Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger)
While we cheer for our hometown heroes, let's turn our thoughts to how modern athletes strive for Citius, Altius, Fortius.
What muscles are used in your favourite sport? How does your body coordinate itself to perform athletic feats? On now, at our MAP partner's the Ontario Science Centre, SPORT, demonstrates through hands-on activities, the scientific side of human performance.
While SPORT shows the human side of the equation. To achieve peak performance, we no longer rely solely on how we feed and train our bodies. These days, it's also about how technology is applied outside of the human body.
Remember the LZR Racer suits at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing? Swimming records were smashed so frequently in the pool that FINA eventually banned full-body polyurethane suits; with some critics calling the suits technological doping. For London 2012, the latest in athletic swimwear is Fastskin3, which its maker, Speedo, claims will aid swimmers to even faster times than the controversial full bodysuit.
Also, just weeks ago, a student at the Royal College of Art won accolades for using 3D scanning and printing technology to produce running shoes that are super light and custom made to fit an athlete's foot perfectly. Tests conducted on amateur runners resulted in average sprint times that were 0.35 seconds faster. Doesn't seem like much but in a 100 metre race, fractions of a second mean the difference between gold medal or no medal. While custom, on-the-spot running shoes won't be ready for London 2012, don't be surprised if we see them on the track at Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Then there's the controversy over Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who runs on flexible carbon-fibre blades instead of legs. In 2007, the IAAF amended its competition rules to include a ban on the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device". This decision was eventually overturned by the Court of Arbitration in Sport. Science has given Pistorius the ability to run but there are many who think that this poses as an unfair advantage over human muscle and bone.
For the future of athletic competition, how will raw talent hold up against access to top-of-the-line sports innovations? Don't get me wrong, top athletes don't just depend on technology to get to the winner's podium but how much of what sets them apart is owed to sporting technology? Where do we draw the line when it comes to how much technology is acceptable in sports and fair competition?