Big Data Success Story: Olympic Women’s Cycling Team

Posted in Databases


Doping has been a major problem in sports for quite a while. Now big data enables athletes to enhance their performance without drugs and without ruining their health. Oh yes, and without being banned for life from their sport!

The method involves the use of inexpensive sensors fixed onto the athletes and coupled with their cellphones. The cellphones transmit the acquired data to a remote computer for further analysis. But let’s get a little more specific…

Flashback to the London Olympics, 2012. The US Women’s Cycling Team was in a unenviable position: their timing was 5 seconds below the minimum required to even qualify! Bummer.

They fixed sensors onto each bike and started collecting data to find patterns in it, hoping that these patterns would tell them how they could improve to make the grade. Unfortunately (and typically) there was so much data that even looking at it wanted to make them quickly shut their computers and go lie down.

Someone then told them that patterns would be easy to recognize if they visualized the data using pie charts and other graphic representations of the data. They got hold of a good visualization program and immediately saw meaningful patterns in the data… it was obvious from those patterns if they made certain changes to their routines, behavior and lifestyles, there would be significant improvements in their cycling performance.

They implemented the changes suggested by the data visualization and bang, they won a silver at the Olympics!

Come back for more Big Data success stories and get in touch with us here if you want us to help you with your own!

To your success with data,


Lucky Balaraman

Executive Director, The Magnum Group

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