SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. has been using its social listening tool SPORTS RADAR to monitor sentiment around the major debates at the Winter Olympics. On day 6 of the games, the software takes aim at the debate around technology’s place in Olympic sport, in particular Team GB’s skeleton suits.

Skeleton Suits in the Closet – Team GB’s quest for incremental sliding gains

One of the main debates on day 6 focused around Great Britain’s skeleton suits. Team GB had surprised their rivals in early practices, with Dom Parsons, Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas all outperforming their World Cup rankings. Sliders from other nations, along with many in the media, had responded by suggesting that a substantial factor in the performance boost was Team GB’s custom skinsuits, going so far as to claim that GB may even be playing mind games by releasing information on the technology to the press in the build up to the racing.

Although the suits were cleared by the International Bobsleigh and Sled Federation, the media debate raged on. SPORTS RADAR assessed the sentiment behind the discussion, revealing mixed opinions even as the British riders began their first runs.

Whilst in fact the suit technology embraces many technologies and principles behind British Cycling’s recent velodrome dominance, some of the general public were under the impression that the technology was similar to the swim suits that have been used at recent Summer Games. Groups who noted these factors tended to feel that pushing at the boundaries of technology was in the nature of sport and therefore to be encouraged. It is true that similar questions were raised about Amy Williams’ helmet during her run to 2010 gold.

However, others felt that the Olympics is meant to be a place where every country has an equal opportunity and access to the same technology and equipment available for their sport. In the arms race for incremental advantage, the playing field can often be as level as the skeleton track itself.

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