Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to win at moguls

I thought I had blogged this video some while ago, but I can't find it now: no matter how you move its body about, a chicken keep its head in the same location:

Pick up a child and see how well he can hold his head still while you move his body back and forth. Humans just can't do this. I don't know what's going on in a chicken brain that causes neck muscles to move in exact compensation for the head's movement, but we don't have it.

Except for moguls skiers. Watch this video of Hannah Kearney winning gold in the moguls last night and compare the up-down motion of her skis to how level her head and shoulders remain.

It looks like her upper body is passive, but it takes an incredible amount of physical activity in the hips and knees to counteract the motion of the feet and ankles so consistently. If all that motion and energy were transferred directly to the upper body, it would be impossible to maintain balance.

So now you know what it takes to be a world champion moguls skier: a daredevil spirit, a hydraulic spine, and chicken DNA.

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