Technology Ruins The Olympics

February 17, 2010

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Here we are at the Winter Olympics once again, the home of patriotism, teamwork, athleticism, and technology? Yes, technology, the Winter Olympics is full of it. Just two years ago I can remember reporters discussing how changes to swimsuits have lead to faster swimming, and even then I couldn’t help but think of how much bigger a part technology plays in the Winter Olympics, and how much of an effect it probably has on the outcome.

The Winter Olympics definitely outweighs the Summer Olympics in the “gear” category. From bobsleds to skis, from ice skates to guns, gear is the name of the game at the Winter Olympics. It might just not be the best man who wins, but the man with the best equipment who wins in Vancouver.

I believe the king of the Winter Olympics technology has got to be the bobsled. In a sport where every second counts the quality of the equipment is going to matter that much more. An olympic bobsled can cost upwards of $100,000 USD. This is just an insane amount of money, you want to talk about a sport for only the rich. Polo has nothing on bobsledding.

I can’t help but imagine how well a $100,000 USD bobsled would perform compared to a $5,000 USD bobsled. With years of testing in wind tunnels, scientists fine tuning every angle, and air drag cut down to near zero, I’d hate to believe that the difference between gold and silver medals might come down to the research and money put in by the host country to develop a high quality sled.

I just don’t believe that technology should play such a large part in the Olympics. I think the winner of the gold medal should be the most dedicated and talented team, not the group of guys thrown together in a sled that costs more than the combined income of my wife and I. That is just ridiculous. In this day of multi thousand dollar snowboards and uniforms made of materials originally designed for NASA, I’ve got to say, what’s the point?

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kosmo
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 08:13:29

    There’s a gray area at some point. Clearly, you’re not going to swim in the Olympics in a suit you picked up at Target. I agree that the suits that keep swimmers afloat go too far. Heck, with one of those, *I* might have a shot at the Olymopics (I have no bouyancy – sink like a rock).

    Good point with the engineering for bobsled.

    An interesting point is that the US Olympic team receives $0 from the US government – in stark contrast to many other teams around the world. The USOC is funded by their cut of the deal with NBC, as well as corporate and individual sponsorships.

    If you enjoy an Olympic sport – especially one of the sports that doesn’t get a lot of corporate sponsors, jump out to their official site and consider tossing some money their way. This might be in the form of outright donations, or simply buying merchandise from them.

    The Luge team’s site is


  2. Martin Kelly
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 10:22:19

    As long as the technology is available to all teams, I don’t see a problem. Even the Jamacan bobsled team (yes they are still feilding a bobslead team) have enough sponsorship to cover the costs of technology. Every sport has been a combination of skill and equipment. Even if you set up rules for the equipment (i.e. the size, weight and shape of the javelin and discus used in the summer Olympics field sports), each team will try to get that extra little advantage. If you are that worried about skill only awards, you would have to set all coaching to the same level as well.

    I do however agree that $100,000 is rediculus for a tree minute event.


  3. Evan @ 40Tech
    Feb 18, 2010 @ 09:32:51

    Interesting points. I don’t what the answer is – have standard issue gear for everyone? Maybe. But that might not work, either. Even with standard stuff, one sled might be slightly better than another. Then we’d hear complaints from athletes that they “drew a bad sled today.”

    I love tech, so the tech side of things is interesting to me. I’m also a skier, and on race weekends where I ski, it’s interesting to see all the racers tweaking and waxing their skis for that little edge.

    This might just be one of those problems without a solution.
    .-= Evan @ 40Tech´s last blog ..5 Suggestions to Improve Google Buzz =-.


  4. hafsa
    Apr 30, 2010 @ 09:07:37

    this is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


  5. hafsa
    Apr 30, 2010 @ 09:08:04

    dear sir this is spppoooooooooooooooooooo boring


  6. James
    Apr 30, 2010 @ 09:23:26

    Well hafsa, thank you for your enlightening contribution to the discussion.


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