Technology - the new dirty drug on the Olympic scene.
The Olympics have begun and rather unsurprisingly everyone is talking about doping scandals, although this time it’s not illicit substances that are making the news, but the technological advantages that athletes may now have.
It all started with British cyclist Graeme Obree’s quest to make his own perfect bike, which he did. Twice. Both times he constructed a machine which gave him better positioning for speed and power and the Union Cycliste Internationale banned them. So strict are the UCI regulations that competitive bikes these days look much like they did in the 70s. Surely we’ve progressed since then?
Then, a few years ago there was a FINA (the international governing body of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water swimming) ban on the LZR costume after the 2008 Olympics. With LZR, Speedo had engineered a suit that not only trapped air to aid buoyancy but also assisted with oxygen flow to muscles. Rather too well it seems, as wearing one was deemed an unfair advantage. Banned.
Flash forward to today and there’s loads of tech covering the bodies of Olympians from all disciplines. There are swimmers who are racing lights and being sent a pulse to time strokes. Volleyball players are keeping an eye on bodily stress, jump counts and positioning with a piece of kit around their waists, and boxers now have gadgets hidden in gloves which help improve their punch timings.
So, is all of this new technology cheating? Are people who can afford the latest gear really better athletes? Well, no, obviously not, but making advancements in the tech we use is all surely part of sport. We don’t expect archers to have made their own bow and arrow out of sticks foraged in Nottingham Forest, so why wouldn’t we accept that all other sporting tech has and will progress? As long as we’re all competing on a level playing field and the tech isn’t really physically doing the work for you, I don’t see the problem. In fact, I’m excited by all of this new equipment- imagine what exciting (wo)man/machine hybrids we could create. If you can use this technology to analyse technique and improve your prowess- just imagine the sort of sporting gods that could be waiting up the road!
If making masters of their own physical destiny is your bag, give us a call on 0800 772 0800, the lines we could cross together really aren’t that far away…