Assistance from ECU lecturer helps Australian Women’s Skeleton team qualify
Monday, 01 March 2010
Australian Women’s Skeleton Team Olympic Athlete Melissa Hoar
In January, Dr Jodie Cochrane, from the School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, travelled to Europe to assist the Australian Women’s Skeleton team at three World Cup competitions held over three weeks. Two of these competitions were qualifying events for the Winter Olympic Games. The sport of Skeleton is similar to Luge but athletes go head first instead of feet first down the bobsled track on their sled, reaching speeds of around 130km/h. At the first World Cup in Königsee, Germany, Australian athletes Melissa Hoar and Emma Lincoln-Smith achieved 9th and 10th respectively. At the next race in St Moritz, Switzerland, Melissa placed 10th and Emma placed 12th. The good results at these and previous qualifying events meant that Australia was ranked 4th overall
for Women’s Skeleton and qualified two positions for the Winter Olympic Games. Emma Lincoln-Smith and Melissa Hoar were the athletes selected to represent Australia at the Olympics.
Prior to coming to Edith Cowan University in 2009, Jodie Cochrane worked at the Australian Sports Commission as a Senior Coordinator in the National Talent Identification and Development Program. As part of this position she undertook team management and sport scientist roles for the Skeleton team, travelling with the team for
around 4 months of the year during the competition season. Jodie, now lecturing at ECU, was requested to help the team this year in their aim to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games. Jodie’s role involved providing sport science and team support. This included organising collaboration filming with other countries to ensure the
team had video coverage of many corners of the tracks. She undertook capture and analysis of footage from each training session and would facilitate video review sessions with the coaches and athletes each day. These sessions enabled assessment of the athlete’s performance and identification of areas for improvement for the next training session. Skeleton athletes only get 6 runs on a track (2 runs per day over 3 days) before they compete on a track, therefore analysis of their video from training each day is imperative to their performance.
The Australian Skeleton Team recently competed at the Winter Olympics and performed very well. Emma Lincoln-Smith was in 6th position after the first day and Melissa Hoar was in 11th position. On the final day of racing Emma finished in 10th position and Melissa finished in 12th position.
This was a great opportunity for an ECU sport science staff member to work with elite athletes striving to reach their goals and Olympic dreams. Jodie even got to try Skeleton herself and found it very fast and exciting.