. As his outbursts began to reach a crescendo, I made my way to the water fountain for some peace of mind. Hearing a squeal I turned around to see my friend pinned under the bar at a weight he assured me was ‘nothing.’ Thankfully his pride was the only thing injured and next time round he had me spotting him. The result? Still nothing.

The History of the Olympic Barbell

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 13.41.28.png

A friend of mine recently made a very serious and from my perspective funny discovery. Having spent months training in a University gym replete with shiny new barbells, he decided to join me in my own gym for a catch up and quick training session. Ever the opportunist, he decided it was ‘Chest Day’ and first up was the Bench Press.

Engaging in some light hearted, at least he thought it was light hearted, joking we began loading up the plates. As his outbursts began to reach a crescendo, I made my way to the water fountain for some peace of mind. Hearing a squeal I turned around to see my friend pinned under the bar at a weight he assured me was ‘nothing.’ Thankfully his pride was the only thing injured and next time round he had me spotting him. The result? Still nothing.

Friends to Enemies: Steroids and the United States

drugs

Note: This article is about the legal history of Anabolic Steroids in the United States and not an endorsement or discussion about steroids and performance.

There is perhaps no other topic in sports that garners as emotional a reaction than the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs by professional athletes. For some the ends justify the means, whilst for others, the use of any ergogenic (something that aids performance) goes against fair play.

I suspect that much of this debate is fuelled by the fact that anabolic steroids are an illegal substance in the United States, which is oftentimes the mecca of sports. With that in mind, today’s post looks at the history of steroids in the United States, specifically their first uses and when they became a banned substance.

Louis Abele Training Programme

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Although unknown to the modern olympic lifter, Abele was one of America’s finest lifters during the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately he was overshadowed by fellow US lifters John Grimek, Steve Stanko, and John Davis during the course of his career. Similarly the outbreak of the Second World War denied Abele the chance to lift at the 1940 Olympic Games, a time when he would have been in his prime.

Nevertheless, Abele’s lifting career saw him put up some rather impressive poundages as you’ll read about.

With regards to training philosophy, Abele was a strong advocate of specialisation and high intensity training. Illustrating this, Abele tells the reader that he once exercised so hard that his teeth hurt from breathing! A level of intensity unrivalled by many today.

The text itself comes from a series of letters written by Abele to Chester O. Teegarden which were published by Iron Man Industries of Alliance, Nebraska in 1948.

The Training Programmes of Louis Abele

Weightlifting at the 1904 Olympics

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It was the first time that the Olympic Games were held outside of Europe and the first time they were held in an English speaking country. It was heralded as a monumental step in the internationalisation of the Olympic spirit and it was prompted as such.

Unfortunately, the reality of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics proved to be anything but. Owing both to the Russo-Japanese War and the sheer difficulty in sending athletes to the United States from Europe, the 1904 Games were largely bereft of elite athletes. Nevertheless, perhaps owing to the determined attitude of the organisers, the Games continued regardless.

Whether this was a blessing or a curse for the sport of weightlifting is up to the reader to decide.

Today’s post examines the re-emergence of weightlifting at the 1904 Olympic Games. The sport had been part of the inaugural games in Athens in 1896 but had failed to appear at the Paris showing four years later. As a sport still in its infancy, weightlifting depended on international showings to improve its popularity. While the first international weightlifting competition was held in London in 1891, the Olympic games five years later had seen significantly more media interest in the event.

Weightlifting in many ways needed genuine Olympic interest to attract more to the sport.

The History of Weightlifting Shoes

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This work is largely a retelling of Andrew Charniga Jr.’s excellent post ‘Why Weightlifting Shoes’ available on his website here. Any errors are of course my own and I do recommend you check out the original. 

A regular problem for gym goers concerns the right type of shoes to wear and this is especially the case when it comes to weightlifting shoes. Whether you bodybuild, Olympic lift or crossfit, chances are you own, or have at least considered owning, a pair of weightlifting shoes. These days, weightlifting shoes are becoming something of a fashion accessory for the avid gym goer, a way of colourfully distinguishing oneself in the weightroom and adding a couple more pounds to their squats.

But where did these bizarre shoes with high heels come from? How have they evolved over the past century and what do we know about their history? In today’s blogpost, we’re going to discuss one of the relatively unexplored elements of the weightroom. Having previously examined the history of foam rollers and swiss balls on this site, it seems only fair to look at footwear.

Friends to Enemies: Steroids and the United States

drugs

Note: This article is about the legal history of Anabolic Steroids in the United States and not an endorsement or discussion about steroids and performance.

There is perhaps no other topic in sports that garners as emotional a reaction than the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs by professional athletes. For some the ends justify the means, whilst for others, the use of any ergogenic (something that aids performance) goes against fair play.

I suspect that much of this debate is fuelled by the fact that anabolic steroids are an illegal substance in the United States, which is oftentimes the mecca of sports. With that in mind, today’s post looks at the history of steroids in the United States, specifically their first uses and when they became a banned substance.