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Blog Ambassadors Race to the Finish

Throughout the year we'll hear from eight bloggers as they share about their family's time in the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience and how it inspires them to explore these sports back at home. 

This post was written by Children's Museum Blog Ambassadors Katie and Luis Ruvalcaba. Follow their posts on the blog or follow them @ruvalcademy on Instagram and Facebook.  

Nothing brings out innovation like competition. One of the surest ways we can see knowledge retained here at the Ruvalcademy is by making a bet. From who can get the most state capital flash cards to “what happens if…” science experiments, most of the best memories we have come from a time when we made a wager on the outcome. This idea is nothing new. In 1872 a man named Leland Stanford made a bet that changed the future of sports. 

Mr. Stanford (as in Stanford University, Alma Mater of Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck) made a bet with some of his friends—did a horse ever have all four hooves off the ground at once during a horse race?  Mr. Stanford believed that a horse DID have all four hooves in the air while running, while the prevailing wisdom at the time was that a horse always had one hoof on the ground. Because the horse's legs moved so quickly when they ran, this was not something they could tell just by looking. Instead, Mr. Stanford commissioned a photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, to settle the matter.  

At that point in history, cameras took a very long time to take a picture and it required that the subjects stay very still.  This was not going to work for Mr. Stanford’s bet. Not wanting to lose the $25,000 offered to him to settle the dispute, Mr. Muybridge worked day and night on a solution. In 1878, he solved the problem! Mr. Muybridge invented a shutter that was fast enough to take many pictures in quick succession. This invention lead to the very first movable image. That’s right! If you love watching movies with your family, you have none other than Eadweard Muybridge to thank!  

Thanks to this bet between friends, the concept of the photo finish was born. Sports journalists, which, until then, had been able to only show still images of teams after an event, were now able to take shots of players in action! This would snowball over the years to create such awesome innovations as instant replay, side line reviews, and Sports Center! Is your favorite part of sports the commentary? You can check out the Newsroom Studio in the NCAA Sports Legends Training Facility inside The World of Sport exhibit to test out your on-camera skills!  

But what was the outcome of Mr. Stanfords bet? Did a horse ever have all four hooves off the ground? Well, you can review the film yourself and see! 

Here at the Ruvalcademy, we were curious—if a horse has all four of his hooves up at once, do humans ever have both of their feet up when running also? Only one way to find out. And thankfully, since it's 2018, we didn’t have to wait six years for the technology to catch up! We laced up our sneakers and took to the street with an iPhone camera! 

We did both a fast and a slow run, and both times we observed exactly what Mr. Stanford thought—humans ALSO have both feet off the ground when running! Do you suppose it's the same with walking? Have you ever paid close attention to what your feet are doing while you’re strolling along? If you’d like to test this out on your own, head over to the sports experience and try a run or a walk along the SerVaas Fitness Path or the Marmon Run-Walk Experience. Bring your camera and make your own wager!

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Categories: Blog Ambassadors, Exhibits
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