Snurfing! What will be the next big thing in snow sports?

In 1965 American Sherman Poppen fastened two skis together and called it “snurfing”. But why has nobody heard of snurfing? Probably because most people now know it as snowboarding. Why did it take so long for snurfing to develop into one of the most popular snow sports of the 21st century? There is still some […]

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 […]

Cycling’s a drag, but it doesn’t have to be

After a regrettably lengthy hiatus from the blog, this article was inspired by the excellent aerodynamics segments of the ITV’s tour de France coverage (in collaboration with Southampton University). Cycling aerodynamics in the 1980’s A few years ago my colleague Dr Richard Lukes wrote a review paper titled “The understanding and development of cycling aerodynamics” […]

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 […]

Ping pong is bouncing back

Major sports such as football, tennis and rugby get extensive media coverage. Less ubiquitous sports such as swimming and cycling usually have to wait until the Olympics or major event to get significant coverage. Table tennis rarely sees much coverage outside of the Olympics, even during a major event. However, this month, table tennis is […]

Tennis and the slippy clay blues

In the epic 2011 US Open Final, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal mesmerised tennis fans by sliding on hard court surfaces, a technique that had, for the most part, been reserved solely for clay courts. In this year’s tournament Djokovic appeared to have mastered the technique as he slid effortlessly into the final, only to […]

Top 5 Olympic sports that have been influenced by technology: No 1

Number 1: Cycling – Computational modelling of bike design Our final post in this series looks at a technological influence that isn’t focussed so much on the big gains, but more on fine tuning the small details to make a winning difference. As said many times during the Olympics, cycling is all about finding marginal […]

Top 5 olympic sports that have been influenced by technology: NO 2

Number 2: Tennis – Hawkeye assistant official In second place is tennis – although not the technological influence that may first spring to mind. Normally when referring to technological advances in tennis, racket design is the first on the list. Improvements in materials allowed the rackets to become lighter, stiffer and provide a larger hitting […]