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Science of Sport Science of Sport


  Introduction

Eight sprinters, a track and a tape. What could be further from cutting edge technology than a simple running race? But the influence of science is found in every aspect of modern sport. Athletes have their diets and training schedules designed by scientists. Materials technologists are constantly working on better footwear and clothing. Even the track itself will have been specially designed for maximum performance.

At the Sydney Olympics science and technology was everywhere. Swimmers in the pool sported the latest in drag reducing bodysuits. Marathon runners were electronically tagged to check on their position in the field. Even the Olympic sewerage system was state of the art.

As science begins to dominate sport, however, are we in danger of losing the raw physical challenge that is at the heart of competition? Science can help an athlete bend, or even break the rules. Genetic engineering may offer new performance enhancing drugs and therapies that will be undetectable. And do athletes from poorer countries stand any chance of competing on a level playing field when confronted by the high spending, hi-tech teams from the West?
 
Theatre of Dreams

In the 1900 Paris Olympics many events were held in the city's local parks. Now the games demands custom built facilities that are second to none.
   

Body Beautiful

Ancient Greek athletes were flogged to make them train harder. Now its all down to scientific planning.
   

Dressed for Success

The latest kit is a must for all aspiring medal winners, but are snazzy new suits and trainers more hype than help?