When you think of Olympic athletes training to compete, you probably don't imagine them in front of a chalkboard trying to understand things like angular momentum (that's how objects — or people — spin).
But believe it or not, understanding some basic physics can provide a new level of appreciation for how exactly Olympic athletes are able to do what they do. Harnessing the power of physics has also helped Olympians (and their coaches) figure out how to maximize their strength, speed, and motion.
Check out the physics behind these 16 Olympic sports, including some of the ways athletes apply what we know about physics to help them on their quest for gold.
In archery, the feathers on the arrow cause something called fletching — air resistance, or drag, that prevents air turbulence from pushing the arrow off course.
The feathered cone on a badminton shuttlecock also produces a drag which keeps it stable and on course. The drag is so strong that badminton players have to swing a little harder to hit the shuttlecock across the court.
You may have noticed that when basketball players jump, they seem to be floating for a moment. That's because whenever you jump, you spend more than twice as much time in the top half of the jump than in the bottom half.