WASHINGTON - The Olympics are finally full swing after weeks of anticipation. But with so many overlapping events, it can be hard to pick which ones will be the most exciting to watch.
Thankfully, a British physicist has put together a formula to predict the events most likely to set a world record and provide the most entertainment, reports Popular Science.
First, Steve Haake created the performance improvement index, or PII, which looks at the top performances of the top 25 athletes in each competition going back to 1891. The index determines how much work, or energy, is needed to compete in those events.
Haake then compares different years to see what kinds of increases or decreases have occurred among top performances. He then takes those numbers and compares them to determine when athletes peak and plateau.
This formula works best in sports measured by time or distance, not those that use judges. Also, you can't compare different sports.
"We can compare like with like across sports, whether its swimming or javelin," Haake tells Popular Science. "Using PII, things are more intuitive, they make more sense."
Using the formula, men's and women's sprinting events are likely to be nail biters this summer. Haake predicts the races will be close and could end in record shattering performances. This will be less true with longer distances, he says.
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