Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Evolution of Olympic records

The Times has an excellent graphic that captures the changes in Olympic medal winning performances in swimming and track and field events over the forty year period till the last Games. The average improvements in medal-winning performances have been 10.3% for swimming events whereas the same was just 4.1% for track and field events.

There was a veritable explosion of swimming records in the 2008 Olympics - 70 world and 66 Olympic records in the Beijing Olympics - sparking off a big debate on the role of technology in the sport in the form of sleeker, computer-designed Speedos to deeper (and, for the swimmer, less turbulent) pools. Here is an interactive graphic on the evolution of world records in Olympic events.

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