Now reading: The Physics of the Olympics
Menu
Close
Close

Welcome Inside the Perimeter! Learn more about our new site.

The Physics of the Olympics

“Faster, higher, stronger.” The Olympic motto also expresses some of the underlying physics of the Games: velocity, kinetic energy, force.

All Olympic athletes – whether slicing through a pool, hurling a discus, or dismounting the parallel bars – must contend with the universal physical laws governing nature.

Jumpers battle gravity, swimmers push through viscosity, throwers harness aerodynamics, lifters struggle with mass.

Here’s a look at some of the physics concepts at play during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and how scientific know-how contributes to medal-winning performances.

01Archery

02Diver

03Gymnast

04Jumper

05MagnusEffect

06Sprinter

07Rowers

08Javelin

10Weightlifters

11Runner

12Discus

13Trampoline

14Cyclist

15Rugby

09Bohr

Watch a Perimeter Institute public lecture by Dr. Vilhelm Bohr about his remarkable ancestors.

Related

Just don’t blink!

/Apr 30, 2014

In celebration of the International Year of Light, Perimeter Institute presents 20 fascinating factoids about photons.

/Jan 28, 2015

Get your fill of pi (videos) to celebrate Pi Day, including great short videos from Hank Green, James Grime, Veritasium and Physics Girl, Matt Parker, and (of course) Perimeter Institute.

/Mar 14, 2017