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Olympic Games: Why do athletes run counterclockwise?

Running counterclockwisewas not always the case

The Tokyo Olympics are over. But do you know why in a stadium, athletes run counterclockwise? Solenne Le Hen explains to us that this is not due to chance.

Running counterclockwise, we also say running «  counterclockwise «  , this was not always the case. In the very first Olympics, from 1896 to 1912,  athletes just ran the other way, clockwise. And they complained because in the corners they felt bad sensations. As a result, the organizers have changed and since then this sense of racing has even been included in the regulations of the International Athletics Federation.

In fact, for everyone, including professional athletes, if we have to do a loop, we will naturally run counterclockwise. Moreover, the newspaper Le Progrès noted it in Lyon. At the Parc de la Tête d’Or, says the daily, « on this running highway of nearly 4 km, the pack turns like in a roundabout in the direction of the needles of a clock.  » A matter of instinct. therefore and the journalists even counted the runners. Only one in 30 runs the other way. 

The brain at the origin of this displacement by turning naturally to the left

A Japanese scientist, Hideaki Fukami , understood that athletes feel more comfortable with the rope on their left for neurological reasons, because of the right hemisphere of the brain, the one that controls the perception of space and at the same time that controls the opposite part, the left half of our body. Thus the perception of our body would be better by turning to the left.

Moreover, explains this researcher, 80% of the criminals of the prefecture of Hyogo, in Japan, when they flee, flee towards the left. This is justified on a sporting level. Experiments were carried out with top athletes, asking them to run 400 meters turning to the left, and 400 meters turning to the right. Counterclockwise, they run faster: two seconds less on average. 

Source : Franceinfo

Par Jules Bercy

A writer a blogger passionate about science, history politics, the general knowledge of our planet and the Universe...

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