The science behind skeleton gold

British Olympian Amy Williams cruised to victory in skeleton, thanks in part to advanced, controversial and even top secret sports technology.

We take you behind the scenes this month with our timely Vancouver Games Blog, an insider perspective on sport medicine and science headlines, talking points, statistical data and emerging trends.

The United States lodged a formal complaint, unsuccessfully about Amy’s aerodynamic helmet but according a web article at bleacher report that helmet made up just 1/4 of the “science” that helped secure the  top of the podium:

The Sprint —Amy ran 45m in spiked shoes to reach maximum speed before diving onto her sled. Her history as a 400m sprinter gave her an edge over the other competitors.

The Sled —Named Arthur, and costing £100 000, her sled was made by scientists at BAE Systems at Southampton University. It is made from carbon fibre with a high-grade steel chassis and is custom-fit to her body shape allowing her to reach speeds of 90mph.

The Suit —With the same aerodynamic properties of those used in the British cycling team, the materials used in Amy’s suit are kept secret to prevent rivals stealing the design

The Helmet —The back of the helmet, a source of much controversy, has ridges built in for optimum aerodynamics.

Read more on Amy Williams, and her sled “Arthur” here.

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