In the Summer Olympics of 2000, many swimmers donned fancy new suits that were aerodynamically designed and, in the minds of many, brought in more medals. With the upcoming Winter Olympics, speed skaters from the U.S., The Netherlands, and Australia will sport a new body suit being developed by Nike on their way to the gold. So secret are the materials and design of the suit that researchers had the Olympic Oval cleared of all arena personnel and the media for secret tests.
Could this be the future of speed skating
fashion? Nike reveals all Friday.
Rick MacDonald, Innovation Director with Nike's Global Apparel Div., has led the six-year project. According to him, the difference between this speedwear and previous suits is that instead of one overall fabric, six different fabrics were chosen (out of 60 reviewed) for specific body parts depending on the part's aerodynamic properties.
In addition, the designers performed wind tunnel testing in the Kirsten Wind Tunnel at the University of Washington's Aeronautical Lab. They also used body mapping technologies by studying skater's movements and the effects of different elements on the athlete and his or her performance. More information about the suit is being released to the public on Friday, January 11 and Design News will follow up at that time.
For more information on innovations at the Olympics, check out the February 4 issue of Design News online.