Last night I watched a 9.63 100 meter race. I saw the top 4 break 9.9. How many years ago did they first break 10 seconds in the 100? Wonder what the 100 YARD time was? These are bittersweet numbers though. Gymnasts who won this olympics have been practicing since they were 7 or 8 years old or less and as they age the damage they did to their young bones will haunt them. Many olympic champion figure skaters are crippled, or nearly so, when they reach their late 30's because of damage caused by practicing triple jumps in their early teens. Hopefully computer assisted analysis will help train future young athletes so the price of being a champion isn't a lifetime of pain.
Great point, Bob. Adherence to more rigid training programs and the effective use of technology, simulation in particular, to learn and analyze movements has definitely contributed to the record-setting contributions of today's athletes. Hope you are enjoying this phenomenon at work at the London Olympics.
CFD analysis of swimsuit drag is one small aspect of computer assisted analysis of athlete performance. Runners movements are analysed in 1/1000 second intervals to determine the most efficient moment to apply motivating force. The same for gymnasts, swimmers, rowers, divers, all aspects of track and field. Initally the country that developes the programs will benefit most, but as the technology becomes more available, all countries will use it. Athletes today are performing at a level deemed impossible ten years ago. I really don't think we are physically or genetically superior to humans of ten or twenty years past; but we are significantly better trained and that training enhancement has come largely from improved computer assisted analysis of all aspects of human performance. Just imagine the records that will fall next year!
Unfortunately, the weights in horse racing aren't equal. They're handicaps to make the race more unpredictable/exciting:
'In a handicap horse race, varying amounts of weight are added to the horse saddles. This is an attempt to even out the competition, in case some horses are clearly more dominant than others. It makes the outcome more difficult to predict, which means the track makes more money.
As this excellent article by Laura Hillenbrand notes, Seabiscuit often raced in handicaps with an absurdly heavy load of 130 pounds. An extra weight of two to three pounds is usually enough to slow a horse by a length." (http://ask.yahoo.com/20030814.html)
Also, with all of the talk about the ancient Olympians competing naked, it's interesting to note the athletes did not like this feature. It was all men, and married women were not allowed to view the competition. Unmarried women, however, were encouraged to attend. Many young men were allowed to wear a leather thong.
The reason for the birthday suits is the same reason at the base of this discussion -- an attempt to make the competition fair.
That's funny, Rob, but so true. I have to cast a vote with the camp that clothing or equipment will continued to be designed to give player's an edge--it's just human nature and the pace of technology. Seems to be fair within reason, that is.
I think that it is ridiculous that runners and divers wear less clothing than swimmers. I believe that athletic wear should be just enough to keep the person decent no more. Clothes in no way should be used to enhance performance. If they allow clothes to be used in such way then why prohibit drugs. The idea is to give equal chance to all that participate not just those that can afford expensive performance enhancing equipment. The original Olympians were naked.
Now, if they can only invent a suit that eliminates sag, pouch, and wrinkles, I will be their first customer!
Actually, I think all is fair in love and sports outfits. The prize should go to the one who uses physics and engineering to their advantage. Why have to live with what has gone on before, or they would be riding those silly big-wheel bicycles in the Olympics.
If a countries are going to keep going broke sponsoring these things, they might as well have a few world's records under their belts!
I think that the swimmers should be naked. That makes it clearly the athletes performance and not some technical advantage. Back when the Greeks started this competition, all the athletes were naked. I wish we were more enlightened about these matters but ...........
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