I'm especially interested in major innovations that have to do with sports. Dick Fosbury's radically different way of going backwards over the high jump leaps to mind as a major track & field innovation that caused a real discontinuity in high jump records. In the same way, cross-country skiing had a huge innovation when skating passed the diagonal stride as the best way to move yourself down the snowy trail.
But this week when I was looking through some old books I noticed that even something as tradition-bound as horse racing seems to have gone through a major change in performance.
Here's an image of a jockey racing a horse from around 100 years ago. Notice the upright posture of the jockey while the horse is at full run.
But look at a more modern jockey:
Notice the crouch?
So... my big question for today is this: When did jockeys switch from the upright posture to the more compact form we see today?
For extra credit, how much of a difference does it make? Is the change just a stylistic change, or does it really make a difference in a horse race??
Answers tomorrow! Search on!