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CNN Today

Olympic Athletes Benefit From High-Tech Training

Aired September 14, 2000 - 1:29 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Olympic athletes train for years but, while most of the sports are traditional, some of the training is not.

Here's CNN science correspondent Ann Kellan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN KELLAN, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine the advantages of swimming in place.

Almost every angle of a swimmer's stroke is scrutinized in this state-of-the-art flume at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a mouthpiece. This goes around the head.

KELLAN: This tube attaches to a computer, which tracks how efficiently a swimmer uses oxygen and how tired he gets. His heart rate is watched as well as his stroke.

Also at the training center, these speed skaters aren't jumping for joy -- they're already preparing for the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City.

In a sport that consists of both short sprints and long endurance races, these short-track skaters are learning, among other things, the distance that best suits them.

If you can jump high, you tend to have more of what's called fast-twitch muscles, which means you're likely to be a better sprinter. Low jumpers have more slow-twitch muscles, better for endurance races. Knowing this helps determine how individuals should train.

(GUNSHOT)

At the training center's shooting range, where the bullseye, 33 feet away, looks like a black blob, lasers and cameras help athletes and coaches zero-in on the target and fine-tune the shooter's aim.

TIM CONRAD, ENGINEER, SPORTS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: We've attached a small laser to the rifle. It's infrared, so you can't see it with the naked eye. It doesn't disturb anyone.

KELLAN: But if she breathes, the laser shakes. If she's off target, it shows how far. The coach can see, too, on a monitor.

TAMMIE FORSTER, USA NATIONAL TEAM ATHLETE: This allows the coach and the shooter to work together because, a lot of times, a shooter has a hard time describing exactly what he or she is seeing through the sights.

(GUNSHOT)

CONRAD: Her shot -- remove the dot from the target -- a good solid 10. That's what you have to do.

KELLAN: And to be a champion in this sport, you have to hit that elusive bullseye at least nine times out of 10.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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