Times Colonist

The scientific facts behind sports marvels

- ALEX STRACHAN

If you’re a sports fan, or even just an occasional viewer of something like the Olympics, you know the scene: A superior athlete with an enviable track record is in a seemingly unbeatable position. Stats don’t lie, and the numbers — and the athlete’s past track record — determine exactly what’s going to happen.

Only, it doesn’t work out that way. Intangible­s intrude. A change of wind direction, unwanted distractio­ns in the arena, a sudden burst of noise conspire to throw the athlete off his, or her, game, and all of a sudden you have an upset in the making.

a fascinatin­g — if occasional­ly annoying — new series that claims to show what happens “when science and sports collide,” examines the scientific fact behind sports theory.

The show uses science, and scientists, to explain how bad

Sport Science, calls, weird weather and the laws of physics can affect a high-performanc­e athlete at the top of their game. From David Beckham’s ability to bend a free kick around a defensive wall on the soccer pitch to Tiger Woods’s unerring knack for sinking the seemingly impossible putt, science has the answers. Or most of the answers, anyway. Sport Science may not make you better at what you do, whether you’re a pro athlete or weekender or just a couch potato watching from home, but it’s illuminati­ng just the same.

Originally produced for the Fox Sports Network, Sport Science, has some of the loudest, most obnoxious music and narration you’ll ever hear in a TV program, but try not to let that get on your nerves. The constant yelling on the voice-over, and the 100-decibel music, assume you’re as dumb as a rock, but the program itself is actually quite smart.

If you’re at all curious why Michael Jordan wasn’t a sure thing from the free-throw line, or why the Great One wasn’t as comfortabl­e on a breakaway as he was in open play, give Sport Science a shot. You may be surprised by what you find out.

9 p.m., Discovery Three to see:

• So You Think You Can Dance rolls the dice on an expanded, two-hour instalment featuring callbacks to Las Vegas, where would-be hoofers try everything from salsa and jive to hip-hop and krumping to impress the judges and show they have what it takes to be the answer to a future pop-culture trivia question.

8 p.m., CTV, Fox

• Adam Sandler brings the funny on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, while actor/singer Jewel tries out her vocal pipes. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Who can tell?

12:30 a.m., A-Channel, NBC

• News flash! Men in Trees’ Marin Frist (Anne Heche) has finished her book — yes, it’s true — so she treats herself to a spa vacation in nearby Anchorage. She’d better enjoy it while she can: Next week’s episode is the show’s last.

10 p.m., Citytv, ABC

 ??  ?? David Beckham: Sport Science explains how he bends it
David Beckham: Sport Science explains how he bends it

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