Advancement in science and technology has changed our ways of living to great extent, it includes various fields such as health care, transportation, sports and many more. More than 100 years earlier technology was used in Olympic games (Wood. R,2016). First time use of science and technology was done in 1900, Olympic games, in Paris to see the movement of athletes by animating it at various angles (Wood. R,2016). During that time there was no access to see all the games with the use of gadgets but during 1936, Olympic games, all the sporting events were broadcasted ever first time in history on television and this telecast was shown to public on big screens in berlin (Wood. R,2016). In 1896, stopwatches were used to record the winners time. (Wood. R,2016). Innovations in the sports science technology has enhanced the performance of athletes to great extent such as equipment design, uniforms, footwear, running surfaces and stadiums (Wood. R,2016). It not only helped the athletes but also the coaches and umpires to make right decisions. Use of technology in sports has led to debate among various individuals such as main controversy that has led to this debate was Lance Armstrong, who used performance enhancing drugs but, when asked he was guilty or not he simply replied he was not (Kerr, R. ,2016). This case also highlighted other prospective of using technology such as in case of Lance Armstrong, the amount of money he got from his sponsors by using the products of technology made by them (Kerr, R. ,2016). The other big controversy was the use of full body swim suits which reduced the water friction giving athletes certain advantage, so these suits were legally banned (Loland, S.,2009). The use of technology in sports improved number of things but it has led to a debate that to what extent technology should be used in sports. The aim of this essay is to discuss advantages and disadvantages of technology in sports and to what extent technology can be used in sports.
Sports and technology now go hand in hand so to understand the concept of technology we need to know what is technology? Dictionary defines technology as a material objects of use to humanity, such as machines, hardware or utensils”, or “. . . broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques”(Loland, S.,2009). Tiles and Oberdieck (31: 5) popularize and specify this common sense understanding when they talk of “. . . material devices designed and manufactured to make existing human activities easier or to make possible activities which people have dreamt of engaging in but to which they are not biologically adapted”(Loland, S.,2009). To define sport and technology we can define it in two ways and those are wide and narrow. In wide sense sports refer to all the gaming events that are occurring from Olympic elite sports to aerobics and outdoor recreation whereas in narrow sense it is preparation of athletes to compete with other athletes to make new records or win rewards (Loland, S.,2009). New inventions that were made to make human life easier also given arise to number of sporting activities like 4500 years ago a Scandinavians developed the first wooden remedies to slide on snow and given rise to skiing (Loland, S.,2009). Cycling sports arise with the technological development of the bike in the 1860s. Parachute jumping, with a history dating back to the late 1700s, became a sport in the early 1950s with the development and spread of aviation (Loland, S.,2009). There was a time when technology played very little role in sports such during ancient Olympic games athletes who want to compete in competition need to play nude and no safety equipment’s were used but now modern Olympic games make sure that while competing their athletes are safe (Paulo, S; Rosandich, T.J.2000). Furthermore, technology helped the athletes to prevent various sports related injuries and protect against harm (Loland, S.,2009). Technology is helping umpires to make a right decision such as Hawk-Eye Technology, it is the name of computer and camera system that is used to terrace the trajectory of ball. (Wood, R.2008). Hawkeye produces all manner of statistical analysis such as ball speed, ball pitch on the wicket and trajectory of the ball after bounce. Now this technology is even used in soccer as a part if goal line assistant. (Wood, R.2008). The Hawk Eye uses a camera taking 600 frames a second on the goal-line, with the information is analyzed by computer and sent to the referee’s headset or a device on his wrist (Wood, R.2008). Many other advanced innovations are helping referees and umpires to make correct and accurate decisions (Wood, R.2008). In various sports like basketball umpires check that player shot the ball within the time zone whereas in sport of cricket umpires usually take the help of third umpire when its hard to make decision and they also assist field umpires on the field (Wood, R.2008). Moreover, umpires can communicate with each other via a wireless device (Wood, R.2008). Recently this replay technology is also used in many other games like football and soccer to make the decision if the player was offside or not (Wood, R.2008). Advancement in the field of technology has helped the coaches and players to maintain fitness by storing various records like what they have eaten and what components of nutrition it has and how to maintain their fitness levels such as team beep test and body bite test that maintain the record of physical fitness, training and nutrition (Wood, R.2008). Technology has led to change in design of clothes to improve athletic performance such as athletic clothing today is designed to manage sweat by evaporation rather than absorbing it, providing a more comfortable experience for sports professionals and enthusiasts (Bates, M.). By 2012 new technology helped athletes to measure their heart beat, weight (Bates, M.,2016). Goal line technology was first time used in 2014 world cup to increase the accuracy of right decisions (Bates, M., 2016). In the sport of Rugby, GPS system is used by players to improve their game (Bates, M.,2016). Now these trackers are put on a ball and even on the jerseys of player to track their movement (Bates, M.,2016). In swimming, Orad Hi-Tec Systems brought the new technique of virtual imaging that create artificial line on the surface of water in the pool to illustrate world records (Bates, M.,2016). Olympic in Rio also used diver cams that help to steadily film each diver as they take the plunge (Bates, M.,2016). In this world it is harder for mangers to organize teams so the software name Pitchero is helping them to share the information with all teammates in fast and easy way (Mugal, S.,2018). Technology serves as performance-enhancing means (Loland, S.,2009). In part, new material and design of swim suits, or tennis rackets, or alpine skis are used to make performance more efficient and precise (Loland, S.,2009). Also, technology used outside of competitions such as training machines, hypoxic tents and chambers and methods are developed or at least applied with clear performance-enhancing intentions (Loland, S.,2009). The technology helped the people to get access to watch various sporting that are occurring all over this world through broadcasting through various means such as television (Kerr, R., 2016).
