The impact of technology on sporting performance

Dr Steve Haake


Stephen John Haake OBE is a British sports engineer. He is professor of sports engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, England and is founding director of the university’s advanced wellbeing research centre.

We think of sports technology as something new, but the ancient Greeks first used it to improve performance over 2,000 years ago. The materials used were predominantly wood, leather and metal, and didn’t really change until glass and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics were created in the late 20th Century. This caused a radical change in sports equipment; bikes, helmets, rackets, golf clubs, javelins, pole vaults all evolved rapidly and sports performance improved. In this lecture, Dr Haake explained the science behind these technologies, and asked whether they really work and pondered the question – are these new technologies cheating?

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