Research press release


Scientific Reports

Sport science: Olympic swimming podium places may be decided by time of day

オリンピックの水泳競技の時間帯が、選手の競技成績に影響を及ぼし、金、銀、銅の差を生む可能性のあることを報告する論文が、Scientific Reports に掲載される。


今回、Renske Lokらは、アテネ(2004年)、北京(2008年)、ロンドン(2012年)とリオデジャネイロ(2016年)で開催されたオリンピックの水泳競技で決勝に進出した選手(144人)の競技時間と成績に関するデータを分析した。その結果、競技の時間帯が、成績に有意な影響を与えたことが判明した。最速タイムは、午後遅く(午後5時頃)に記録され、午前8時に実施された競技での記録を0.32%(数秒に相当する)上回った。この時間帯効果は、全レースの40%で第1位と第2位のタイム差を超えており、全レースの64%で第2位と第3位のタイム差を超えていた。これが決勝であれば、金、銀、銅メダル、4位以下という違いを生み出す可能性があるのだ。


The time of day that an Olympic swimming race takes place may affect athletes’ performance and could mean the difference between gold, silver and bronze, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

Countries selected to host the Olympics may adjust race times to accommodate broadcast across continents, requiring athletes to compete at different, sometimes unusual, times throughout the day. However, the potential impact of race start times on performance has not been widely studied.

Renske Lok and colleagues analysed data on the race times and results of 144 Olympic swim finalists collected during the Games in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016). The authors found that physical performance was significantly affected by time of day. The fastest swim times were recorded in the late afternoon, around 5pm, and found to be a 0.32% improvement relative to races scheduled for 8am — a difference of several seconds. The time-of-day effect exceeded the difference in swim times between first and second place in 40% of the races and second or third place in 64% of the races; in finals, this may mean the difference between getting gold, silver or bronze medal, or no medal at all.

The findings suggest that despite elaborate training schedules ranging from morning to evening hours, the time of day a race is scheduled may still affect athletes’ performance. Athletes may consider adjusting their internal body clock to better match their peak performance for events with unusual start times, suggest the authors.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-72573-8


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