Sports engineering 20 years old! What’s next?

I just received an email from the publisher of the journal Sports Engineering (Springer) telling me that it’s 20 years old.  As the founding editor of the journal, this might explain why I feel so creaky and why I’ve suddenly felt the need to publish a book on the history, science and technology of sports […]

Sports engineering is 2,300 years old

This week was awe-inspiring: I helped set up a 2,300 year old starting gate in an even older stadium with the Indiana-Jones character who discovered it (Prof Stephen Miller) and then raced bare-foot in a modern recreation of the Nemean Games (established 573 BC).

Markus Rehm – blade jumper

Photo: Olaf Kosinsky / Wikipedia Markus Rehm is a really good long jumper, despite the prosthetic limb on his right leg.  Or perhaps because of it.  He competed at London 2012 in the paralympics (in the F42/44 category) with a winning distance of 7.53 m. He now holds the IPC world record with 8.40 m, the 3rd longest […]

The need for speed: the downhill toboggan world record

Sometimes you get a phone call and someone asks you for help: they get you on a good day, at a positive moment and you think “yeah, why not? That sounds like fun”.  Later, you realise you’re committed to helping to break a world record — the fastest speed for a gravity powered sled — and people […]

Top technologies in sport: number 3

The ingredients for the sports revolution During Queen Victoria’s reign between 1837 and 1901, the population of Britain more than doubled while the economy grew by over 360% (equivalent to an increase in GDP of 2% per year for over 60 years).  In 1850 and 1878, two acts of Parliament gave factory workers half a […]

Top technologies in sport: number 2

The invention of the lawnmower allowed the middle classes of 1860s Victorian Britain to create lawns for the exciting new game of croquet. Croquet was about to be eclipsed, however, by the new game of Lawn Tennis, patented by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1873 as a game that came in a box.  Wingfield initially called […]

Top technologies in sport: Number 1

As a starting point for the beginning of modern sport, Victorian Britain is a pretty safe bet.  Which technologies helped create modern sport as we know it?  My next few articles will take you through the top technologies I think were crucial for the development of sport — and they’re not necessarily the ones you might […]

When did sports technology begin?

I’ve often wondered, if I were to write a history of sports technology, when I should start?  In 774 BC at the inception of the Ancient Olympic Games? Or in 300 AD at the height of the Roman Empire? By this time the Games had expanded to include the pentathlon, racing in armour and even […]

Football and skill: why you’re not as individual as you think you are

As much as I hate football (for explanation – I’m a Blackburn Rovers fan; enough said) I’m enjoying my holiday read.  It’s The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson and David Sally and is subtitled “Why everything you know about football is wrong”.  It’s not actually the best thing to relax to as I keep jumping […]

Goal line technology: is GLT the new LHC?

I know something is up when I get consecutive phone calls from the press to comment on the same subject.  Most recently this was about goal-line technology and  I wondered what I could say that hadn’t already been said.  And then I realised what the story was:  that goal-line technology is a non-story very much […]