In the short time since the opening ceremonies of the London Games, we've seen the usual kind of Twitter-related stories--a Swiss soccer player banned for a racist tweet, everybody everywhere voicing their complaints about NBC's mostly abysmal coverage, that kind of thing. But there's some weirder, darker undercurrents going on, with journalists blocked, kids arrested, and free speech on Twitter seeming a much more questionable right than it might have seemed during the Arab Spring.
By almost any account, the 2012 Olympics will be the most high-tech ever, from the actual starting guns to the microsecond camera finishes. But the pre-Olympics are even more high-tech, as athletes increasingly turn to advanced video and biomechanical data analysis to track their performances and train more efficiently.
World record after world record after world record
By Daniel EngberPosted 07.30.2012 at 10:02 am 2 Comments
Even if athletes never got any stronger or faster, and if their techniques and training never changed, they would still break records from time to time. That’s because the ability of each person who decides to compete, and the outcome of each competition, are affected by random processes. What happened on the way to the track that might affect the athletes’ performance? What’s the weather like? And so on. Every sporting event is a matter of chance as well as of achievement, and chance always offers the possibility of a breakthrough.
As is the case every four years, only a lucky few will be able to see the summer Olympics live and in-person. The rest of us peasants will settle for watching and streaming the games from our homes. But if you want something that feels a little grander, maybe even cosmic, NASA has just released a series of satellite photos depicting past Olympic host cities from space. The earliest comes from 1997 and shows Atlanta, and the series goes all the way up to London 2012.
The Olympics represent something very special in the culture of sport, but from a viewing perspective they are a logistical nightmare. Multiple events play out at the same time, forcing you to pick and choose between your favorite events. Where will the next dazzling, record-breaking performance take place? Will someone rob Usain Bolt of his 100-meter record? Will there be a Kerri Strug moment in the gym? There's no way to to tune into the Games with absolute certainty that you'll see something historic, but Steve Haake thinks you can increase your chances.
For a photographer, the Olympics are a goldmine--there are stories big and small, athletes in prime physical condition, the drama of the sports and the Games itself. But it's also a challenge to shoot all that stuff. Our friends over at Pop Photo talked to veteran Getty photographer and awesome name-haver Streeter Lecka about what gear he's bringing to London. It's especially interesting to hear how a Getty photographer does this kind of thing--it's not exactly how you or I would work. Read the story over at Pop Photo.
The centerpiece of this year's Olympics is unlike anything we've seen before
By Tim NewcombPosted 07.26.2012 at 5:00 pm 3 Comments
If you’re hoping for a new version of the Bird’s Nest, the Olympic stadium that wowed spectators in Beijing in 2008, then you’ve come to the wrong games. For this year's Olympics, beginning tomorrow, London went subdued. Critics have described the new Olympic Stadium as "a bowl of blancmange" and "pretty underwhelming," but its design is highly intentional: London's Olympic Stadium is the lightest, most flexible and most sustainable ever built.
Luc Fusaro, a French engineering and design student who does not work for Nike or any other shoe company, is creating a 3-D-printed running shoe. It's revolutionary, but he's hoping it barely affects runners at all. To be precise (and maybe optimistic), the shoes--branded "Designed to Win"--could shave 3.5 percent off a runner's time. That's it. But in the professional running world, that's the difference between Olympic glory and heading home in defeat.
Speedo's Fastskin line (including the banned-as-of-2009 LZR suit) of high-tech, high-performance swimsuits were inspired by the skin of a shark--shark skin's sandpaper-like texture is thought to reduce drag, hence its usefulness in swimming gear. But an ichthyologist at Harvard performed a study and found that Fastskin is "nothing like shark skin at all," and that its surface properties do not reduce drag one bit.