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Longevity of athletic records tells us which ones are being "manufactured" by training technology.

Swimming and distance running records keep falling frequently. Sprinting records last longer. In the extreme, long jump records get broken about once in 20 years. This gives us a key to differentiating true talent from the mere machinery of manufacturing prime athletes.

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  • Jun 12 2013: Some athletic events are definitely more physical ability driven, like long jump, as you mentioned. Others are definitely more related to equipment. Take the year that the United States set a whole slew of athletic records based on the swim suit that is now banned from competition. If the technology can be applied to improve the event, then it has to do with both ability and tech. If the event is not technology based, then it is about talent, training and skill.

    Granted, training programs continue to improve and the human body continues to develop and increase in its ability. There will be a finite level at which the human body can be pushed too before it can not improve by itself. I think we see that in the sports you are referring too.

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