well, I am not sure about talent.. talent is timeless... but having better equipment, training facilities and history/information/experience to draw upon can shape the outcomes of that talent and the the rate of the progression.
Also, being in the right place at the right time with the right ideas can cause progression.
Add some glory and money.. and people will progress in just about anything. But if something just don't feel right, or is dangerous, or is capped by rules: that will curtail progression too.
I find it interesting to hear climber Reinhold Messner talk about the progression of mountain climbing, and he was at the pinnacle of the sport for a number of years too and he seems more than happy to pay credit where it's due..
"You have to know that each generation has to invent the new challenges" 1:12
"It's a question of fantasy and creativity and approaching the mountains in a different way."
- Ridonkulous Advancement