The use of technology in sports has led to debate on various issues such as use of technology by able bodied athletes, impact of re-skilling and de skilling, safety equipment’s and governing body oversight and non-human technology for making decisions (Dyer, B.,2015).Technology is highly used by the athletes who suffer from any type of disabilities such as first case that created controversy was use of bi-lateral transtibial amputee Oscar Pistorius who wants to compete with able bodied athletes using two leg prostheses (Dyer, B.,2015). During 2007 he made clear that he is going to take part in 2008 para-Olympic and Olympic games (Dyer, B.,2015). He used the energy stored in lower limb prostheses (Dyer, B.,2015). These prostheses are made up of carbon blades that can vary in size and structure and compress and extend under load (Dyer, B.,2015). This is clamed that this ESR technology give advantage to athlete with disabilities over athletes who are able bodied. As ESR are increase speed of running or either the structure is helping them (Dyer, B.,2015). The governing body of able bodied athletes, the IAAF, presented their report in court that claimed that this technology provided a mechanical advantage over able bodied athletes of more than 30 %, had a 25 % reduced energy output for maintaining the same speed and provided some additional advantages due to reduced mass of these artificial legs (Dyer, B.,2015). During certain times such as research did consider certain factors such as the use of technology during the phases of long sprints event such as staring speed and running through bends and many other advantages felt by Pistorius (Dyer, B.,2015). Certainly, he was banned by the court but then he fought against this and won the case (Dyer, B.,2015). Because of this he again competed against able bodied athletes in Olympic and Para-Olympic games during 2012 in London (Dyer, B.,2015). The use of non-human technology to make decision is used in various sports like cricket, tennis, football and any other sports (Dyer, B.,2015). The two technologies that are used are video replay and game line technology (Dyer, B.,2015). The number of people opposed the video replay technology as it stops the game due to which flow of the game gets disturbed (Dyer, B.,2015). Moreover, sometimes this technology is not very accurate and doesn’t give any clear outcome such as in there was dispute among the two sculls at the finish line of women’s skull race at the 2000 Olympic games in which it was claimed that it didn’t give accurate decisions as the difference between two boats separated by 12 one thousandths of a second (Dyer, B.,2015). The line judgement technology is really very expensive to be used for every local match, so it is used only used in world cup matches such as first time this technology was used in FIFA world cup during 2014 (Dyer, B.,2015). Other example is during tennis competition of Wimbledon men’s singles final, Hawkeye judged the ball on the wrong side of line. (Dyer, B.,2015). It is demonstrated that this technology doesn’t carry error margin but in cricket it carries 2.6mm error whereas in tennis its accuracy is 3.6mm (Dyer, B.,2015). These errors occur because of the speed or size of ball and field and recording rates (Dyer, B.,2015). Another factor is reskilling that help an athlete to increase any skill in a given area (Dyer, B.,2015). First this reskilling technology was used in golf a croquet style putter was used which required especial technique (Dyer, B.,2015). This technique was banned by golfs governing bodies as its use deviated the game too far what was traditionally expected (Dyer, B.,2015). In tennis reskilling controversy was the use of ‘spaghetti’ strung rackets that helped the player to get hold of ball for longer duration of time providing the additional spin to the ball because of which it was harder for opponent to judge the ball, so the use of spaghetti was banned (Dyer, B.,2015). Other controversy was the design of ball in tennis. In 1924, it was the size, weight and bounce of the ball that led to conclusion that American ball was lighter in weight than European ball (Dyer, B.,2015). So, the governing body introduced the compression-based requirements in the 1926 (Dyer, B.,2015). In running the use of chip-based timing system over the traditional starting system to record timings (Dyer, B.,2015). With the help of this technology athlete’s can record their personal start and finish line timings but this would mean that visual order with which they finished is not accurate (Dyer, B.,2015). So, the governing body decided that they would continue with the starting pistol as original time (Dyer, B.,2015). Deskilling is use of technology to make the sports easier for the athletes by introducing new techniques or products (Dyer, B.,2015). In golf thee use of ‘U’ groves used by club heads that provided some additional accuracy to the shot by decreasing the skills that are required to play the game (Dyer, B.,2015). So, the PGA outlawed this design. Another controversy was the use of new material to make the golf balls, originally these balls were made up of gutta percha (Dyer, B.,2015). The new ball can travel to the greater distance with the fewer strokes (Dyer, B.,2015). So, this was the deskilling that was adapted by the individuals of the governing bodies (Dyer, B.,2015).
The use of technology in sports is highly criticized because it violates the spirit of sports. According to the world anti doping agency (WADA) to ban the use of technology, it must meet the requirements two criteria out of three. According the people use of technology must not be allowed as they only value the performance that is though hard work and dedication not with the use of technical equipment’s. sporting event fans want that there must be the fair competition ad want the best athlete wins but with the use of technology this may not be possible. In developed countries athletes have larger number of technical spot as compared to the developing or the underdeveloped countries so the more money invested to increase the performance more are the chances are of winning the gold.