It’s summer, so that means Dr. John Eric Goff, Lynchburg University’s expert on sports physics, has been making the media rounds. He recently spoke and wrote about the Tour de France and the upcoming FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, which will be held in Qatar in November.
Goff, author of “The Physics of the Gold Medal: The Science of Sports,” is frequently approached by the media during major sporting events, including the Olympics, the Tour de France and the FIFA World Cup.
He has also been interviewed about the physics of baseball, basketball, football and other sports and is a regular guest on “Playing with science,” a podcast on StarTalk Radio Network by world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
On July 20, Goff appeared on the streaming news site Cheddar in the section on the Tour de France “What the Tour de France does to the rider’s body”. Goff, one of the two scientists interviewed, appears at the beginning and end of the 12-minute video.
On July 11, the journal Breakthrough published Goff’s article, “World Cup Soccer Ball Aerodynamics: How Does the Qatar 2022 Ball Work?” In the article, Goff also involves the university and invites students to study sports science with him in Lynchburg.
In March, Sports Bible reported Goff in an article about the seemingly miraculous penalty shootout by Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Currently, Goff and his Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges summer research assistant, Michael Charecky ’24, are predicting winning times for each stage of the Tour de France. They post their predictions on Goff blog and further Facebook.
For years, Goff and his students used the laws of physics to model a 2,500-mile bicycle race. Using data on a cyclist’s power and the race’s elevation profile, they try to predict a winning time for each of the race’s 21 stages. Often their predictions are incredibly close.
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