Index – Sports – Athletics should take an example from Formula 1
Seiko not only strives to meet the needs and expectations of its customers in business and private life, but is also making a growing name for itself in the world of sports. To “speak home” a little, he also supports Prospex-Delta, perennial initiator of the biggest European lake races, the Balaton Blue Ribbon catamaran with a chance of eventual victory and, in the world of athletics, the only time and distance measure since the World Championships. Marton Gyulai, Deputy General Manager of Budapest 2023 Zrt, which is organizing the World Cup in Budapest starting a week ago, shared behind-the-scenes information on the topic in our paper.
“It is inherent in sports that distance and time are measured with different mathematical numbers, without which it would be difficult to declare a winner,” Gyulai told Index.
“Of course, in the beginning there was no question of modern technology, and competitions were started with a starting pistol, by hand or with a handkerchief. The first automatic measurement took place at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, where the results were monitored with a certain Loebner camera. All the major innovations can be linked to the Summer Pentathlon Games The World Championships in Athletics have been held “only” since 1983. The next big step was the 1952 Olympics, where quartz watches were already used, and from 1972 everything became automatic.
According to Marton Gyolai, there are a million interesting things that require constant improvement and updating of technology.
“In current competitions, before athletes start competing, they receive their starting number in the so-called call room, from where they are called to the field.
It has a chip that makes the job easier: it sends data almost instantaneously, whether it’s distances, partial results or a target image.
When asked which achievement he considered the most important, he answered as follows:
“It would be very difficult to pinpoint one thing, it is a process, and all of them were necessary to get to where we are now. But if I had to mention something, I would mention the callback system, which detects possible jumps from the beginning, which made the fights more fair.” .
And when it comes to Seiko, it is interesting that not only time is measured, but also distance is measured digitally. “I’m not thinking about the high jump and the pole vault, but about the shot put and long jump competitions, where, thanks to a special technology, they can digitally see the change in the track on the sand or on the grass.”
“This VDM system – Measure distance with video – It’s practically like an X-ray, they take a picture before jumping or throwing, then they check how much the surface has changed, and that’s how they get the official result. Seiko has been at the highest level for 40 years, only in the World Cup, and their tools are extremely precise and flawless at a professional level.”
“We owe them a debt of gratitude, because in order to help prepare for the local World Cup, they supplied the athletes with starting machines used in competition on the training grounds, each worth several thousand dollars…”
The question arises as to how athletes relate to continuous innovations.
He added: “Although the modifications serve the sport, many people are against them, but then they get used to them and can deal with them. At the 2011 World Cup in Tegu, for example, there was an interesting case: in the women’s long jump, One of the competitors was very successful, and she saw where her butt had landed, and she was already celebrating the victory. However, during the jump, her hair tied in a ponytail touched the sand 20 cm from behind, and rule, rule, this impact had to be measured, and it VDM spotted him, so you didn’t win the gold medal. In 2017, at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade, one of the long jumpers got stuck while jumping – that’s another question, he made a great attempt and won the continental competition. And in 2019, in the men’s shot put in World Championships in Doha, the runners on the podium were separated by one centimeter (!), American Joe Kovacs won with 22.91, and his rivals finished with 22.90. If this technology had not existed, the final result would have depended on where the judge hung the measuring device. ..”
According to Marton Gyulai, despite the many innovations, athletics is still in dire need of further development, at least when it comes to entertaining fans.
“There must be progress as we see in Formula 1, as the American company Liberty Media is responsible for promoting this sport and exercising its commercial rights.
Infographics, an endless amount of data and interesting facts, we will not be bored for a minute during the broadcast. To put it mildly, it was all going in the direction of show business, which is what athletics should learn too. Because eight people running next to each other is not always interesting enough in 2023. For this, of course, you have to decide who is important: a few tens of thousands of people present on the spot or millions of fans sitting in front of the TV. Formula 1 clearly voted for the latter, and without revealing any secrets, the World Championships in Budapest could be an important milestone in athletics as well…”
We were also interested in whether equipment used in competitions was also used collectively during training by athletes.
“There is a big difference between using it privately and using it in live competitions. In training, the tools are completely different, mostly used by athletes and coaches, and analysis cameras are used to check movements and efforts. This is data that people do not really care about – although this may be a good trend.” However, we must move forward in this direction, and re-educate the fans a little so that they can also examine the events through a professional lens.”
“Asia is of course at the forefront of technological developments, but the United States and Europe are not far behind either, but the least developed countries – mostly in Africa and the Third World – start with a barrier here, as in other areas of life,” Gyulai revealed. Finally, we inquired about the current efforts made by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Presidential elections will be held in Budapest, and Sebastian Coe is preparing for his final term. I can’t reveal the details yet, but I’ve heard aspirations and plans that could lay the foundation for the long-term success of the sport, leaving some kind of legacy for the British diplomat.
The World Championships will be held in Budapest from August 19 to 27.
(Cover Photo: Kenta Harada/Getty Images)