## mathematics in sport

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?

Today the men's table tennis teams will be battling for gold. Table tennis first became an Olympic sport in 1988, but changed its scoring system in 2001 to make matches more exciting for spectators. But how do the old and new scoring systems compare in terms of favouring skill versus luck?

It's the very last medal day for track cycling! If you've been watching, you might have noticed the steep banks of the elegant wooden cycling track. And you may have been impressed by the sweeping curved roof and beautiful cedar clad exterior of the Velodrome, the first of the 2012 London Olympic venues to be completed.

Today's a great day for badminton with gold medals being awarded in the men's singles and doubles. This got us thinking about shuttlecocks. They are not like balls at all and this means that they don't behave like balls either. John D. Barrow, mathematician, cosmologist and prolific popular science writer, explains.

A new mathematical analysis of how to hit a winning serve shows that spin is the thing. Perhaps there's still time for Murray's coach to include some maths in his preparations for the match today...