This summer anyone with the slightest interest in sport will be focussed on the Beijing Olympics from August 8th – 24th.
But will our attention be on the athletes who have given a large part of their lives over to their sport in the quest for golden glory? Will it be on the performance enhancing substance cheats who try to push the boundaries of fair play beyond those accepted by the authorities? Or will the technological advances that focus everyone’s attention.
For instance, the current 100m record is held by Asafa Powell at 9.74 seconds set in 2007, compare that with the second fastest time of 9.79 seconds set in 1999 by Maurice Greene and third fastest of 9.84 seconds set by Donovan Bailey in 1996.
That’s a 0.1 second improvement over a 10 year period. Is evolution really making man that much faster over a 100m distance or is it partly down to technological advances?
In 1960 the record was set at 10 seconds, technology has come a long way since then but the record has dropped comparably little in the same time.
Technology has not only helped with improvement in sports clothing and equipment design but it has helped in the way that athletes train and the way the trainers understand the human body.
The understanding of science and the human body has helped coaches and athletes to approach and break records. Top athletes will now not only have a top class trainer working with them but will also have the knowledge base of top scientists from such fields as physiology, psychology, nutrition and biomechanics all helping to improve times. These are all things that the athletes or the 1960’s and 70’s had to do without.
Athletes are also better paid today than there predecessors. Professional athletics [http://www.nike-trainers.com] as a career is a relatively new conception rather the days gone by of the amateur spirit.
So where does this leave the modern day athlete in comparison with athletes of the past? Training methods [http://www.nike-trainers.com] and facilities are better as are standards, equipment is lighter and more advanced but still only fractions of a second is being shaved from times.
Maybe as a race we have found our peak? Have we reached our optimum performance level. If this is the case then the work of equipment manufacturers is even more important than ever.
If you asked two athletes of comparable levels to run a 400m race on the track, one with a standard pair of sports trainers on and the other with running spikes on, who would win? I think we know the answer to this. Running spikes offer more grip and are lighter in weight to standard trainers, helping the athlete to a better time.
Track and field events such as javelin, discus, shot put, long jump, high jump, pole vault, middle and long distance running and sprinting all utilise different footwear which is the result of years and years of research.
But where will all the advances in technology end? Will we see anti gravity spikes for sprinters? Long-jump trainers with micro springs for added bounce or trainers with added spin for discus.
Only time will tell. Lets hope it’s an Olympics to remember for all of the right reasons.