"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?"
I recall that when the "shark skin" suit was introduced in 2000 (or 2004), that they were freely made available to all competitors. I have no problem with technology of this sort, but it should be made available to everyone if possible. That being said, sometimes the sport is more than just about the athlete's body. Bobsledding comes to mind here. Teams spend a lot of time honing the design of their sled. This has become a part of the sport.
In my opinion, if the sport is a competition between my brawn and yours, then the technology benefits of one team should be shared with all, otherwise let it remain a team secret.
This is an interesting example. As I recall, we saw a lot of world records fall during the games and trials leading up to it, a common underlying factor being the increased uptake in these suits. But then they were banned. Why? I think this was an example where the tech fundamentally changed the sport, eliminating some of the naturally discriminating factors such as buoyancy and how high swimmers rode in the water. The suits were certainly available to everyone, and you could choose to use them or not, but choosing not to use them put you at a disadvantage. I'm glad the sport banned them.
Interestingly, despite high bars and world records set by athletes wearing those suits in those years, many of those records have fallen since by athletes who didn't benefit from that tech.