The olympic games and the cyborg- athlete: Any room for improvement?

This paper is prompted by the radical emergence of technology that exists in contemporary sport and culture. Of particular interest are the technologies that threaten to alter an already changing concept of the human condition, such as genetic engineering and prosthetics. However, it is fundamental to consider the more subtle technologies, which influence change in sports, such as the equipment used by an athlete and the methods of training that are unmistakably technological. Such subtle technologies, I argue, can provoke a rationale for understanding sport that can allow the application of the more confronting technologies to sports. Thus, sports technologies provide contexts that would seem to make the application of such technologies as genetic engineering and prosthetic enhancements acceptable within sports and so their discussion is both timely and salient for sports persons. In many ways, such technologies are quite different from the kind that described the machinery of the Industrial Revolution. Biotechnology, molecular science, and even nanotechnology pose quite different implications for life on earth than does mechanical engineering. However, in other, more fundamental ways, they are still very similar. The rationality of the Enlightenment period and its 'faith' in science to enable truth by providing maximum efficiency would seem to have remained to this day and even to have heightened as a value of sport and society more generally. Science (mostly realised as technology, for it is the mediator of scientific language) is heralded as the truth out there, the knowledge that humanity has sought so arbitrarily in the past. With science, wisdom could be documented, processed, rationalised, criticised, operationalised, and reduced. However one may describe it, the perceived objectivity of technological application is one that is positive: technology as scientific rigour enables truth..
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