Technology and performance of Athletes

Were the athletes of the older days better than today’s?

At the Rome event last week, only in swimming out of 32 events, 20 new world records we established. Is the physical competence of the athletes that made the difference? How much of the progress may be attributed to the improvement of the equipments and technology?

On the New York Times issue of this week, I read with great interest the debate on these issues and the ban of high tech material by the various Olympics commissions.

To my opinion, the events do not in any way minimised the performance of the great Micheal Phelps who I had the great pleasure in watching at the last Olympics in Beijing. It is normal that Phelps is out performed by others.

The technology race started with full-body suits in 2000 and progressed to the polyurethane-laced suits that helped Mr. Phelps at the 2008 Olympics. This year’s models are made almost entirely of polyurethane to reduce drag; they add buoyancy, and they squeeze the body into a streamlined shape.

Paul Biedermann, the German, swam with the latest swimwear; Mr. Phelps, with last year’s model. Mr. Biedermann didn’t just beat the American in the 200-meter freestyle, he annihilated him, finishing a body length ahead and lowering the world record, set by Mr. Phelps last year, by almost a second, an eternity in pool times.


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