Advancements in shoe technology have garnered headlines and stirred controversy recently for the way they boost performance. But three vaunted world records have fallen in recent weeks thanks in part to wavelight technology, a system of flashing lights that helps runners keep pace with record times.
There are no plans to use the lights at high-profile events such as the Olympics or world championships, where runners angle more for titles than for records. But the lights have been deployed in a handful of a single-day meets this year at which chasing world records was the primary target, generating buzz among fans, coaches and analysts.
Some appreciate the visual cues when watching on television or a computer. Others worry that the runners are benefiting from an artificial aid that wasn’t available to previous generations.
“If our activity is sport, our business is entertainment,” Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, the global
Two controversial world records were set on Wednesday over the course of a historic hour. Joshua Cheptegei broke the men’s 10,000m record, shaving six seconds off the previous time, while Letesenbet Gidey took four seconds off the women’s 5,000m time earlier at the event.
Both athletes made history while wearing Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, a new version of the Nike Vaporfly shoe worn by a number of world record breaking athletes, including Mo Farah.
At the event in Valencia, which had been branded as “World Record Day” in advance, Cheptegei broke a world record that had been set in 2005 by Kenenisa Bekele. The 24-year-old now possesses both the 10,000m and 5,000m world record, having broken the latter earlier this year.
Gidey’s performance in the women’s 5000m was just as astounding, recording a time of 14min 6.62sec, breaking Tirunesh Dibaba’s 2008 record.