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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-now-for-sports dept.

CoolHand writes:

"Sci-Tech Today talks about the role of technology in the Olympics from a unique perspective:

Every advance in the ever-accelerating juggernaut of sports technology threatens to widen the divide between Olympic haves and have-nots. Well-sponsored teams and rich governments pay top-end scientists and engineers to shape their skis, perfect their skates, tighten their suits, measure their gravitational pull.

I'm no luddite, but this seems to make these sports more about who can afford the best tech, and less about the true spirit of the games: bringing the best athletes from all countries together to compete. How can it be about the athletes, when some of the best athletes may never win due to lack of funding/tech?"

 
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by SleazyRidr on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:40PM

    by SleazyRidr (882) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:40PM (#1834)

    Well: there's two ways:

    The Formula1 way: it's an expensive sport, so if you don't want to spend the money don't play. In Formula1 there are only a few people who have a chance at winning because everyone else is in a slower car.

    The Nascar way: the restrictions are tight enough that everyone is basically driving the same car.

    Bonus LeMons way: limit of $X that you can spend on the car, in some classes there is the rule that you must sell your car to anyone with the cash if you win.

    Even in sports with no equipment, athletes from stronger programs will have had much better opportunities to train and have been able to devote more time to it. There's really no way to keep a level playing field at the highest levels.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by VLM on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:55PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:55PM (#1854)

    "Bonus LeMons way: limit of $X that you can spend on the car, in some classes there is the rule that you must sell your car to anyone with the cash if you win."

    This is, or was, how it was done in amateur sailboat racing. Do whatever the heck you want to your boat, but you must be prepared to sell your boat to any other competitor for $10K (or whatever) at any time or be DQ out of the race.

    When I was a kid helping crew a neighbors glorious ship (3 meter dingy, really) it was more like $2K but I'm sure inflation, etc. Also middle class people could and did own lakefront property back then but now that would be a $10M house so I'm sure limits are higher in amateur competitive sailing.

    The obvious solution, in a world of immigration and migration, is some sort of slave market for Olympic athletes, much like the american pro ball players drafts and the like. If you really want a Swedish skier or whatever, just buy one at a fixed price from someone who may or may not be "cheating"

    • (Score: 1) by mhajicek on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:03PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:03PM (#1911)

      According to my dad this was also the case with certain motorcycle racing classes in his day. That was also a time when a competitor would lend you a tool or give you a part you needed just out of camaraderie.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by andrew on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:44PM

        by andrew (755) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:44PM (#1995)

        I've seen (on TV) this sort of tool lending, help each other out spirit of camaraderie happen still during the 2014 Dakar Rally. Competing teams and racers stopping to help extricate stuck vehicles or assist in repairs. So those days aren't completely gone, but the Dakar Rally is kind of unique.

  • (Score: 1) by ragequit on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:15PM

    by ragequit (44) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:15PM (#1873) Journal

    I'd go with the NASCAR way, and the SPEC car races like CART/IROC. Even one more. You are issued equipment before the event (like 5 minutes before). It's supposed to be about the athlete not the gear.

    --
    The above views are fabricated for your reading pleasure.
    • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:28PM

      by dilbert (444) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:28PM (#1882)
      Ideally, this would work, but you'd leave yourself open to the accusations of the equipment being tampered with in subtle ways.
      • (Score: 1) by tftp on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:41PM

        by tftp (806) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:41PM (#1991) Homepage

        Not just that. It would be very valuable to familiarize yourself with that "standard" equipment ahead of the competition. For example, all the rifles may be the same... but you need to know that with cold barrel they shoot 1/2" lower; or if you pull on the sling with 30N this will affect the aim point by another 1/2" ... Not everyone would be allowed to learn those details; those who do learn will have a large advantage.

  • (Score: 1) by JeanCroix on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:31PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:31PM (#1886)
    There's also the dirt track way: "run what ya brung," and don't spend more on the car than you can earn by racing it.
  • (Score: 1) by mojo chan on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:34PM

    by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:34PM (#2021)

    In F1 the richer teams are obliged to help out the less well off ones. It doesn't put them on an equal footing by any means but it keeps them competitive.

    --
    const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
  • (Score: 2) by cykros on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:11AM

    by cykros (989) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:11AM (#2063)
    Even in sports with no equipment, athletes from stronger programs will have had much better opportunities to train and have been able to devote more time to it. There's really no way to keep a level playing field at the highest levels. Well, given that, it gives us a little bit of a frame for what the Olympic contests ACTUALLY are: a competition between various social structures/economies/societies testing their aptitude where it comes to producing athletes that can compete at a world scale. It would seem to follow from winning that said society is capable perhaps of doing other things better than others...or of course that they prioritize these contests over the wellbeing of their population. What it isn't, though, is quite the more ego-centered sporting event that it gets marketed as, which should be obvious given the way athletes are sponsored, either by private companies as in the US, or through government aid, either of which ALWAYS comes with strings attached.

    For those perhaps not aware of how the training and other preparation is financed, and how that tends to play out, it would probably be worth perusing Why the Olympics Are a Lot Like 'The Hunger Games' [thenation.com] by former Olympian Samantha Retrosi.