Crowd support in Delhi


As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)


There were some media stories early on about the lack of crowd support at the Commonwealth Games. I think that was a bit overblown — anyone who’s ever been to the weekday morning qualifying session of a major championship meet knows the crowds can be pretty sparse. I mean, people have jobs! Admittedly, the crowds for the cycling road races today (Sunday) were almost non-existent, because the security perimeter made it virtually impossible to get anywhere near the course! Even with accreditation, it took me ages to get anywhere the start-finish area.

For a true measure of Indian sports crowds, though, I went to the India-Pakistan field hockey match tonight. It was fantastic! Great energy, a friendly guy beside me explained some of the history behind the rivalry, and only a few giant bugs attacked me. Here’s some grainy cell-phone footage that gives some idea of the energy in the stadium: