Ancient Olympic Superstars and the Remarkable Skills They Could Teach Today’s Athletes

Authors: Raymond Stefani

Corresponding Author:
Raymond Stefani
25032 Via Del Rio
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Dr. Raymond Stefani is a professor emeritus of the California State University, Long Beach with over 160 publications covering individual sports, team sports and sports history

Ancient Olympic Superstars and the Remarkable Skills They Could Teach Today’s Athletes


A data base of Ancient Olympic events was exhaustively researched by the Perseus Project and combined into one table by Wikipedia, containing nearly 900 results. The Wikipedia table was sorted to obtain the distribution of events and to identify the most successful Olympians of Ancient Greece. From 776 BC through 277 AD, just 30 events were contested, eight of which were offered only once. An average of only 3.5 events were contested in each Olympics. Of the five sports, track and field (called athletics internationally) comprised 49% of all contested events with the 200 m stadion sprint, comprising 30% of all contested events. Competition was so highly focused that winning once was very difficult and winning repeatedly was remarkable. From the sorted winners, 12 superstars of antiquity are chosen for discussion. These superstars include the most unlikely winner in that men’s Olympics, a woman, Kyniska of Sparta, who became a double winner by owning and training the horses that won two chariot races. Leonides of Rhodes won all three of the major running events four times successively, for 12 individual wins, not exceeded until 2016 by Michael Phelps. Herodoros of Megara won the trumpeter’s competition nine consecutive times. Two wrestlers won the boy’s event followed later by five successive wins in the open competition. The emperor Nero of Rome won six times, showing venerability by acting and playing the lyre in public. The pentathlete Phayllos of Kroton outfitted and commanded a battleship at the 480 BC Battle of Salamis, helping Greece defeat Persia. One of the few recorded measurements of Ancient Greece, his long jump of 55 feet has been nearly duplicated by five successive standing long jumps, each employing a re-invented strategy for jumping with weights in each hand. The remarkable skills of those 12 may serve as inspirations for today’s athletes.

2019-12-24T10:05:42-06:00January 17th, 2020|Research, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Ancient Olympic Superstars and the Remarkable Skills They Could Teach Today’s Athletes

The Role of Organized Youth Sports in Reducing Trends in Childhood Obesity

Authors: Alysia Cohen, Heidi Wegis, Darren Dutto, Viktor Bovbjerg

Corresponding Author:
Alysia Cohen, PhD, ATC, CSCS
1435 Village Drive
Ogden, UT 84408

Alysia Cohen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Athletic Training at Weber State University.

The Role of Organized Youth Sports in Reducing Trends in Childhood Obesity


Purpose: To examine physical activity (PA) levels of children playing youth sports and the relationship of recommended levels of PA to contextual factors of the organized youth sports environment that may boost fitness and health during childhood and adolescence.  Methods: Accelerometer-measured PA was obtained from 167 children (85 male, 82 female) aged 7-13 years. Sport contextual factors were recorded via direct observation of 29 coaches. PA levels were examined by age, gender, and between group variability. Direct observation intervals were analyzed by category using the Chi-square statistic for degree of association to moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA).  Results: On average children spent 21.9 ±7.9 minutes in MVPA during sport practices (< 50% of practice time).  Proportion of practice time MVPA was lower among females (28.7 ± 7.2%) than males (35.0 ± 9.1%). Proportion of practice time MVPA was higher among children (male and female) aged 7-9 years (32.6 ± 1.4%) compared to children aged 10-13 years (30.66 ±1.25%). Longer practice times were not shown to increase the proportion of time spent in MVPA. The most frequently observed sport activities were sports drills (51.6%), activities involving all players (37.8%), management/general instruction (52.3%), and proximal positioning of the coach (99.5%). Management and general instruction coaching behavior was not significantly associated with MVPA but did consume a prominent proportion of practice time. Health-related fitness activities made up 1.7% of practice time.  Conclusions: In comparison with recommendations, youth sports appear active, however, a large portion of practice time is sedentary suggesting room for improvement.  Including fun non-specific or specific sport activities that promote participation from all players and increase heart rate. Fun play experiences during sport practices may encourage greater in active play within and outside of sport with behaviors persisting into adolescence and adulthood.  Applications in Sport: Training coaches to teach fun sport activities that engage all players would improve within practice active time and enjoyable experiences that may promote future participation in sport or activity outside of sport.

2019-12-12T15:48:17-06:00December 27th, 2019|Research, Sports Health & Fitness|Comments Off on The Role of Organized Youth Sports in Reducing Trends in Childhood Obesity

Weight Discrimination among Students from a Diverse Urban University

Authors: Guillermo Escalante1, Rafael Alamilla1, Eric Vogelsang2, Christopher Gentry1, Jason Ng1

1Department of Kinesiology, California State University, San Bernardino, USA; 2Department of Sociology, California State University, San Bernardino, USA

Corresponding Author:
Guillermo Escalante, DSc, MBA, ATC, CSCS, CISSN
California State University- San Bernardino, Department of Kinesiology
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
(909) 537-7236

