Thanks Oscar!

Michelle Perkins, director schools Outreach Programme at Capgemini writes a guest blog on how Paralympian Oscar Pistorius got her thinking. ‘Blade runner’ Pistorius’ outburst made news after he took silver and claimed his Brazilian rival used longer carbon fibre prosthesis than should be allowed.

English: Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World cha...

Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World championships Athletics in Daegu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oscar Pistorius’ outburst after taking silver divided the sporting fraternity.  However, Oscar’s untimely comments, got me thinking. It’s debated often in this forum that not enough women are joining the IT industry.  Are we missing a trick?  Is this the time for us to showcase the role that science, technology, engineering and maths played in hosting such a great games and generating champion performances from Victoria Pendleton, Ellie Simmonds and friends?

From the Velodrome to Eton Dorney, technology has supported the Olympians and Paralympians to glory, whilst on the courts of Wimbledon the crowds held their breath waiting for the results of challenges.  Technology has actually dictated the direction of the pole vault and javelin – making one higher and curtailing the other.  One could even say that without the precision of the timing equipment Clare Balding and Chad’s dad would still be strangers!

What about Danny Boyle’s creative vision?  Without technology he may be suffering from unfulfilled nightmares and not be in line for a knighthood!

And now, we know the engineering and technology that go into those incredible blades – seriously if you had the ability who wouldn’t want to make Oscar Pistorius go faster?

The Olympics and Paralympics are of course all about elite athletics.  But the mantra of “inspire the next generation” should fuel interest in both participating in and watching live sport – a hotbed for using technology.  From pedometer and nutrition apps, to ticketing databases and supporter updates and diagnostic equipment (for those injuries!) this is a time for technology to shine too.

So, let’s make sure young girls take to the judo mat, their bikes, the pool and the track but let’s remember that for those who won’t be Jess Ennis or Sarah Storey – maybe a career supporting the next generation of elite athletes is just as valuable!


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