A Year in Sports Science: 2014

A Year in Sports Science: 2014

2014 was a rather incredible year in Sport. A number of international competitions highlighted the value of sports science and preparation in eventual success, and anti-doping culture–and knowledge–continued to evolve. 2015 is already shaping up to be an incredible year of sciences, as waves of well-intended people continue to push the global community towards a bullshit-free human performance quest. But first, a look back on the year that was!

198 men cycled Le Tour de France, like every year, shouted left right and centre that they were clean and that this was a new era, like every year, and all evidence pointed to the contrary, like every year.

German media did an expose on systematic and federally backed Russian doping programs, and naturally everyone used this as a great opportunity to point at the big bad Russians and pretend that this kind of thing isn’t a worldwide culture within elite sport (hint:  it is!).

England won the Women’s World Cup of Rugby Union, and Great Britain–serendipitously one of the great Sports Science nations–promptly named the title-winning athletes full professionals, paying them a full salary to train and compete. This massive victory for the development of female sports caused a ripple effect within elite sport.

Le Cup de Monde (The World Cup of Football/Soccer) was hosted by Brazil, marking the first of many (way more to come) international sporting events to take place in a hot and humid climate. Given the prospective world event schedule and the recent excitement about heat training, researchers, practitioners, media, and fans alike clung to every bead of sweat with excitement. Germany, the most forward thinking national federation (DOSB & DFB) making the least fuss and the most of their Sports Science infrastructure, won convincingly.

The Commonwealth Games (kind of like the Olympics, except only for the former British Empire, so still many countries and very high competition level) took place in Glasgow, which was not particularly hot-temperated yet featured exciting competition. All eyes were on Rugby Sevens in this tune-up showcase before the sport’s 2016 Olympic debut.

In anticipation of next summer’s Rugby World Cup (Union, for Men) folks in the know spoke out about New Zealand\s superiority, giving fascinating perspectives which demonstrate how far ahead of everyone else the Kiwi’s are in several areas of human performance development and management.

The Marathon record was broken, twice, and the ‘when will the two hour record fall?’ debate kicked on.

Researchers in Sweden published a large-cohort observational study which initially sounded like it said milk was bad for you, and everybody freaked out. Thankfully, most people ended up realising that the authors strongly qualified their conclusions, the data was picked apart, and #gainful folks everywhere went back to drinking milk normally. Whew.

The “how much do hormones matter in hypertrophy and performance?” A debate raged on and perhaps approached it’s crescendo. As always, the answer appears to be It’s complicated. It depends.

Famous athletes around the world beat their wives, crashed their cars, and got publicly intoxicated. Folks finally realised maybe they shouldn’t be our role models.

The high-fat and low-carb jihadists reached their nadir, Science spoke up, and South African evangelists and CrossFit knuckleheads alike wept in disbelief.

People began to see the light on other if I shout louder than it must be true topics such as detoxing.

The importance of gut health for just about every aspect of human performance continued to be demonstrated in astoundingly broad contexts.

Overwhelming evidence continued to show protein consumption and high-intensity exercise as among the two most important things anyone can do for performance, longevity, cancer-fighting, superpower development, and more.

Want to share your experience of sport science in 2014? Sign up for our mailing list HERE, or get in touch on Twitter: @W_T_Wellness or at on Facebook at WellTraveledWellness.