"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?"
Professional golf and baseball have both resisted the urge to use new tech. Aluminum bats would make MLB hitting records obsolete in 1 season, as would new tech in supersized drivers and the like for golf.
If the IOC wanted to level the playing field, they could institute standards like MLB and PGA have. In fact, if I remember correctly, they did do this with the swimming suits used in '08 in Beijing.
Just draw the line at some point and say "This is OK, this is not" and let the world catch up.
Or make everyone use the same equipment...
Here's your jockstrap, I'll need it back for the 1:30 game.
Sorry I know what you meant, but couldn't resist a little fun.
"Here's your jockstrap..."
It was a little simpler than that.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37 /Stamp_of_Greece._1896_Olympic_Games._2l.jpg [wikimedia.org]
It wasn't until the Victorian era that they even wore clothes--it was an unnecessary hindrance (at least in the armpit-wrestling category).
... except I'd randomize to two conditions (with tech, without tech). Then we could measure the impact of science.
Even then, the rich and resourceful countries will have an advantage over the one's that are starving for the basic necessities. What about nutrition and training programs that the rich can afford, but poor cannot?
This works only in the sports where there isn't a huge sporting goods industry attached, at least from a sponsor's point of view. Snowboarding and skiing are for the masses, so improvements in technology can and will be marketed, because everyone wants to have what Lindsey Vonn or Marcel Hirscher run on. That's not so much the case in say biathlon or ski jumping. Nevertheless, equipment is only one part of the equation, medical support, training regimes and facilities are others. So even if the equipment playing field would be levelled, rich countries or rich sports federations will always have an advantage, especially when it comes to youth programs, spotting and nurturing young talent. I would argue that this is the case in baseball and golf too.
Professional golf and baseball have both resisted the urge to use new tech.
Golf tech, while it has some strict limits, such as a maximum CoR for clubheads, is way beyond what it was not very many years ago. Players now hit the ball *much* farther and straighter than they used to be able to, and control the spin and trajectory in ways players never would have imagined.