Are we faster, stronger and higher?

Are we faster, stronger and higher?

Organisation: The Paper (China)

Publication Date: 04/10/2017

Applicant(s)

Description

The modern Olympic Games were held for more than 100 years. The Olympic motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger" was proposed in 1894 and has been official since 1924. Are we really faster, stronger and higher in all fields? If all the gold medalists for each event compete in the same race, what will we see? The mobile web app was intended to answer that question. We collected historical result data of 88 Olympic sports events and drew progression lines for each event. We excluded data of dual sports such as tennis and fencing, because the results were largely affected by performances of players in each race, and therefore the results are not suitable to represent the progressions of human kind. To focus the comparisons on the progressions, we standardized the dataset in two steps: First, we calculated time results into distance results, so athletes with better performances would have result data in larger values. For example, the 2012 London Olympics 100-meter race winner Usain Bolt set the Olympic record at 9.63 seconds, and the 1896 100-meter race winner Thomas Burke finished the race in 12 seconds (in the final round), which means if they compete with their record speeds, when Bolt reached the final line, Burke would only finish approximately 80 meters. Second, we transform the data into indexes. In the final dataset, all the 2012 London Olympics gold medalists are scored at 100, and the other medalists' data results are adjusted accordingly. In this way, we can see clearly which events made progresses, and which ones came to a standstill. We found that events like men's 100-meter had continuously made progresses, and events like men's long jump hadn't broken records for decades. On the other hand, although once facing bottle necks, events like high jump and swimming were managed to break through with the help of technology. The mobile web app also allows users to explore the data and find out progressions in sports events they are interested in. Further more, we produced a series of explainer videos on the progressions of human kind in sports. The videos unfold in four parts: Part 1 | An overview: are we faster, stronger and higher? the human kind limits are still unknown http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1507646 Part 2 | The influence of genetics: even those who were born to be athletes, have to break their own limits http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1508159 Part 3 | Besides long and hard training, are there better ways to championship? http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1508348 Part 4 | The use of technology: have they empowered us, or broken the rules? http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1508350

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

---Innovations--- 1. The visualization concept of the project is simple, but clear and powerful. The users can see clearly which sports kept making progresses, and which ones struggled. With the indexation process, the project managed to visualize a complicated dataset in a very effective way, which also correlates with a real-life question -- what will we see if all the gold medalists for each event compete in the same race, so the data is very easy to interpret. 2. The project didn't stop with the data presentation, it brings out the data findings and tried to give them answers with explainer videos. The data part presents the core facts, and encourages interaction; the videos tell the story in a more sentimental way. 3. The interaction is very simple, mostly activated by sliding; and it's very easy to use on mobile devices. Since the majority of our users come from mobile, we always apply mobile-first design. -- Impact-- The series (video+interactive) got more than 3 million hits online.

Technologies used for this project:

Data: Import.io, Excel Design: Illustrator, After Effects Code: HTML, CSS, JS, D3.js

Video

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