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Sportswear with improved technology improves performance significantly – but it's kind of unfair

When Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge was the first person to marathon in less than two hours in the context of the recent INEOS 1:59 Project Challenge, this was arguably one of sport's most significant achievements since Sir Roger Bannister broke through the marathon four Minutes mile in 1954. But almost immediately there was controversy, not about the runner or the unofficial nature of his run (his record has no official status), but about his running shoes.

The trainers in question were the AlphaFLY running shoes, designed and manufactured by Nike. They are based on a carefully thought-out sole design that absorbs the energy of each footstep and helps store, channel and return while running the athlete. The various patented innovations include the types of polymers used, the manner in which they and air pockets are arranged to absorb and recycle energy, and a carbon plate built into the midsole. The question is, can a running shoe really be the key to athletic success? Or is it just an easy target for the misguided jealousy of others?

A 2005 study predicted the probable limits of men's marathon record. However, since then, the maximum projections in this study have already been exceeded by about two minutes and nearly four, if you include Kipchoges time.

On this basis, it seems justified to assume that the shoes are at least partially responsible for such large and unexpected performance improvements. The umbrella organization of the International Association of Athletics Federation has established a group that deals with the running shoes of Nike and has been reported on with a ruling to significantly improve the running economy. In direct comparison with other elite level coaches in the same study, the increase in performance was indeed in the range of 2.6 to 4.2 percent. On the gossamer edges of elite sports, this kind of advantage is the equivalent of getting a weapon into a knife fight.

Vorsprung durch Technologie

Sure, as far as the discussion on technological support in sport is concerned, we have been here many times. The Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman wore a one-piece aerodynamic suit at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney at the 400 meters. In 2008, the disability itself was called into question when South African Oscar Pistorius attempted to run a pair of composite prosthetic legs in the same year at both the Paralympic Games and the Olympics. Like Kipchoge's shoes, they were concerned about the extent to which and the extent to which technology is helping us deliver the best possible service. In a systemic review published in 201

5, I found that the impact of technology on sport was a source of great interest, but occasionally enormous damage.

The British Olympic team recently introduced their new track bike. called HB.T, on which athletes will compete in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This machine (a project carried out by British Cycling and the manufacturers Hope and Lotus Engineering) pushes the limits to their limits and demonstrates the flair that Lotus 1992 in the development of the gold medal-winning lotus bike by Chris Boardman to the Day put. However, this design was later excluded from the competition due to its supposed injustice.

The new team GB-Fahrrad shines in an unusual fork configuration and bent, thin frame parts, which disappear when looking directly from the field of view. Engineers are looking forward to the measured benefits. But I'm wondering if the real impact of the bike is in the psychological blow against its opposition, as it has run out for the first time – at a time that is likely and deliberately too late to respond in time to it by competing cycling teams Tokyo.

The general critique behind such new technology is not just how effective it can be or not, but also how fair it is perceived. Such arguments usually address the issue of equal access to technology, ensuring the safety of new technologies, the fact that this is not fundamentally an unfair advantage, and ultimately does not completely change the nature of sport.

Some sports governing bodies try to eliminate or marginalize the effects of the technology. Cycling has tried several times. But even the relative simplicity of a sport like running was forever changed when Kipchoge used a huge team of around 40 pacemakers in an aerodynamic formation and these shoes.

Technological progress can be slowed down but not stopped lightly – and probably should not be. So, before the Tokyo 2020 games, there will be much more debate about the effects of technology as more and more athletes, teams and manufacturers compete for the most sought-after medals in competitive sports.

This article was published by The Talk of Bryce Dyer, Principal Academic, Bournemouth University, under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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