PURPOSE: Explore the impact of the start-push phase's time on elite athletes' final performance in four world-class skeleton tracks competitions.
METHODS: The data (N = 2,045) of the starting time and final finishing time of top-20 athletes during the compositions of four world-class skeleton tracks between 2008 and 2020 were downloaded from the official website of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation, including United States-Lake Placid (LA), Switzerland-St. Moritz (ST), Germany-Altenberg (AL), Canada-Whistler (WH). 80% of the data were randomly (by yr.) drawn to develop a prediction model using the linear regression while the rest 20% were used to cross-validate the model using the correlated t-test.
RESULTS: The average start-push time (s) by track was 4.71 ± 0.1003 (WH), 5.23 ± 0.180 (AL), 5.06 ± 0.134 (LA), and 5.04 ± 0.180 (ST), respectively. Comparing with the overall prediction model (R2 = 0.139; t = 3.558, p = .00; Effect size [ES] = 0.237), the model by track (Al, R2 = 0.411, t = 5.167, p = .00, ES = 0.594; WH: R2 = 0.169, t = 5.167, p = .00; ES = 1.905; ST, R2 = 0.136, t = 5.033, p = .00; ES = 0.782; LA, R2 = 0.297. t = 3.063, p = .003; ES = 0.259) had a better prediction result.
CONCLUSION: The start-pushing stage was an important portion in the Skeleton's competition and explained the variance of the final finishing time from about 13 to 40%. There seems a track variability and corresponding impact in terms of the start-push time and the training of elite Skeleton athletes should plan accordingly.