"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?"
Why is it that Australia can field 60 winter Olympians while all of Africa is fielding 3 or 4, despite the greater latitudinal range of Africa? Why is it that non-technological sports like marathon have so many winners from poorer African countries? The Olympics have always favored richer countries, and the newer events like slopestyle will dramatically favor rich western countries.
But is this actually a problem that needs to be solved?I don't mean "should poverty be solved", I think most of us would agree that it should.But rather "should the winter olympics' selection of events be adjusted to accomodate poorer countries"?Which events could be added?
I agree that this is something that will be difficult to "solve", mainly I was pointing out that the disproportionate effect of tech on olympics is not new, and that the winter olympics are pretty lame... especially since they are a collection of events devised by rich western countries specifically for their climate or military (the biathalon for example).
If this were something we wanted to rectify, we would stop adding more and more complicated derivatives of existing events events (team skating, ice dancing?), and add more events focusing on individuals with minimal equipment. (the track and field events come to mind).
"But is this actually a problem that needs to be solved?"
AKA the old argument "we need more girls working with computers, so they can suffer like the rest of us and then get outsourced and downsized". Note that WRT "positive" occupations, nobody ever whines about the lack of male nurses or lack of male hooters restaurant waitresses, you only hear this kind of thing about TPS report authors and the like.
Money plays a big part, and so does a country's financial support for a program: the more people you have practicing one sport - think of the Dutch speed skating program - the more likely you are to find the ones who excel at that sport). There may be a third reason why countries like Ethiopia can be top contenders in a discipline like the marathon: genetics.
Africans may have bodies that are better suited for long distance running. Whites or Asians may have bodies better suited for other disciplines. None of these people are better than other races, they just happen to be better at one or two things. But you'll never hear this discussed, because liberals like to tar and feather anyone who points out genetic differences, instead of accepting these differences and admitting that they may play a role.
This reminds me of the Tarahumara [wikipedia.org] in the mountains of northern Mexico. Young and old, male and female, are all able to run ridiculous distances. I've even heard as much as 435 miles in just over 48 hours.
Saw an interesting graph in an article this evening: Medal count per GDP. In some crude sense, it puts richer and poorer countries on equal footing. Second graph in this link: http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-new-n clb-no-curler-left-behind.html [blogspot.com]