Whether they score an additional goal in football or win another set in tennis, sports people everywhere like to win. So it is not surprising that athletes have always been willing to use technology to enhance their performance. But the use of some new technologies raises troubling questions.
Today, there are new advances in almost every field of sport. The poles used by pole-vaulters are no longer made of flexible wood; instead, they consist of lightweight aluminium and fibreglass. The surface of the track used by runners has changed from coal, used in the 1930s, to plastic, latex and rubber. And swimmers today wear swimsuits made of a new fabric called Fastskin.
Partly as a result of these changes, new records have been set. But does this mean that athletes are no longer competing against each other, that the technologies are competing instead? Already, it is hard to measure the performances of sports people today against those of times gone by. Is there any point in comparing the achievements of past baseball players, who used bats of white ash wood, with those of today’s players, who use bats made of stronger, lighter maple wood?
Many people believe that the use of some advanced technologies takes the sporting element out of certain activities. They wonder if it is fair to use heat-seeking missiles to shoot birds, or darts that are electronically guided. And what about the cost of new equipment? Competitions that allow expensive technology automatically favour competitors who can afford it. In order to keep competitions fair, sports committees have sometimes banned expensive innovations.
How important is it to win? Is winning at all costs worth it? What should the goal of sporting competitions be? There are no easy answers, only questions.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
ANSWER QUESTIONS 1-2 ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE TEXT. USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
1) Why is it difficult to compare the performances of past and present athletes?
2) How can new technologies take the sporting element out of certain activities?
- They can reduce the level of skill required and give richer competitors an advantage over the others.
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT.
3) The use of technology to enhance performance is new.
- False (lines 2-3) “athletes have always been willing to use technology to enhance their performance.”
4) The surface of tracks used by runners is now made of coal from the 1930s.
- False (lines 7-8) “The surface of the track used by runners has changed from coal, used in the 1930s, to plastic, latex and rubber.”
5) Technological advances have helped set new records in many sports.
6) Sporting committees sometimes forbid the use of expensive equipment.
II. USE OF ENGLISH
7) Find in the text a synonym for IMPROVE (verb)
8) Give one opposite for FAIR (adjective, line 15)
9) Find in the text the word which has the following definition:
“to be able to pay for” (verb)
10) Give an adjective with the same root as COMPETITIONS (noun, line 16)
11) Turn the following sentence into the passive voice.
The use of some new technologies raises troubling questions.
12) Join the following sentences using a relative pronoun. Make changes if necessary.
A new fabric called Fastskin is worn by many swimmers today. It is believed to enhance performance.
- A new fabric called Fastskin, which is believed to enhance performance, is worn by many swimmers today.
- A new fabric called Fastskin, which is worn by many swimmers today, is believed to enhance performance.
13) Rewrite the sentence without changing its meaning. Begin as indicated.
But does this mean that athletes are no longer competing against each other?
- But does this mean that there is no longer competition between athletes?
14) Give a question for the underlined words.
Expensive innovations are sometimes banned in order to keep competitions fair.