The need for speed: tech in sport and GB Ski-X athlete Harry Lovell

Written by Published 2018-02-01 09:38:16

Technology is changing the world. Communications are instant, iPhones are running our lives and cloud computing is now the norm. Autonomous cars are nearly here and financial applications such as Monzo are revolutionising traditional banking. Tech is making our lives richer, more streamlined, easier - and for many - simply better.

The impact of tech is particularly apparent in the sporting arena and behind any high profile sport is a great tech story. Virtually all athletes use IoT technology, for example, and data is captured and analysed to reduce injury, optimise training, improve performance - and to make the fan experience richer and more interactive than ever.

The clearest example of tech helping to improve sports performance can be seen in the 100m sprint. Back in 1964, Bob Hayes set the record at 10.06 seconds, which in itself was a pretty amazing time. However, since then, more and more time has been shaved off these records, culminating in Usain Bolt’s eye watering 9.572 second sprint 2009. Technology has paid a major part in this progress – through hours spent trawling over race footage, examining body position, monitoring health performance and much more.

Hitting the slopes with Harry

Harry Skis
With the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics just around the corner, at VIRTUS, we’ve recently turned our attention to skiing; another sport that’s seen
progress fuelled by technology. Changes in the shape of skis and huge amounts of research into aerodynamics have allowed teams and skiers to make significant strides. This progression is happening across all areas of the sport and none is more exciting than in Ski Cross. Ski Cross, unlike most skiing disciplines, is not against the clock but against three other competitors. If you haven’t seen it before, this is what it looks like.

We’re proud to be sponsoring Harry Lovell, a Ski Cross athlete for the British Academy. Harry’s story shows great determination and commitment - and he’s a tech evangelist to boot.

Harry first put on a pair of skis when he was three years old and was hooked immediately. He began alpine racing at the age of twelve and competed successfully until he left school. Harry became heavily involved in freestyle skiing, especially during his time in Canada and New Zealand, where he picked up sponsorship from Line skis, Full Tilt Boots, Marker bindings and the Extreme Sports Channel. Harry’s first encounter with Ski Cross was at the “Brits” in 2006 when he won the Under 18’s competition. This sparked his interest and he has been passionate about it from that day on. Harry is very much looking forward
to competing throughout Europe next winter.

Technology plays a huge part in Harry’s training, and his performance is significantly influenced by great tech. Cameras are used to capture information
about his performance, helping him develop and refine technique. Harry’s smartwatch also helps him to reduce his resting heart rate, assisting his ability to perform at altitude, and even Harry’s clothing is engineered to give him extra speed.

And, of course, with races all over Europe, cloud computing is a huge part of Harry's life. Videos and records are easily accessed anytime, anywhere, without carrying around a bulky laptop or risking losing it all on a hard drive; letting Harry focus on what he does best.

The synergies between tech-savvy Harry and VIRTUS are numerous, and we’re pleased to see how technology is assisting in driving his success in this
exciting sport. We look forward to playing a small part in Harry’s journey and wish him huge luck for this winter!