The link between sport, technology and science is a close one, and in recent years increasing interest has been taken in the significance of that connection, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world. A wide-ranging introduction to the issue can be found in Andy Miah and Simon B. Eassom (eds), Sport Technology: History, Philosophy and Policy (2002). Materials in Sports Equipment vols 1 and 2 (2003, 2007), edited by Mike Jenkins and Aleksandar Subic respectively, provides an important scientifically orientated grounding in the technology and design of sports equipment in a wide variety of sports disciplines. The technological development of sports clothing, which is a rapid growth area, is treated in Roshan Shishoo’s Textiles in Sport (2005). The sporting arena has also become an area for technological innovation, and significant critical analysis of the influence of technology on sports space is undertaken by John Bale, for example in books such as Sport, Space and the City (1993), Landscapes of Modern Sport (1994) and Sport Geography (2003). Scientific and technological developments have also had an influence on the very body

of sport. Consequences of this have been exposed and criticized by John Hoberman in Mortal Engines: The Science of Performance and the Dehumanization of Sport (1992) and Testosterone Dreams: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisia, Doping (2005). Prior to the publication of these two comprehensive studies, Hoberman formulated his thought-provoking hypothesis about the wider significance of the link between technology and sport. According to Hoberman, modern sport is ‘a global monoculture whose values derive in large measure from the sphere of technology’,1 and technologization is accepted and promoted on the basis of a specific agenda: ‘the comprehensive technologizing of high-performance sport contains, and in some ways conceals, an agenda for human development for which highperformance athletes serve as ideal models’.2 Hoberman’s view is that this ‘anthropological agenda is a sinister one that transcends, even as it includes, the cultivation of certain body-types for sportive purposes’.3 As an extension of this he conceives the hypothesis that ‘[h]igh-performance sport has become an exercise in human engineering that aims at producing not simply an athletic type, but a human type as well’.4 With the benefit of hindsight we have to concede that the idea of sport’s role as causing a wildly applauded breakthrough to a general optimization of the human organism has not become a reality. It is true that the pharmaceutical industry has invested heavily in recent years on the development of lifestyle medicines, but that has happened in spite of not because of developments in the area of sport, where the fight against performance-enhancing medication has, in fact, intensified. This example shows that, although there are common features, developments in sport and in surrounding society are not identical. Although the history of sport has focused to a large extent on parallels between the two and has taken sport on board as a phenomenon that mirrors society, it is particularly in its points

of difference from society that sport is interesting as a basis for understanding social development, and vice versa. In line with European sports criticism that established itself in the 1970s with works such as Jean-Marie Brohm’s Sport – A Prison of Measured Time (1975) and Bero Rigauer’s Sport and Work (1980, orig. 1969), Hoberman allowed his work to be influenced by the apparent coincidence in tendencies between the development of sport and of society. Today, however, we can see that those tendencies were not unambiguous. Irrefutable inconsistencies have come to light that force us to reconsider the relationship between sport, science and technology. As has been said, interest in the area has been most marked in the Anglo-Saxon world.

In Scandinavia, for example, it has been significantly less evident. The subject was taken up by the Danish state-financed Teknologinævnet (The Danish Board of Technology) with the launch of the anthology Sport og teknologi (Sport and Technology) (1994). The anthology took the form of an introduction to the research area and gave a brief description of developments in five branches of sport – athletics, sailing, cycle sport, tennis and windsurfing. In addition a couple of chapters dealt with the doping issue. The declared aim of the Board of Technology was to raise questions about the degree to which technological development in sport leads to a qualitative change in elite sport, and about ways in which technological innovations would influence sport as a whole. The initiative presented, therefore, a challenge to research into the links between sport and technology – but one that was never accompanied by significant investment in research. In Scandinavia the link has primarily been discussed in relation to the doping issue, which is reflected in Claudio Tamburrini and Torbjörn Tännsjö’s anthologies, Values in Sport: Elitism, Nationalism, Gender Equality and the Scientific Manufacture of Winners (2000) and Genetic Technology and Sport: Ethical Questions (2005). The same tendency is to be seen in Germany. Here, too, recent years have seen the publication of a long list of works whose emphasis is on medical and technological opportunities for optimizing the body’s capacity. This tendency is highlighted, for example, by the fact that Volker Caysa, the German whose account of the history of body culture entitled Körperutopien – Eine Philosophische Anthropologie des Sport (Body Utopias: A Philosophical Anthropology of Sport) (2003) is otherwise distinguished for the breadth of its treatment, also devotes special attention to the technologization and industrialization of the body through doping. The only general introduction to the subject that I am familiar with in German is Klaus Heinemann’s Die Technologisierung des Sports (2001), which came into being as a commission in much the same way as the aforementioned Danish book, Sport og teknologi. If we look towards France, we find a similar picture. While whole shelves of books could be filled with literature written about science and technology in relation to doping – the most interesting of which in this context is Patrick Lauré’s Historie du dopage et des conduites dopantes: les alchimistes de la performance (A History of Doping and Those Who Dope: The Performance Alchemists) (2004) – to my knowledge only one work exists that covers the area in general, namely Georges Vigarello’s richly illustrated Une histoire culturelle du sport – Techniques d’hier … et d’aujourd’hui (A Cultural History of Sport: Techniques of Yesterday … and Today) (1988). The works mentioned above are central in the context of their own domain, and they

provide a basis for the reflections of the present chapter. The breadth and diversity of the subject, however, make it impossible for a chapter on its history to paint the complete picture. Instead, this presentation will take a particular perspective. The chapter deals only with a small number of sporting disciplines. It is introduced by a short section providing a context and pointing up the relation between sport and war. There follow

examples from history of the effects of science and technology with an emphasis on improvements in materials and in the body, and the chapter concludes with a brief sketch of a scenario for the future.