Short thought on sport: Introducing The Science of Sport Podcast

03 Jun 2019 Posted by

About 6 weeks ago, we launched The Science of Sport Podcast, and today’s short thought is just a push towards that and a brief overview of what we are about.

“We” is Mike Finch and me. Mike is a journalist, editor of the SA Runners World and Bicycling magazines for as long as I’ve known him, and a guy who just loves the world of sport, especially endurance sport. For the last two years, every time we’ve been out, we’ve said “We really need to do a podcast”, and so here we are, 2019, and finally making it happen.

The beauty of a podcast is obviously the dynamic options that conversation affords. I’ve wanted to do one for ages because I think it might be a more effective way of translating sports science for the public, and making the sports news more relevant and engaging. And Mike is the perfect foil, because he knows what the issues are and which questions really matter.

So we’ve had great fun with the four episodes out so far, and I just wanted to give those a ‘bump’ with this post today, and talk about what else is coming soon.


The Podcast so far – episodes

  1. The Pilot – Introduction to the podcast, and ourselves, what kind of topics we’d be tackling in the coming months
  2. Caster Semenya: Explaining Sex and Gender in Sport – this was a podcast we did a week BEFORE the CAS decision came out, because we wanted to cover the basics of the issue so that the decision would make more sense. So it’s a lesson in DSDs, testosterone and the performance differences between men and women, and what was at stake in the CAS verdict
  3. The Caster Semenya Decision Explained – once the decision came out, we spent 90 minutes discussing it. There’s some repetition, of course, but that’s the important stuff, so hopefully you’ll forgive that. We dissect the key issues around the decision and anticipate what might happen next.
  4. Running Shoe Technology: Good Science or Good Marketing? – for a change of theme, we addressed the science (and frequent lack thereof) in the running shoe world. We talk pronation, cushioning, injury prevention and the ideal way to choose the best shoe

Our fifth episode is imminent – tomorrow – and is a really candid interview with Dominque Scott, South Africa’s Olympic 10,000m runner. She kindly gave us her time back in April, and we spoke about training theories, physiology, altitude the US College system, sacrifice, mindset, guilt, ambitions, dreams, and a whole lot of other stuff I’d like to think you don’t hear often from elite athletes. So look out for that next.

All links above are iTunes, where you can find us as “The Real Science of Sport”, and we are also on Spotify, and Overcast

As for the future, we are recording one on doping this week, and then will tackle some really fascinating topics related to Talent ID and sporting performance development in coming weeks. That leads up to an interview with David Epstein, whose new book, “Range”, has just come out, so we’ll talk to him about that and more.

I wish we could do one a week, but we are both stretched with our other work – I just got back from two weeks in Dublin and London, for instance, and he’s traveling to all kinds of events too, so the plan is fortnightly, and we hope you enjoy it and will share them widely!

Ross (and Mike!)

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