UPDATE: Will the high altitude mean fewer gold medals? – They’ve almost over and the participants are probably exhausted. What does it take to be an Olympic athlete, besides skill? There’s a mind set involved that most of us just don’t have (as well as some GENES that most of us don’t have). And the altitude plays a big part too (Keep reading for UPDATE).

UPDATE: The high altitude of Vancouver could prevent any records being set in events like speed skating, since most skaters train in sea level vicinities and will have trouble breathing in the less dense air higher up. LiveScience.com quotes trainer Robert Chapman as saying, “In an endurance sport such as cross country skiing or biathlon, for competition at altitude it takes about 10-14 days to adjust. For a skill sport, it’s harder to judge how long it will take to acclimate to the reduced air density at altitude. Hopefully, these athletes have incorporated this into their training, maybe in the last year or for a period of time, not just the two weeks leading up to competition.”

Sports psychologist Shane Murphy says, “The Olympics come with the greatest pressure. Nothing else matches it for gut-wrenching anxiety, not the Super Bowl, not the World Series, not Wimbledon or the Masters. You often see athletes perform much better at their second Olympics, once they have had a chance to experience the pressure and learn how to handle it.

“Athletes need to be in that ‘zone’ whenever they are performing. It’s interesting that our research has shown that anyone in a very stressful or demanding occupation or role has to learn those same skills to stay in the zone: successful surgeons, great musicians, ballet dancers, emergency responders such as firemen. It’s a combination of years of practice to develop the skills to perform at a high level, plus the laser-like focus on the job at hand. What’s fascinating is that we find that athletes often don’t need to be perfect to succeed. Being in the ‘zone’ is about staying in the moment, not worrying about failure, and not worrying about what the result might be.”

Those of us who are bored by the winter games are looking forward to the summer Olympics, what most of us think about is running, and a new study shows that endurance athletes have different genes that short distance runners. Researcher Nir Eynon says, “Some of us are truly born to run.” But you can’t train in bare feet and compete in running shows, since they way we run in shoes is completely different.

This makes barefoot runners less likely to get certain types of injuries. Runners who have trained barefoot strike the ground with their forefoot or mid-foot, rather than their heel, while athletes wearing running shoes land heel first. In BBC News, Victoria Gill quotes researcher Daniel Lieberman as saying, “This creates an impact; it’s like someone hitting your heel with a hammer with up to three times your body weight. Those collision forces have been implicated, by several studies, in certain kinds of repetitive stress injuries. Shoes work because they cushion much of that force, slowing it down, mostly.”

We don’t know a lot about sports, but when it comes to this website’s favorite subject, we’ve picked up plenty of information. If you’re hungry for more, Anne Strieber (who has read thousands of letters from contactees) has figure out WHO the Grays are, WHAT they are doing here and WHY and she explains it just for our subscribers. To access this information, enter the Subscriber section, click on the Audio Section then click on Special Interviews and scroll down until you see Special Interviews Archive, then click on that. The entire archive will open and you can scroll or do a browser search for the programming you are looking for.

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