Weight Discrimination among Students from a Diverse Urban University


Purpose: To examine the association between university students’ weight discrimination and their academic discipline, gender, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, explicit overweight bias, personal body perceptions, and their personal experiences with weight loss. Methods: Sixty-two students (Age: 23.9 ± 4.7 y) from various disciplines completed 1) a 41-question survey that addressed the participant’s explicit overweight bias, prior struggles with body weight, and body perceptions; 2) the Weight-Implicit Association Test (WIAT) to address overweight implicit bias; and 3) measurement of height, weight, and body fat. Chi-Square tests were performed between the participant’s WIAT results and academic discipline, BMI, body fat, explicit bias, personal experience with their body fat, and body perception. Moreover, differences in BMI and body fat percentage were examined with two separate 2 (gender) × 2 (academic discipline) repeated measures ANOVAs. Results: ANOVA results revealed a relationship between an explicit bias and WIAT implicit bias. No relationships were found between the results of the WIAT and academic discipline, BMI classification, body fat classification, personal experience with body fat, or perceptions of their body. Conclusions: An implicit anti-fat bias exists regardless of academic discipline, percent body fat, BMI, explicit anti-fat bias, prior struggles with body fat, or perceptions of their body. These findings support previous literature that suggests individuals have an unconscious negative prejudgment of overweight people. Applications in Sport: Current physical educators, healthcare professionals, fitness professionals, sport coaches, and university faculty preparing students for these professions must begin to take the steps necessary to eliminate weight bias from their environments. The authors recommend that all members of the aforementioned communities develop an understanding of the factors that may lead to weight gain and develop strategies of encouraging overweight individuals to reduce their weight without further perpetuating weight stigma.   

2019-12-12T14:21:11-06:00December 20th, 2019|Research, Sports Health & Fitness|Comments Off on Weight Discrimination among Students from a Diverse Urban University

Ability for tennis specific variables and agility for determining the Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR)

Authors: Jennifer A. Kurtz* (1), Jake Grazer (2), Bradley Alban (3), Mike Martino (4)

Corresponding Author:
Jennifer A. Kurtz, MS
120 Coventry Court
Fayetteville, GA 30215

Jennifer Kurtz is a doctoral student at The University of Georgia studying exercise physiology. She is also an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Elite Performance Institute.

Jake Grazer is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Georgia College & State University.

Bradley Alban is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Georgia College & State University.

Mike Martino is an Professor of Exercise Science at Georgia College & State University.

Ability for tennis specific variables and agility for determining the Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR): A Review and Recommendations


Our purpose was to investigate tennis specific measures to predict a player’s Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR) value and to see what percentage of the variables most influence the ranking. Methods: 15 male and 14 female athletes volunteered to participate in this study. Each volunteer performed no more than 16 total serves or eight from the add and deuce side down the “T”, no more than 16 total forehands and backhands down-the-line, three spider tests, and two trials of footwork taps in 30 seconds. Only the top two hits were analyzed. Results: A multiple linear regression was calculated predicting a player’s UTR based on serve, forehand, backhand, agility, and footwork taps. The regression equation was significant (F (5,23) = 29.66, p<.05) with an R squared value of 0.866. Coefficient of variation (CV) and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated to assess reliability between player serve (r=0.902), forehand (r=0.843) and backhand velocity (r=0.858), agility (r=-0.817), and footwork (r=0.472). More noticeable was the significant predictive value of serve (r=0.902) and backhand velocity (r=0.858) to the player’s UTR. Conclusion: These results underline the important relationship between the player’s UTR and tennis-specific characteristics (serve and backhand velocity) as assessed by the player’s stroke velocity. The ability of training regimens to improve tennis-specific metrics would improve performance qualities and the player’s UTR.

2019-12-04T14:27:14-06:00November 29th, 2019|Research, Sports Health & Fitness|Comments Off on Ability for tennis specific variables and agility for determining the Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR)

Concussions in Cheerleaders Reported from a Countywide Concussion Injury Surveillance System

Authors: Luis Gude, MD, Gillian Hotz, PHD

Corresponding Author:
Gillian Hotz Ph.D
Lois Pope LIFE Center – 1-40, (R-48)
1095 NW 14th Terrace, Miami, Florida 33136

Gillian A. Hotz, PhD is a research professor at the University of  Miami, Miller School of

Medicine and a nationally recognized behavioral neuroscientist and expert in pediatric and adult neurotrauma, concussion management, and neurorehabilitation. Dr. Hotz is the director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center, WalkSafe, BikeSafe, and SkateSafe programs, and has been co-director of the Miller School of Medicine’s Concussion Program since 1995. She continues to assess and treat many athletes from Miami-Dade County public and private high schools, the University of Miami, and from other colleges and the community.

Concussions in Cheerleaders Reported from a Countywide Concussion Injury Surveillance System


The purpose of this study was to advocate for the acceptance of cheerleading as a sport so that its athletes are eligible for the same resources available to other sports, such as concussion education programs and injury surveillance systems. The subjects of this study were cheerleaders from Miami Dade County public high schools who sustained a sports related concussion (SRC) from August 2015 to June 2019, identified from the Miami Concussion Model Concussion Injury Surveillance System. The database is compiled from reports submitted by certified athletic trainers after a suspected concussion, from post-injury ImPACT tests, and from patients who present to the University of Miami Sports Concussion Clinic for evaluation. A total of 29 cheerleaders were identified. The 2018-19 academic year accounted for 45% of reported concussions, representing a large increase in number compared to previous years. This was observed after increased emphasis was placed on certified athletic trainers to report SRC in cheerleaders. On average cheerleaders with SRC were withheld from sport for 26.2 days, and 38% had prolonged recovery of >28 days. Cheerleaders perform complex athletic maneuvers that put them at risk of injury, particularly SRC. If considered a sport, cheerleading would be afforded the same benefits as other sports, including resources for better facilities, mandatory concussion education, ATC availability, baseline neurocognitive testing, and inclusion in injury surveillance systems. Increased knowledge of the long-term sequelae of concussions and repetitive head injuries has led to the development of concussion education programs and injury surveillance systems to protect athletes from these types of injuries. Although competitive cheerleading has been recognized as a sport, cheerleading as a whole has not, putting its athletes at risk as its participants are not included in these safety programs. 

2019-10-29T08:27:26-05:00November 15th, 2019|Research, Sports Medicine|Comments Off on Concussions in Cheerleaders Reported from a Countywide Concussion Injury Surveillance System