Nick Schulz writes a blog about the nexus of sports and technology. He wrote a post about how the various sporting bodies were redefining the rules for javelin to keep the distances reasonable. I’m sure there is a logistical concern about keeping them on the field and away from other athletes. But still, couldn’t it be a lot more interesting …
Responding to an earlier post on how javelins were modified to make them harder to throw far, a reader named Mark says maybe track and field officials should think in the other direction. He says that javelin doesn’t have a huge following world-wide and that’s certainly true. But maybe if you harnessed technology and developed javelins that could fly unheard of distances, that might increase interest in the sport.
Maybe he’s right. When most people are confronted with a problem, their instinct is to impose limits, get the problem under some kind of control.
… Maybe javelins that fly the distance of 16 football fields would make for a cooler sport than the one today.
The FIA, Formula One’s governing body, is going through a similar discussion now. These days the concern is equal parts safety and cost. The teams are moaning about development costs and are asking the FIA to impose regulations which will slow the cars down. There are a host of changes including a single tire manufacturer, harder tires, moving to 2.4 liter V8’s instead of the 3.0 V10’s of today, eliminating traction control, etc.
Of course the entertainment is in the natural sporting aspect of it – who will win this week, but it cannot be denied that part of the lure is the absolutely insane feats the cars are able to achieve as well as the technical backgrounder pieces where the teams talk about the various technologies involved. Exotic materials (carbon fiber, titanium), incredible machine precision, computerized componentry all make up what F1 is about. If not for all this, why not just watch NASCAR?