Throughout history, the boundary that defines the edge of what is humanly possible has been pushed further and further. Whether it is speed strength or endurance, people are constantly re defining what the human body is capable of.
In our society, sports have become the most popular exhibition of human physical prowess. With technology becoming a bigger part of athletic training, sporting authorities are becoming aware of the need to draw a line in the sand when it comes to what level of aid is acceptable.
Sometimes, the technology aids are in the form of data and analytics. Conventionally, most sports have wholeheartedly accepted this type of aid. While the technology does not have a direct impact on the physical output of the players, it allows them to train better thereby, over time drastically improving performance and consistency. It might not be a direct aid but in the upper echelons of almost every sport in the world, we can see a whole hearted adoption of data. It is not just the players that look to technology. Sports today have integrated data driven technology into every aspect of the spectacle. Its laws, the viewing and broadcast experience and even the business side of things.
Some other aspects of technology have been under more scrutiny. The equipment used by athletes is a big part of the output they produce. Top manufacturers across the world are constantly inventing better gear. Gone are the days where a pair of running shoes were just shoes. Today, they are built for very specific purposes. The technology that goes into developing this gear has to be monitored continuously. There is no doubting the improvement in performance they lead to, but there is a constant struggle to ensure there are guidelines in place to keep any unfair advantage in check. The idea is to make sure the sport is a test of human ability and not the technology the humans are using.
Some sports such as hockey, cricket, sailing and skiing are more dependent on equipment than others. These sports constantly set guidelines and parameters for what is acceptable, yet sometimes a piece of equipment comes along that is so technologically advance, it creates a controversy about the unfair advantage it offers.
Out of all the technological aids, probably the most talked about is the use of performance enhancing drugs. Sporting authorities come down hard on their use and most athletes are given a strict list of substances that they are not allowed to consume.
There is a school of thought that believes that the use of drugs in sport does not deserve the stigma associated with it. In the arts, it is widely acceptable for people to use drugs to improve their performance, why should athletes be held to a different standard?
Cycling, a sport that has constantly been plagued by very high profile issues with doping, has suffered greatly due to the bad publicity surrounding its high profile athletes.
While the sporting community has not accepted it, one can not question the progress the technology behind these drugs has made. Companies like Dignity Bio Labs are constantly producing supplements at the cutting edge of nutritional science, leading to improved performance.
The question at the heart of the debate remains the same. If an athlete can leverage superior technology in their equipment for better results than why not leverage superior nutritional science for the added edge.
At the end of the day, the question that remains is how much further can we push the human body. Over they years, we have seen that people are constantly breaking records. The only certainty that comes with a record is that someday it will be broken. At some point however will the human body reach the barrier of its potential? Yes, athletes are getting better at their disciplines but one can not deny the impact technology has had on their output. It is becoming a bigger part of their regiments. Almost all sports have seen a constant improvement in performance. Higher scores, better times, greater performance.
Outside sport, technology has been adopted wholeheartedly when it comes to improving performance. Whether it is business, entertainment or science we are dependent on it for almost every achievement we strive towards.
Yet, when it comes to sport, we seem hesitant to adopt the edge technology might provide wholeheartedly. We seem to be shy when it comes to pushing those boundaries. With no change visible on the horizon, it seems that curiosity has not got the better of us so far. Would it not be great to see how fast a man can run with all the benefits of the best equipment and the tools nutritional science has to offer. Even if it is not for an Olympic medal, but in a lab. The true boundaries of what man can do are changing faster than ever. It is up to us to decide how far we would like to explore them.