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Changing Tracks: The Battle Between Natural and Scientific Training in Swedish Cross-Country Skiing, 1948-1972
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2914-4476
2014 (English)In: Idrott, historia & samhälle, ISSN 0280-2775Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Until the 1950s, Swedish cross-country skiers relied on natural training. But in the wake of failure at the 1952 Winter Olympics, the Swedish Ski Federation initiated a scientification of training. They sought aid from physiologists to “rationalize” the training of elite skiers. But the advocates of natural training resisted this new, scientific model. A battle was fought between the two sides, and a number of different power strategies were used by the federation and the physiologists to promote scientific training. In this article, the battle between different training regimes is analyzed using theories of power and sportification.

The article concludes that the shift towards rational training during the period 1948-1972 was part of a larger rationalization of Swedish society. And the relative slowness of implementation was due to a lack of professionalization (of coaches). Rationalization should therefore be seen as one of the later stages of sportification. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Svenska idrottshistoriska föreningen , 2014.
Keyword [en]
scientification, training, cross-country skiing, power, rationalization
National Category
History
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156852OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-156852DiVA: diva2:768201
Projects
Rationell träning: Vetenskapliggörandet av träning för längdskidåkning
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports
Note

QC 20150114

Available from: 2014-12-03 Created: 2014-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Scientizing performance in endurance sports: The emergence of ‘rational training’ in cross-country skiing, 1930-1980
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Scientizing performance in endurance sports: The emergence of ‘rational training’ in cross-country skiing, 1930-1980
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Vetenskapliggörandet av prestation inom konditionsidrott : Framväxten av 'rationell träning' för längdskidåkning, 1930-1980
Abstract [en]

Elite athletes of today use specialized, scientific training methods and the increasing role of science in sports is undeniable. Scientific methods and equipment has even found its way into the practice of everyday exercisers, a testament to the impact of sport science. From the experiential, personal training regimes of the first half of the 20th century to the scientific training theories of the 1970s, the ideas about training and the athletic body shifted.

The rationalization process started in endurance sports in the 1940s. It was part of a struggle between two models of training; natural training and rational training. Physiologists wanted to rid training of individual and local variations and create a universal model of rational, scientific training. The rationalization of training and training landscapes is here understood as an aspect of sportification, a theory commonly used to describe similar developments in sports where increasing regimentation, specialization and rationalization are among the main criteria. This dissertation adds the concept of technologies of sportification to explain the role that micro-technologies and practices (such as training logs, training camps and scientific tests) have in the scientization of training.

This thesis thus sets out to analyze the role that science has played in training during the 20th century. It is a history about the rationalization of training, but also about larger issues regarding the role of personal, experiential knowledge and scientific knowledge. The main conclusions are that the process of scientization never managed to rid training of components from natural, experiential training, and that the effort by Swedish physiologists to introduce rational training was part of the larger rationalization movement at the time. In the end, training knowledge was a co-production between practitioners and theoreticians, skiers and scientists.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 65 p.
Series
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2072
Keyword
History, environmental history, history of science, history of technology, landscape studies, cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing, endurance physiology, sport history, sportification, scientization, sport physiology, sport science, Sweden
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-195830 (URN)978-91-7729-205-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-09, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Rationell träning: vetenskapliggörandet äv träning för längdskidåkning
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in SportsMistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchSwedish Environmental Protection Agency
Note

QC 20161114

Available from: 2016-11-14 Created: 2016-11-10 Last updated: 2016-11-15Bibliographically approved

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