Technology and the Olympics

Like most of the world, I have been 100% captivated by the 2008 Olympics. There is something so amazing about the way the world comes together for this one event every for years. Most times, I don’t even care what I am watching — as I proved the other day spending two hours watching badminton — yes badminton.

Last night I was watching the men’s synchronized diving. After the dive, the announcers showed the world technology they like to call “freeze cam”. Essentially this camera breaks down the divers movements, millisecond by millisecond so viewers can pick apart every move. That got me thinking…how much has technology changed the Olympics? Below are a few “items for thought” about changing tehcnology and the world’s greatest demonstration of athletic ability.

Track & Field – Starting Blocks: Starting Blocks weren’t utilized in the Olympics until the late 1940’s. Can you imagine runners today starting from an upright position?

Swimming – Suits: This year we are seeing almost every swimmer in a full body suit. What happened to the plain and simple speedo? Technology has shown that the suits put pressure on certain parts of the body to maximize aerodynamics in the water and reduce the amount of drag the swimmer has.

Split Second Timing – Now adays, most races are won by fractions of a second. Can you imagine how hard it would be to distinguish if the winner edged out the competitor by .01 seconds all by using a watch with a 2nd hand?

Replay and Camera Technology – As I mentioned earlier in my post, the “freeze cam” and instant replay. This is one technology that can actually hurt the competitor’s score. Judges now have the ability to watch the routine or dive, etc…again and most times in slow motion. Now a judge has the ability to see an imperfection that he/she didn’t see in real time.

These are just a few examples of how technology has changed the Olympics and for that matter sports. Do you have any that come to mind?

Posted by: Lauren


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