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Olympic physics: the science behind the sports

The same laws of physics apply to every Olympic athlete. Those who reach the podium have found the perfect equation for their sport.

Silhouettes of people playing sports on an equations background

So much is different about the 2021 Olympics compared to previous Summer Games, but the fundamental principles underlying the sports are unchanging. 

Force, momentum, gravity, torque, hydrodynamics, aerodynamics — the same rules of physics apply to all athletes, regardless of the countries they represent. Those who reach the podium push the limits of what the human body can do within this universal rulebook. 

Download our free “Physics of Olympic Sports” poster, and feel free to share the images below. 


Man aiming bow and arrow at a bullseye

Aerial shot of a diver, arms spread wide, on the edge of a diving board about to jump

Gymnast in the air, tucked tight, doing a twisted flip

Man using a pole to flip his body over a bar high up

Woman playing tennis and about to swing for the ball

man crotched down in the starting position of sprinting

Team of rowers on a long skinny boat rowing together

Two cyclists biking on an indoor track

Man on a surf board riding in the middle of a wave

Skateboarder resting the end of their skateboard on the tip of the ramp





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