There is a constant debate in sports about who is the best of all time. Is Ronaldo the greatest footballer or was Maradona better? Is Schumacher the best formula 1 driver or has he been surpassed by Lewis Hamilton? These debates will rage on for a long time and we won’t come close to settling them today. Yet one thing is very clear, it is not a fair fight. The abilities and achievements of sports stars of the past can not be directly compared with those of modern-day because the game has changed so much. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of today’s athletes and where the potential lies in the future.
When you look at Ronaldo and Maradona as examples, one was addicted to drugs, led a party lifestyle, played at a time when defenders could kick and bully attackers and still managed to change the game of football, bringing it to its knees as he almost single-handedly won a world cup. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has his own personal physician, nutritionist, and trainer. This ensures he is in peak physical fitness at all times and that his body is perfectly attuned to the sport that he plays. Had Ronaldo been born in the same era as Maradona it is unlikely that he would have reached the same feats, but we can never know.
It is very likely that in the future all the records that are held by athletes today and all the stars that we hold at the pinnacle of sports will be surpassed. This is because although athletes now understand nutrition and sports science to a greater degree, there is so much more to learn and benefit from. Technology will provide the edge in the next generation of athletes.
Data is used by many top athletes and even amateurs today. It can inform sportspeople about their heart rates and intensity levels. This allows them to know how hard to train and how much more they can push in real games. This can ensure that athletes are in peak condition when an important match comes. Thinking further than health and fitness statistics, analysts are now an integral part of sports teams as they can study the form, technique, and movement of athletes and finely tune it so that they get optimum results. Imagine Ronaldo working on free kicks alone versus with an analyst who can tell him the exact point he needs to strike the ball.
Virtual reality may provide the next frontier in athlete technology as it will allow athletes to simulate real competitions in their training. Experts argue that one of the key difficulties of training is that it can never prepare an athlete for the real thing. Yet what if virtual reality improves to such a level that they can’t even tell the difference. Of course, they will know that everything is not on the line in that training regime but it can recreate every other aspect of a game. This is already being used to some degree in sports like Formula 1 and is likely to take the entire sporting industry by storm.
When you consider the records being broke in running and other events and consider the difference between sports stars today and fifty years ago, it is clear that there have been massive improvements. Many people think that there is little room to improve as we have maxed out the advantages that are possible. However, the truth is that we are at the start of a new chapter in sport. While we have seen the use of technology in all sports already they have not used it to its true potential yet. However, that will start to happen very soon.