At this year’s Olympics, the gold medal goes to the quantified self


The age of the quantified athlete is upon us. Data-driven training is increasingly common in sports, and this year’s Olympics has no shortage of competitors who have—or should have—benefitted from fitness trackers and analysis.

Steven Nyman was a lackluster alpine skier when an injury put him out of commission in 2011. But during his recovery, he somehow became an unexpected contender for a gold medal in Sochi. His secret? He leaned into the data-driven practices of Troy Flanagan, director of high performance for the US ski team. “Every morning at 5:30,” Nyman told WIRED, “We’d wake up to measure our blood glucose, creatine kinase, and urea.” While the process was irritating to some of his teammates, Nyman relished the constant monitoring of performance and nutrition.

Of course, Nyman’s real success came from endless practice runs in a wind tunnel, where a real-time monitor quantified the aerodynamic drag on different parts…

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