Which Olympic Sport Is Most Tech-Dependent?

Have you been watching the Olympics? You've probably noticed that a lot of these sports seem to lean pretty heavily on the technology that accompanies them. For instance, archery bows look like post-apocalyptic bunker defence, and the shooting portion of the modern pentathlon is basically laser tag.

Sometimes it starts to feel as though the athletes are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Even seemingly stripped-down sports, such as running and swimming, have shoes and suits that that give tangible boosts. Progress is progress and nothing about it is inherently bad. But in which sport do you think machine matters more than man the most?

Image: AP



    Saw the 10m Air Rifle yesterday and have to say that was a bit of a joke. The rifles looked more like crossbows.

    If Oscar Pistorius is allowed to run in the non disabled section, that is tech gone too far!
    He may be competitive with normal runners now but in a few more years when the technology overtakes non disabled runners, they will be up in arms. He should not be allowed to run in the regular Olympics, or at least they should have a special category for competitors like him who can surpass non disabled athletes.

      Agreed. I sometimes think that the lack of lactic acid buildup and reduced complexity in movement give runners like Oscar and edge! Although I don't have enough scientific smarts to back it up, just saying!

        Pistorius still has calf muscles that have to work hard to keep the prosthesis in line. On top of this, although the action is simpler, he doesn't have the advantage of a foot that extends his leg length at the end of the stride, so all of his energy comes from his upper thighs.

        The IOC also has tested to prove no advantage, otherwise he wouldn't be allowed to race.

        an edge? your serious.... he got no legs!!! how is that an advantage, i don't care how advanced the prosthetics become.... HE GOT NO LEGS!!!

          That really is old thinking. People lacking traditional legs will soon be able to supersede us regular folk.

          So much so I don't think it will be right to describe them as disabled any more.

          So if they become nuclear fueled super cyborg legs that can bound the 100m sprint in 3 steps that's still a level playing field just because the dude has no legs?

          C'mon, compare apples with apples! How about we make men and women compete against each other for all sports, I mean, they both have legs and arms! ;)

    Remember those swimming suits that are now banned but swimmers were smashing records left right and center when they wore them?

      I think the suits were good, but definitely not as great as they were hyped up to be. It seems like another case of Michael Jordan water.

        The super suits had a huge impact on swimming. 85%+ of all the current world records in swimming were set in the supersuit era before 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_swimming

        I'm glad the are gone because I thought it was cheating and took away from the great work of previous record holders.

    I think it's important to have some scale, the rifles are mostly ascetic changes that make the rifle slightly more adjustable. I think tech like supportive swimsuits and aerodynamic bike equipment that actually supplement physical abilities that make it a biggest budget wins situation are far worse. Looking like a crossbow or not, the shooter still has to aim and fire, and no features there make that easier.

    2011 ISSF world champ won with a 30 year old rifle, timber stock and all.

    "archery bows look like post-apocalyptic bunker defence"
    Olympic Archers still use recurve bows...Sure they have stabalizers and a sight but that's just some rods and...well a sighting aim. Not exactly very high tech equipment.
    Compound bows are more high-tech with pulleys and scopes, etc but the Olympics don't allow them for this exact reason.

    Is that the Olympics or Mass Effect?

      The problem archery has as a sport is this exact idea of it being easy, and being all about the equipment - I completely understand, because I remember thinking like that myself, before joining a club. It's because the only time most people ever see archery is in absurdly exaggerated movies, or at the Olympics. The fact that the athletes make it look easy is precisely why they're there - and the bows haven't really got any easier to shoot. In fact, by changing from timber to composite materials, and adding stabilisers (which are really just a weighted stick), you essentially just eliminate variables like inconsistent draw weight and spontaneous wind gusts blowing you off target. The end result is that all of the bows shoot better, but more importantly, it's more about the athlete's technique. Isn't that the whole idea of the Olympics? If you really want to appreciate how well they shoot though, do a come-and-try course at any club in Australia. It's $20 well spent to try out a 50,000 year old sport.

        I don't view archery as being an easy sport but watching high level competition like at the olympics just makes it look a lot like it isnt really archery. Stabilisers, sights, clickers, release aids, the whole letting the bow fall forward thing... Technology is cool and all but it just seems so far removed from base level archery, if you look at something like golf (not a fan but lets use it as an example) at the top levels they still use just balls and clubs with higher tech but the same overall form and function. You don't need people getting close to perfect scores for something to be interesting, hell if they had lower scores with less gadgety equipment more people might think they could do it and get into it.

        Can you recommend a club in Melbourne that does com-and-try stuff?
        I've often thought about learning archery, so that would be an
        awesome thing to do if I could.

          Yeah, I'm from Melbourne myself. If you're up in the northern suburbs, Diamond Valley Archers in Greensborough has amazing facilities, and in the south-east, moorabin archery club, sherbrook archers, or Waverley City archers (my club) are all great, if a little smaller. Plenty of other clubs are around if you're not from those regions. Your best bet is the Archery Victoria website, which has a list of local clubs and times, and they pretty much all do a cheap come and try, followed by a 5 weekend course if you're get keen.
          And I actually agree with SvenzOr a bit - archery is certainly heaps more fun to participate in, than to watch people shooting near perfect scores. I think the Olympics might benefit from switching to field style archery, where you shoot a course built into rough terrain, if only to have a bit more entertainment factor. After all, you don't watch golfing tournaments at the driving range, which is sort of what target archery is.

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