The phrase "it's the taking part that counts" will never mean less than it will over the next few weeks to the boys and girls who come in fourth, shattered, in more ways than one… As the world's finest assume their starting positions over the weekend, the months, if not years, of training, honing, dieting and punishing their bodies to finish first, are put to the ultimate test… These bodies that have been designed to win start blurring the lines between human and super-human.
The Design Museum's current exhibition looks at the technological innovations that have helped to advance sporting endeavours over the years, highlighting that, while super-human effort and punishing training schedules are imperitive, a bit of featherwight Neoprene and carbon fibre can't help either. It's a thought that will comfort me as I reach for the second GnT during the opening ceremony tonight. It's not my fault I'm not sporty, I was never allowed Nike Air Max when I was a kid.
While the exhibition may seem like one for tech-fans, it's a great insight into how sport and design have become so mutually inclusive, and mutually beneficial. While we're used to phrases like sports-luxe being banded about in catwalk reports, it is interesting to see the origins of these futuristic materials and their real intended purpose. Neoprene may look great in an A-line skirt, but it looks even better on the back of an Olympic gold medal winner.
From sneakers to Formula 1 car designs, the engineering and scientific advancements that have been made since London last held the Olympics in 1948, are pretty astounding - so much so that the exhibition can't ignore the debate over where the human-being ends and the sport-cyborg begins...One of the pieces on display is the controversial Speedo LZR swimsuit, which has enabled wearers to break all sorts of records due to it's fancy construction and bells-and-whistles streamlining technology. Now, if you gave me one of those to wear, I'm pretty sure I'd make it to the fridge and back in record time to catch the start of the ceremony.
Designed to Win runs until November 18th, 2012 at the Design Museum, London