So when will athletes start hitting the limits?

Discussion in 'Olympics 2016' started by NoXion, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

    The thought occurred to me that even if you take into account doping, there is only so much the human body is capable of. Considering that records are still being broken in Rio, how long until that's no longer the case?
    muscovyduck likes this.
  2. sleaterkinney

    sleaterkinney Well-Known Member

    There's still a bit to go, genetic manipulation, designer babies etc.
  3. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    People have wondered the same thing for decades and still the records go down.

    The big breakthrough was in the early 80s when, because of pressure from athletes, the step from amateurism to professionalism began, first via trust funds, then into full professionalism. Athletes could now afford to train full-time and absorb large support costs for things like altitude training, medics and suchlike. So the 80s witnessed a golden age for record-breaking.

    Even though Pavo Nuurmi (Finnish super-athlete of the 20s and 30s) had said "Mind is everything. Muscle - pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.", it was still generally felt that the only way to super-achievement was by piling on the miles of training. Sport psychology (a huge benefit to athletes) did not become a big thing until the 80s.

    So modern athletics (as we know it) is only 30 or so years old. As the years pass, new developments will bring new breakthroughs.
  4. alan_

    alan_ Well-Known Member

    There was an article on Radio 4 about how it is only the swimming records that are still being broken on a regular basis. It was in the last few days but cannot remember exactly
    ska invita likes this.
  5. Dr. Furface

    Dr. Furface One small step for man

    There's a number of factors, such as increased financial support (team GB being a prime example), improved technology (inc sport science, equipment and measurements), psychological advancements, as well as drugs. And then every so often, someone like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps comes along who are exceptionally or even uniquely well suited to their events.

    It's possible that there are some sports where the current record may never be bettered (obviously we can't know what they are) and there are some where new records could be achieved by the smallest of margins, like thousandths or even millionths of a second, which in the past would have been unrecordable. You have to wonder at what point would it become meaningless - billionths of a second perhaps? (which is probably measurable).

    The GB cycling team are a great example of how enhanced finance and advanced technology (and planning) have produced a string of world beaters and world records in recent years, but just this week the head of the team (can't remember his name) admitted that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to keep on improving as they have in recent years. He noted that they had identified cycling as a sport where technology could have a huge impact, which they've proved, but the margins of improvement are now becoming increasingly smaller.
    muscovyduck, NoXion and Sirena like this.
  6. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    Events or sports that aren't fully professionalised or don't have huge numbers of grassroots participants or which are particular insular in their training methods probably still have a long way to go in terms of records. Events where gains due to overcoming those things have already been made, and time has seen those easy gains maximised, will for the most part only see huge improvements if better performance enhancers than steroids, blood doping and weight stripping drugs are developed. Without that, there will still be gains, but they will tend to be smaller and smaller.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  7. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    2022. Enjoy the records being broken while you can :)
  8. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    Another factor in the setting of new world records, particularly for outdoor events like track and field, is where the events are held in relation to sea level. Olympic venues tend to be relatively near the coast and/or low lying where the air pressure is normal. However, a stadium high above sea level will have lower air pressure, providing less resistance to human motion which in turn improves the chances of new records being set.

    The Rio athletics stadium is relatively near the cost and is probably less than 50 meters above sea level if that. As far as I know, only one world record has been set at these Olympics (the mens 400m). Compare that to the Mexico City Olympics of 1968 (150 miles inland and 2000 meters+ above sea level), where 13 new track and field world records were set. There were other reasons for the high number of records being set in Mexico but the high altitude location was the main one.

    In short, if you want a shit load of new track and field world records, get your venues up nice and high.
    muscovyduck, Dr. Furface and NoXion like this.
  9. Ted Striker

    Ted Striker Foot's on the other hand

    Spurs will forever be in a permanent state of pushing the limits of what a team can achieve in sporting disappointmentary.
    Voley, CosmikRoger and Zapp Brannigan like this.
  10. Chilli.s

    Chilli.s changed the little words

    I like the idea of an unrestricted Olympics, athletes can take anything they want without restriction. Maybe track events could have a start like greyhound racing with the competitors in boxes, so the spectators can't see what they're doing, doors spring open and off they go.
    Celyn and Sirena like this.
  11. Zapp Brannigan

    Zapp Brannigan Built like a steakhouse, handles like a bistro

    Got bronze having reached the gold/silver final
    stavros likes this.
  12. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Ridin' a Stutz Bearcat, Jim

    Before Usain Bolt, you could have drawn a line of world record times for the men's 100m against the date and see the resulting line flattening out, approaching an asymptote (a notional horizontal line) which would indicate the maximum possible time, which athletes might get microscopically closer and closer to but would most likely never exceed.

    Then Bolt just parked himself some distance above that line and stayed there, making the whole statistical analysis thing look like a load of old bollocks.
    weltweit likes this.
  13. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Ridin' a Stutz Bearcat, Jim

    Moscow has a very strong case to hold the inaugural event.
    Hollis and Chilli.s like this.
  14. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Ridin' a Stutz Bearcat, Jim

    Less air pressure = less oxygen. Hence altitude training, which is basically a legal form of blood doping as it induces your body to create more red blood cells which you can then take back down to sea level were there's more oxygen.
  15. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    bring on the cyborg doped up freaks I say. Might make the glorified sports day more interesting
    emanymton, 8ball and Chilli.s like this.
  16. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Sunday Communist cheer to you to. So you would make drug use compulsory effectively?
  17. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    mornin. maybe have leauges of some sort. One for the clean, one for the modified and then a mixed one.
    Celyn likes this.
  18. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    The drugs championship would quickly be filled by pitiful freaks with a life expectancy of 40.

    Druggies now have to hide it, but if anything goes it would quickly get bizarre
  19. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    so like WWE then?
    Idaho, Manter and ska invita like this.
  20. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Ridin' a Stutz Bearcat, Jim

    I wonder what performance enhancing drugs you need to get better at dressage?

    I mean for me skunk has always been a big help whenever I've needed to do sit somewhere and do fuck all.
    emanymton likes this.
  21. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    That's a little unfair. Dressage is about the years of preparation surely? Being seen to do as little as possible is the whole point of the sport.
    Celyn likes this.
  22. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    bring back jousting only this time the athletes are on speed. I would stay up to watch that
  23. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Ridin' a Stutz Bearcat, Jim

    That's like putting years of preparation into making a shit sandwich though. What you've got is still, ultimately, bread with shit in it.

    e2a: Except the bread and the shit don't spend years being tormented into freakish and unnatural behaviours by some inbred dressed up like Sean Bean in Sharpe.
  24. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    I get really fed up with people views on equestrian events. My daughter in law does eventing, part of which is dressage. Its incredibly difficult - and that's once you've got a horse and rider with the complementary characteristics and personality that is essential. And then its long hours of slog - more for the rider usually than the horse. The amount of times I've heard the DiL say' we should have done better at that particular move - I messed up but Rio (her no.1 horse) saved it from complete disaster'. Throwing yourself around the cross country course is apparently much, much easier (albeit more physical)

    And no, she's not an inbred, she's not come from money and she works bloody hard to fund her sport. She left school at 16 but has through her own efforts built up her own successful business - well done to her. So shut it with your ridiculous sterotypes. The vast majority of people who ride are like her from my experience of going to events - ordinary folk who love their horses and scrimp and save to do the sport they love.
  25. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    Yes, you see how athletes settle into a consensus about the times they need to do and then someone comes along who's gifted by the gods (or a total druggie) and the mark is absolutely rewritten.

    And then athletics goes away for a rethink and recalibrates itself for a few years and, when it comes back, there's not one new gifted athlete who can approach the new mark but there's a bunch of them. It's a lot about performance models.

    If I think of these huge shifts, I think of Jesse Owens' and Bob Beamon's long jump, Seb Coe's 800m, Pavo Nuurmi's and Ron Clarke's 10k. They all set 'impossible' marks and now (with the possible exception of Beamon's long-jump) they've all been swallowed up.

    In the womens' events, Kratochvilova's 800m and Flo Jo's 100m/200m are still 'impossible' but that's because they were both wrong 'uns.

    eta I forgot Paula Radcliffe's marathon....
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  26. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    olympian! :cool:

    I'm all about the enhancements though. Pistoriuos had his blades and they served him well. Imagine what the future holds. Javelin throwers with a targetting HUD linked to the nervous system so they bang the target every time. That would render darts more pointless than it already is but we cannot oppose the march of progress
  27. stavros

    stavros Well-Known Member

    Mike Powell put another 5cm on Beamon's mark, although that itself was 25 years ago, so Powell has now held it even longer.

    Of the men's Olympic events the longest surviving records are the discus and hammer, both from 1986 and set by an East German and a Soviet respectively. The oldest men's track record is the 400m hurdles, from 1992 by an American.

    The women have ten Olympic event world records which date from the 80s, all of which were by Eastern Bloc athletes or Flo-Jo.
  28. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    Yes, that's true but I was mostly talking about breathtaking improvements on the previous mark, which make the new standards at first seem unattainable but which are then hauled in by the next generation of athletes.

    The throws and the Eastern Bloc records were, almost certainly, achieved with drugs, I think you will agree.
  29. irf520

    irf520 Well-Known Member

  30. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    I'm sorry but that would make women's athletics totally unfair. Already Semenya is allowed to compete with male musculature and a (medically reduced) testosterone count three times higher than the average woman. So, every race race she runs, she wins.

    To balance things properly, chromosomal women would have to be allowed to boost their testosterone levels to match.

    Social attitudes to transgender people are one thing but you can't automatically transfer these attitudes into a field where any testosterone difference would make huge performance differences because that would nullify one of the main principles of sport which is fairness.
    PursuedByBears likes this.

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