Olympics Uniforms: Nike U.S. Track And Field Gear Could Shave Time Off Sprints
NEW YORK - U.S. Olympic track and field athletes will wear uniforms at the London Summer Olympics that Nike says could shave up to 0.023 seconds off 100-meter sprint times – a difference that could have elevated Walter Dix from bronze to the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Dix still wouldn't have caught the fastest man in the world that day. Usain Bolt of Jamaica simply ran away from the field in the final, setting a world record that he would later break again.
But maybe these uniforms, with dimples that mimic a golf ball, could help the Americans close the gap on Bolt and his training partner, Yohan Blake.
The company said its tests showed an unexpectedly big difference in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races. The outfits were unveiled Thursday evening in New York.
"We couldn't believe the numbers," said Martin Lotti, Nike's Olympics creative director. "That's not just the difference between first and second place, it's about making the podium."
The added texture might seem counterintuitive, but the company studied the aerodynamics of golf balls and found the textures and dimples make it more efficient. Patterned patches are on the forearm and leg, the fastest-moving parts of the body.
"The logical thing would have been to make it smoother or use lighter materials, but we challenged ourselves to think differently," Lotti said. ...