Can we keep getting faster, better, stronger?

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Photo by Gemma Dempsey
Every four years, the world focuses on Olympic athletes. The pressure is on—for the Gold, instead of the Silver or Bronze—with the expectation of world record performances. How much longer can this go on? The demands on Olympic athletes are more than physical: they are psychological. And, now that sports are a multi-billion dollar business, they’re economic as well. Will human beings always be able to be “faster, higher and stronger”–or are we approaching the limits of the human species?

Warren talked to Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and author of “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To.” Beilock talks about what leads athletes and other performers to choke and methods to avoid it.

Warren also talked to Jeff Peakall, environmental fluid dynamics researcher at the University of Leeds and Director of the Sorby Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, about how swimsuits affect the sport. Peakall has also worked with Speedo to design suits that help give swimmers a competitive edge.

And listen to this interview with Robert Forster of Santa Monica, a physical therapist who’s been to five Olympiads. One of his athletes, Dawn Harper, won a silver medal in the 100 meter hurdles and Allyson Felix won gold in the 200-meter sprint.

You can hear the full To the Point on whether athletes can keep getting faster below: