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Enhancement: which technologies are improved, and how?

When you watch action on a daily basis, you can feel that the various items of equipment used in athletic events are continually evolving. Commentators call attention to competitors wearing the current model of aerodynamic helmet or carbon fiber bike. Often the technical advances can be so massive that the sport can hardly be remembered, such as when the Americas Cup sailing competition altered their rules to allow catamarans rather than only single hulls.

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At other moments, it is the distinction between technology used by different teams that we note, perhaps because of personal interest or perhaps because of economic disparities between different countries. Richer nations and athletics are more likely to have the most up-to-date equipment available than countries with less money. The innovations that this chapter focuses on are those that are part of sport.


They are not technology that are external to sport but they are used by athletes or trainers for fitness or other purposes; they are technologies that are used by athletes every time they train or participate. These inventions include sports balls, rowing or yachting boats, motorcycles and running shoes. Given that these are the required components of any event, it is understandable that the improvement of these innovations has become another opportunity for athletes to strive to obtain an edge over their rivals.