High-Tech Olympic Suits
by Noah Casey, age 10 You probably watched the Olympic trials this summer, but how closely did you notice that runners and swimmers were wearing different kinds of athletic suits? These suits are designed to make them perform better.
About four years ago, Speedo’s LZR (laser) swimsuit was introduced. It made swimmers go faster with less effort. That’s right, Michael Phelps wore this suit and won eight gold medals. This suit makes you go so fast that it was banned because it gives the swimmers who wear them too big of an advantage. But the companies are not going to stop trying to develop similar products.
This year, Nike created running suits called the Nike Pro TurboSpeed. This suit was based on the same idea as the golf ball. When the game of golf was invented, the golf balls were smooth. But the players began to notice that when the golf balls were worn out, they went further. Scientists say that this is because there is more air flow around the smooth balls; meanwhile, the old worn out ball has less air flow and drag because the dents change the direction of the air pressure. This makes the golf balls travel faster. That’s why today’s golf balls are made with tiny pockets in them. Nike is taking this idea and running with it—literally.
Nike has applied these principles to its new track uniform. The suit has dimples in the arms, calves, shoulders, and any other area that can cause resistance while running. When testing the suits inside a wind tunnel, the Nike Pro TurboSpeed cut as much as 0.023 seconds off the runner’s speed in the 100-meter dash. Though this may seem insignificant to us, it can mean the difference between a gold and silver medal in the Olympics.