:: Neal Henderson Heading to 2012 Summer Olympics in London
Neal Henderson, Director of Sport Science at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, is heading to the 2012 Summer Olympics. He will be coaching athletes and teams in five events at the upcoming games in London.
Henderson's ability to apply advanced analytic technologies to improving cycling performance has earned him top honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and a ticket to the London games.
Henderson’s main job at the Olympics is assistant coach of the U.S. women’s track cycling team that is a medal hopeful in the team pursuit event, a 3 km race on a covered indoor track called a velodrome. Each team has three riders who race together to achieve the fastest overall time. There will be three rounds of competition at the Olympics August 3-4.
In addition to the women’s pursuit team, Henderson is the personal coach for two American cyclists – Boulder native Taylor Phinney, who will be competing in both the men’s cycling road race and the individual time trial, and Boulder resident Evelyn Stevens on the women’s road-race team – along with Czech Republic road cyclist Roman Kreuziger and Flora Duffy, who is competing for Bermuda in the women’s triathlon. Henderson has traveled to Europe to test and train Kreuziger, while he works with Duffy in Boulder, where she is a student at the University of Colorado.
Henderson has worked with the women’s pursuit team since 2009, primarily in Los Angeles, the site of the only indoor cycling track in the United States that matches Olympic specifications. Henderson integrated high-tech measuring systems that tracked and analyzed every second of each cyclist’s ride around the track, enabling him to pinpoint areas for improvement.
His team has steadily progressed and took the silver medal at the 2011 World Championships held in Holland, making them a contender for Olympic gold in London.
According to Henderson, elite cycling has become so competitive that the difference between first place and fourth can be less than 0.5% in overall time. That means athletes need to take advantage of every available technology that can provide an improvement. Henderson’s research-driven coaching provided his team with three important benefits –
• He carefully evaluated how each athlete’s body physiologically responds to the stresses of competition and designed training programs that enhanced their strengths and helped compensate for weaknesses.
• He tested and retested the position of each rider on her bike, methodically reducing aerodynamic drag by adjusting everything from helmets to arm positions.
• He painstakingly evaluated multiple equipment combinations – from wheels and tires to helmet styles – to identify the optimal combination of equipment to use on the specific track at the Olympics.
Going to the London games is the latest acknowledgment of Henderson’s expertise. The USOC recently awarded him the prestigious national Doc Counsilman Science Award, which is given annually to a coach who utilizes scientific techniques and equipment as an integral part of his coaching methods. He was recognized by USA Cycling, the national governing body for that sport, as National Coach of the Year in 2009 and as the Developmental Coach of the Year in 2007.
BCSM's Olympic Media Day Friday, July 13
BCSM is hosting an Olympic Media Day on Friday, July 13th from 2-5pm. Neal and two of his athletes will be available for interviews at that time. If you are interested in attending, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . This event is media only.
See Neal at the Boulder Cycling Loung Thursday, July 12
You can also see Neal this week at the Boulder Cycling Lounge this Thursday evening, July 12, at 6pm. E
njoy the Tour de France, get excited for the US Pro Cycling Challenge, and learn about the Women\'s Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge. There will be great wine, apps from Blackbelly Catering, chocolate, Boom frozen yogurt, and live music. Mingle with some of Boulders current pro cyclists and past icons and get some training tips from Neal Henderson, coach of Taylor Phinney and Evelyn Stevens! USAProBoulder.com