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The impact of technology on sporting performance in Olympic sports

To assess the effect of technology on sport, the performance statistics for four disciplines were analysed: the 100-m sprint, pole vault, javelin, and cycling. The concept of a performance improvement index was developed to allow comparison between athletes and between sports with a higher index indicating a greater improvement in the sport. The following performance improvement indices were found: 100-m sprint, 24% over 108 years; pole vault, 86% over 94 years; javelin, 95% over 76 years; 4-km individual pursuit, 35% over 32 years; one-hour cycling record, 221% over 111 years. Around 4% of the index for the sprint was attributed to tighter, aerodynamic clothing, suggesting that general athletic improvement in sprint-type events has been around 20%. Technological developments in simple equipment such as the pole vault or javelin were seen to affect the index by around 30%, while the index associated with aerodynamic improvements in the one-hour record was around 100%. It is concluded that the performance improvement index could be extended to amateur as well as elite sport where distance or time is used as a measure of performance.
© Copyright 2009 Journal of Sports Sciences. Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved.

Subjects: cycling short-distance running pole vault javelin throw science technique equipment material performance development
Notations: technical and natural sciences
Tagging: Technologie Ingenieurtechnik
DOI: 10.1080/02640410903062019
Published in: Journal of Sports Sciences
Published: 2009
Volume: 27
Issue: 13
Pages: 1421-1431
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced