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5 Important Ways Technology Has Changed the Olympics

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In the world of sport, there are few tournaments with such a prestigious historical pedigree as the Olympics. After all, across the 3000-year history of the Olympic games, we have seen some of the most important feats of human physical prowess ever performed, where some of history’s most famous individuals made a name for themselves.

While the Olympics is in many ways a testament to continuity and the enduring love we all share for the competition, it is also not immune to the shifting sands of time. As with many other aspects of mass entertainment, the Olympics have been fundamentally reshaped by the technological trends that have impacted how we consume all media. Here are some of the key ways that modern technology has changed the Olympics. 

1. Everything is Monitored

One of the most significant ways in which new technologies affect the athletes themselves concerns metrics. All trainers and teams now rely heavily on data like never before, meaning that athletes can now expect to have every aspect of their training monitored. These days, it is common for devices to measure an athlete’s heart rate, blood pressure, pupil dilation, muscle movements, lung capacity, and more virtually 24 hours a day. 

2. Wearable Tech Matters

It is hard to overstate just how big a role wearable technology plays during the Olympics. Oftentimes, teams are in a race with Olympic regulators to make the most out of the latest piece of wearable tech before it gets banned. One standout example is the LZR swimsuit, which was used by a select group of athletes from several countries for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The suit, which compresses the torso in a certain way to make the wearer more streamlined, was worn by a shocking 98% of all winning medalists, while more than 100 world records were broken by wearers in the following 18 months. Needless to say, the IOC quickly brought in new rules to ban the use of them. 

3. Digital Sportsbooks Play a Big Part

One less obvious way that technology has changed the games is betting. Until very recently, placing bets on Olympic sports was a niche activity, often reserved for the most hardcore fans. However, thanks to the advent of digital sportsbooks, which allow people to see the latest betting news and wager on a staggering number of Olympics fixtures, the situation is very different. Nowadays, placing online bets on your favorite Olympian is a common and widespread practice. 

4. Social Media Matters

It would be difficult to assess the impact of technology on the Olympics without mentioning social media. Athletes at the Olympics have always been treated like A-listers, so it would make sense that social media would become a huge part of the job. Virtually all Olympians have strict rules and contractual obligations regarding the use of social media, with some even being required to post a certain amount each day in order to meet their “fan engagement” obligations. In addition, sponsors and the IOC play a crucial role in dictating how athletes can use social media

These are just a few of the major ways that the Olympics have been impacted by emerging technologies. One can only imagine how different things will be by the time 2024 comes around.