November 13, 2009

A Fascinating Article on Biotechnology in Sports

Aimee Mullins (running on a beach in the picture above) writes a fascinating article on athletes and biotechnology. Just how much can athletes be aided by technology before those defeated start talking "unfair advantage."

I wrote about Oscar Pistorius during the last Olympics and wondered whether he should be allowed to compete with the Cheetah legs like those above... Aimee's article, though, raises a lot more questions than I have answers:

The only reason athletes today are better than those of decades ago is because of science and technology: We know exactly what and when to feed our bodies for maximum energy, we have lighter shoes and better bikes and new rubberized track surfaces and (legal) supplements and altitude training. We are upping the ante each Olympic year with "smarter" design of an athlete's tools, both inside and outside the body.

A whopping 74 world records were broken last year between March and November with the Speedo Fastskin LZR Racer suit. 74! Do you wonder if Mark Spitz is annoyed that his times are compared to those of athletes using something he didn't have the opportunity to use or wear?

Let's think about Tiger Woods having not one, but two LASIK surgeries to achieve 20/15 vision, when what we consider the best of natural vision to be is a mere 20/20. Before his first LASIK surgery, Woods had lost 16 straight tournaments. Immediately following the surgery, he won 7 of his next 10. Advantage through technology, or not?

Wow.... I had not heard about Tiger's surgeries... apparently his contacts were really bothering him and he opted for LASIKs. And also, have you ever gone out to golf in a foursome and noticed that your 30 year-old woods are so tiny as to be embarrassing? I have.... but maybe that's a guy thing. :)

If you get a chance, read the whole article... it's quite interesting... and Ms. Mullins is quite an inspiration.

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