Thursday, May 15, 2008

Continued cyborgization of athletics!

Apparently, Japan's Olympic swimmers were in an uproar because of bathing suits. Speedo has something called an LZR Racer swim suit. Since the LZR's launch, 29 swimming records have been broken, and twenty-eight of those records had people wearing the LZR. Japanese swimmers must use Japanese products, so they were pissed off about this, likening using the LZR to doping. The LZR was developed, in part, by NASA's advanced materials division.

Of course, trying to beat Japan with technology is askin' for a smackdown, so now Yamamoto Corp. has created what they say is an even faster swimsuit. Just in time for the Olympics, so Japanese swimmers can glide exclusively to victory!

The cyborg aspect is, of course, that the high-tech suits serve as a second, almost frictionless skin. Everywhere the swimmer's body propelling a swimmer serves as drag to slow them down. Reduce drag and you get a faster swimmer!

Now, none of this has anything to do with the athletes. The quality of the athletes is now less in question than the clothing they wear. To break records, swimmers now need super-slick bathing suits.

Which, of course, makes me wonder when the concept of physical sports will go away entirely. The shoes you wear, the clothing you wear, whether or not you have mechanical feet - all these things are technological developments, not training and exercise developments. I wonder how long it will be before we're forced to acknowledge that we are, as a whole, more interested in the technology than the athletes, in the swimsuits and not the swimmers.

If I had a billion dollars, I might think about that sort of thing. Leagues where I don't care if you dope, or use shoes that make you jump higher and faster, and just focus on creating the most kinetic athletic entertainment experience possible. Like pro-wrestling with gadgets!

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