Magazine article ASEE Prism

Faster, Higher, Stronger

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Faster, Higher, Stronger

Article excerpt

Olympic champions make the impossible look possible. But engineering often provides their winning edge. Consider the half-pipe on which legendary snowboardBr Shaun White (photo, above) has twice clinched gold medals for his gravity-defying aerobatics, including his 2010 signature Double McTwist 1260, flipping twice while rotating 3.5 times. For the games this month in Sochi, Russia, engineers have constructed a 557-foot-long monster with a 65-foot radius and 22-foot walls - nearly twice as high as the half-pipe at snowboarding's Olympic debut in 1998. As a video by the National Science Foundation and NBC Learn explains, the increased width and height allow athletes to accelerate faster and stay airborne longer without increasing the forces on their bodies. White, who is featured in the video, plans to unveil a new trick at Sochi: Nailing a frontside double cork 1440 in the qualifiers secured his berth at Sochi. …

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