Few individuals among the world’s global athletic prowess to take a single sport and transform it into something that impresses, inspires and empowers — not just for their own glory but for generations to come. These global figures are athletes who know that there’s more to life than the sports field, the racecourse or the rink. Whether it’s fighting for athlete welfare, helping kids get off the streets or working to ensure athletes have a seat at the decision-making table, they have shown that being a global athlete is more than just about winning medals and becoming a celebrity.
Athletic prowess is one of the most complex human traits, involving numerous body systems that must interact to achieve top performance. Nevertheless, some key characteristics remain consistently reflected across sports. For example, certain body morphologies are naturally suited to particular sports and specific genetic variations predispose to particular performances.
Beyond Borders: Celebrating Global Athletic Prowess”
Since the introduction of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, scientists have analysed the development of world records (WR) using a wide range of models. Some authors used linear models assuming constant progression, while others preferred more physiological approaches, including piecewise exponential or non-linear sigmoid curves.
Economic context also affects the development of WRs, with countries and national federations investing resources into the most promising athletes in their respective disciplines. This may lead to the development of sport specialization, with elite athletes competing only in their chosen sports. In the long run, this will reduce financial support for sport organisations and may result in a sustained period of scarcity in world record achievements.