Olympics has been the biggest and oldest sporting event in the history of the world. And like everything, Olympics has gone through many stages of evolution. 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang was all about technology. Everyone has been fitted with a wide range of tech to improve their performance, to master their game and to make 2018 Winter Olympics more exciting.
When it comes to research for such amazing tech, one would think there must be a huge research lab backing it up. The truth is a little different. The U.S Committee has a collaboration with a biomedical engineer, Mounir Zok, since 2012. From the comfort of his house in Cupertino, Mounir Zok, along with his team of engineers and specialists, is in charge of designing and producing products for Team USA.
He designed augmented reality glasses with real time performance stats that helped US Women’s cycling team win a silver in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“Just like a butterfly can never be a caterpillar again,” said Zok to Bloomberg. “Once an athlete starts using technology to peak when she wants to peak, limit injuries, and maximize performance, she can never go back to just intuitive training.”
For this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Zok’s team has created a virtual reality ski software that allows skiers to traverse through difficult landscapes. It also allows skiers to analyze ice conditions before hitting the rink. This has given them an obvious edge.
Other countries have also refused to stay behind. Dutch speed skaters Sjinkie Knegt and Suzanne Schulting, because of their partnership with Samsung, enjoyed using Samsung SmartSuit during practice. It allowed them to analyze their metrics during training sessions so they could master their game. These custom made suits are studded with sensors which helped the coach to monitor his team’s data via his smart phone.
The suits are designed to analyze posture. As speed skating is all about form, the couch could see whenever his team was slouching too much, and he could alert them by sending vibrations to their suit via his smartphone.
Ralph Lauren found the perfect solution to Winter Olympics – a self-warming jacket. Ralph Lauren designed uniforms for Team USA which includes parkas with heating systems that kept the team warm in the subzero temperatures of PyeongChang, South Korea.
The heating system could easily be controlled with smart phones and came with 11 hour battery life.
The tech at 2018 Winter Olympics was not just limited to the athletes and their team but it also extended to the attendees. Due to Visa’ contactless payment enabled devices, people could purchase food, souvenirs and basically every other thing without having to carry their wallets everywhere.
According to Mikaela Shiffrin, USA Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing, “It is important to me, as a Winter Olympian, to work with a brand like Visa that not only supports a diverse group of athletes, but also enables an enhanced fan experience for those at The Games, “Olympic pins are always the most coveted collectibles, these Visa pins really up the ante.”
It is safe to say that 2018, Winter Olympics, in PyeongChang, South Korea was one of the most innovative sporting event in Olympics history.