# mathematics in sport

 Three steps for ensuring penalty success. In the first part of this article we let maths set the scene for a free kick. Now we continue the drama, tracing the trajectory of the ball throughout the milliseconds it takes it to reach the goal line. Free kicks will deliver much of the drama in the football world cup this summer. But how should strikers approach them and how does the design on the ball impact on its behaviour in flight? Maths can give us answers... With spring (hopefully) on its way, it looks increasingly less likely that we will be blessed with the cold, white, fluffy stuff this year. But if the winter Olympics leave you yearning for snow and ice, here are some related maths stories for you. In soccer a coin toss is used to decide who goes first in a penalty shootout and similarly in American football a coin decides who plays offence in overtime. But is this really fair? This article explores an alternative. Inspired by Sara Storey's phenomenal gold medal we calculate whether we, and our bikes, have what it takes to triumph in our newfound quest for speed! Never afraid of a challenge, before the start of the London 2012 Games we issued predictions for the total medal count for the top 20 countries. Find out how we did. Andy Murray and Laura Robson made a good team at London 2012, bringing home silver in the mixed doubles. But how do you make sure that the competing pair is the best you can pick from the team? The beautiful game has been saved for last at London 2012, with the men's gold medal match taking place on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Games. There are some important questions to ponder while we sit tight in anticipation for the final match. What's the best strategy for taking a penalty kick? When is it worth committing a professional foul? And when is a goal not a goal? Find out about all this and more with our impressive collection of football articles. It's a great day for individual dressage today with the Grand Prix freestyle test taking place in Greenwich Park. It's amazing how those horses can perform elegant and complicated movements without getting their legs in a muddle. Coming to think of it, it's amazing that they can even go through their innate gaits without getting their legs in a muddle, given that there's four of them and they are very long. And what about animals who've got even more legs?