For world-class athletes, technology can offer them an edge in a competitive field with some of the best sportsmen and women in the world. The synergy between the human and technological aspects of sports is more visible than ever in the Paralympics, taking place this week in London.
Not content to play second-fiddle to the Olympics, this year’s Paralympics are set to be the biggest yet. 11.2 million people tuned into the opening ceremony Wednesday (if you missed it, check out the photos here) and Locog, responsible for organising the Olympics and Paralympics, is confident all 2.5m tickets available for the games will sell out.
The Paralympics features many events similar to familiar Olympic events, such as swimming, cycling, as well as some more unusual events like wheelchair rugby, boccia and blind football (where the football contains audible ball bearings).
Polyurethane plays an important role in the prosthetics available to many of the athletes participating in the games. World-record holding triathlete Sarah Reinertsen, makes use of a prosthetic limb designed by Nike and Össur; a polyurethane layer sits between the outer sole and the carbon fibre blade. Polyurethane can also be found in wheelchair tyres and footballs (don’t forget to check out our video on the contribution of polyurethanes to sports).
To see some of the technology utilised by athletes in the games, have a look at the Rio 2016 Paralympics video, already available, for a snapshot of these incredibly inspirational athletes.