Cutting-edge technology has changed the face of modern athletics and has simplified the lives of sprinters, according to former Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie. The Brit, who claimed gold at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, argued that young athletes have never had things so good.
To a large extent, Christie explained, this is tied to the unprecedented level of spending in the athletics world, which has led to the introduction of high-tech training aids. Christie explained that he realied on technology throughout his storied career, yet this was not the case for the majority of his contemporaries.
Speaking to pocket-lint.com, Christie explained the advantage of using smartphones and other similar devices. "I bought my starting machine in, gosh, maybe 1984 or something like that," he told the news provider. "And at that time I paid $500 dollars for it [more than$1,100 in today's money]. And it’s a big box - they've got little tiny things now.
"Now, you've got a camera on all the phones, you can watch your technique, you can learn so much about things."
Since retiring from athletics in the late 1990s, Christie has worked as a coach to a number of top performers, including Olympic 4x100m champion Darren Campbell. He explained that technology forms a key part of his coaching philosophy. "We use a timing machine. We do block starts and everything else. We're always trying to get quicker, so it tells you how fast you run, every ten metres or so," he said.
"The stopwatches are a lot better now: you can time five, six or even maybe 20 people. We’ve got a machine that trains your reaction. And there's even so many things that you can use to help athletes recover from injuries and get them back on the track."
Despite these claims, a number of underdeveloped countries, such as Kenya and Ethiopia, continue to excel at major athletics competitions. So how important is technology in boosting performance, really?