From the original ancient games to the modern Olympics, the central focus of Olympic competition, and of competitive sports in general, has been the development of the human body in order to achieve victory over an opponent. Originally, however, many sports were designed for religious and ritual purposes and to foster harmony between body and soul—and even balance between man and nature.
Yet a technological approach to sport has been present at least as far back as the 1890s, when Baron de Coubertin, who revived the Olympic Games in 1896, said, “Exercise science has devised several means for strengthening professional performance. It views the body as a complex performance machine comprised of many parts. Each part is independent and interchangeable.”