Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Technology pushing Lolo Jones (video)
By Associated Press
The long-limbed red, green and blue stick figure on the computer screen hopped over the orange hurdle and hustled down the lane.
That brightly shaded avatar was a mirror image of hurdler Lolo Jones' movements on the track and just might go a long way in leading her to another color -- gold at the London Games.
Using computer-vision technology and 40 high-speed, motion-capture cameras, computer scientists, along with sports biomechanics and physiologists, have been studying every minute detail of Jones' form in practice as they try to figure out the fastest way to get her over the hurdles.
Jones' technique was captured on film, scrutinized on a video screen and sharpened on the track in a hush-hush program Red Bull dubbed "Project X."
The last time the energy drink company dedicated resources like this to an athlete, well, let's just say it turned out favorably for a certain redheaded snowboarder.
Before the 2010 Vancouver Games, Shaun White trained in seclusion on a halfpipe built for him in the back country of Colorado. He perfected his dazzling and dangerous Double McTwist 1260 under the cloak of secrecy, before unveiling it for the world to see, ultimately leading to an Olympic gold medal.
Soon, Jones will find out if her merger of sports and science has made her that much more technically sound when she tries to earn a spot on the U.S. team at the trials starting this week in Eugene, Ore.
And maybe, just maybe, even a medal down the road in London.