Haake has made a career out of applying scientific principles to the often hard-to-quantify medium of sports performance. As the director of the Center for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, Haake studies everything from the physics of tennis to the role technology has played in the history of sport. Haake recently penned a story for Physics World on this exact topic--the effect of rule change and technology on sporting performance over time. In it he describes why sporting performance has continued to improve through the years (better coaching and nutrition, population increases) as well as why we see step-changes in the data--peaks and valleys that are generally the result of some kind of external factor beyond athletic performance, like a new technology, a change in the rules, or even simply the weather. But this kind of analysis can also serve a more urgent purpose--to make sure we don’t miss any water-cooler-worthy moments in London over the next two weeks.