Technology is the new frontier for athletes!
In the past, people relied on natural skills, good genes, training, and diet in order to improve their performance. According to David Epstein of The Sports Gene, if Jesse Owens competed in the 100 meter championships today, he would finish second, behind Usain Bolt. His race time would be half a second faster; this is simply
because of the change in starting blocks and race tracks, not an improvement in
performance. “Racetrack surfaces have had a far bigger impact on sprint records than human
improvements. Humans are not actually faster (well, one is). We just seem
faster thanks to the track.”
Technology has a long history of giving an edge with athletic equipment. There are studies regarding special contact lenses that give baseball players 20/8 eyesight which significantly improves batting averages. Football receivers’ use sticky gloves to have more control over the ball. Speed Skating ice is demineralized and sprayed on, a single mist layer at a time, this helps increase the competitors speed. Low-friction swimsuits were declared “illegal” as they made such a huge speed difference in races, however, gutters placed on the sides of the pool were deemed fair even though they made a similar difference.
The question then becomes, does this give competitors an unfair advantage?
Yes, it does! Professional sports leagues are resisting these advancements in technology, however, it creates such a large advantage, that they will be forced to follow the trend. This can prove to be a costly venture for many professional athletes. This also puts an unfair advantage on sponsored and more popular athletes. Athletes who can afford these new technologies will advance much faster, and make it nearly impossible for athletes starting out to
compete. Sure, there are some regulations to set; we don’t want athletes to become a cyborg remotely
controlled by their coach, however these advancements may:
+Make the game more entertaining, which will in turn increase their revenue
+Reduce injuries to athletes through data analysis(protect their investment)
+Increase performance during training and pinpoint small failures to be corrected
Eventually, this will become the norm for amateur and competitive athletes due to the many benefits that they offer.
Virtual partners, asynchronous gaming, or just fun new context will make exercising and training even more fun, as well as competitive.