Attitude

The Olympic Edge Comes Down to Brain Power

The difference between Olympic glory and almost Olympic glory depends, in many cases, on the operating speed of an athlete’s brain. This news from Johns Hopkins University, where researchers at the university’s Mind/Brain Institute have studied decision making by first rate athletes. A Johns Hopkins news release quotes¬†Christopher Fetsch, an assistant professor of neuroscience:¬†“What sets elite athletes apart from us is not necessarily their bodies, their strength, or their agility,” Fetsch says. “What really sets apart the gold medalists from just the also-rans is the quickness and flexibility with which their brains are converting input from their senses into commands to move their muscles. These rapid-fire decisions that a skier has to make going down the slope will determine whether that extra hundredth of a second is gained.”

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