NRC wind tunnel made Maëlle Ricker quicker

Yesterday the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) congratulated West Vancouver’s Maëlle Ricker on her Gold medal in Boardercross. As a result of four years of testing and refining by two NRC scientists under the Top Secret Program of Own the Podium, Ricker was not only incredibly fast, but also aerodynamic.

Using NRC’s 2 x 3 metre wind tunnel, NRC researcher Dr. Guy Larose and Carleton University Ph.D. candidate Annick d’Auteuil worked with Ms. Ricker, measuring aerodynamic drag on her body. As a result, she was able to see and feel improvements resulting from even minor adjustments to her body position. More broadly, coaches were able to use the wind tunnel during training sessions with athletes and get real time feedback of the aerodynamic performance of different racing positions.

To prepare for Vancouver 2010, Canada’s Top Secret Program put scientists to work on four areas crucial to improving athletic performance in winter sports – snow friction, ice friction, aerodynamics and human performance.

NRC scientists were able to work with a large number of Olympic hopefuls, including Ricker, in eleven different winter sports in order to give them the confidence and certainty of being backed by top-quality research.

Hat Tip to Rizwan Kheraj.