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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: 3, Insightful) by FrogBlast on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:56PM

    by FrogBlast (21) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:56PM (#1855)

    One problem is that we're now able to measure things almost perfectly, and record them forever. People want world records, but there's a point at which it simply isn't physically possible for a normal human body to improve on existing records. If nobody broke a single record over a fifty-year span, I think the Olympics would start to feel a little awkward. Like every other area of life, people have come to expect constant and everlasting improvement, and it's just not physically possible without some form of "cheating".

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tlezer on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:22PM

    by tlezer (708) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:22PM (#1926)

    "there's a point at which it simply isn't physically possible for a normal human body to improve on existing records"

    Maybe this is true, but we're not there yet, precisely because of technology. We are constantly seeing improved training techniques as we learn more about how the body reacts to different training based on feedback from technology and results. An additional factor affecting this is the ability for athletes to specialize. We start training younger, focusing on specific sports, with enhanced training. The records are going to continue to fall for a long time, IMHO.

  • (Score: 1) by acid andy on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:24AM

    by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:24AM (#2119) Homepage Journal

    I think you're right in so far as one person who is a genetic outlier can theoretically fluke a result that is almost impossible to beat for many decades and the scope for legitimately improving techniques becomes narrower and narrower as it's already so heavily optimized.

    But technology can help with the more and more accurate timings and measurements. If someone only has to beat the existing record by a few nanoseconds or a few micrometres then the records can theoretically still get beaten - just by smaller and smaller amounts as they get closer to those theoretical limits.

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.