It's possible, though, that the pace of innovation in Olympic sports—in terms of both technique and technology—is slowing down. In 2008, Paris-based researcher Geoffroy Berthelot looked at more than 3,000 world records from 147 sporting events in the Olympics, going all the way back to 1896. When he plotted the records over time, he found an exponentially decaying rate—"a major global fading of [world-record] progression," as he put it. Two thirds of track-and-field events have stagnated since the early 1990s, and the rate has also slowed for other individual sports. "You see it now," he says—athletes may be approaching their biomechanical limits at last.