Part of the fun of watching the Olympics is living vicariously through your country's team. We like to think that if circumstances had been different, if we watched a little less Netflix, if our parents had just made us take gymnastics at an early age, or if we hadn't quit swimming to be a townsperson in the school musical, maybe that would be us on TV telling reporters how "speechless" and "thankful" we are to have won in front of the whole world.
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Of course, that's not true. Most of us plebes just don't have what it takes. But what does it take? We took a look through our archives to see some of the technology and training methods that help push already elite athletes over the top. Some of the techniques we found were unorthodox to say the least: belting a right-angled aluminum plate around your stomach while swimming, for one. But sometimes all it takes is one small adjustment - shifting your center of gravity on a high jump, for instance - to make a big difference.
We also break down how and why athletes keep breaking records, look at a silly endorsement by an Olympian of a product that probably didn't give him an edge and see how scientists test competitors for performance-enhancing drugs, to make sure their superhuman feats are, in fact, entirely human.
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