The US Olympic Track and Field team’s uniforms will benefit from the same technology that gives golf balls their soaring aerodynamics, according to Nike. Unveiled earlier this month, the uniforms can remove up to 0.023 seconds from a 100-meter sprint.
To the casual fan this may seem inconsequential but in the Olympic world these sorts of improvements are game-changing. Jill Geer, the chief communications officer for USA Track and Field remarked:
It’s a sport of hundredths and thousandths — there has been no great leap forward in track and field, like the suits swimming had. But if there is a possible benefit of shaving some amount of time off of a performance, that’s fantastic.
She’s referring to swimming, where in 2008 uniforms designed by Spyder helped the USA team and its breakout star, Michael Phelps, startle the world with record-setting times.
The uniforms are light and sleek all around–nothing new in Olympic design. What gives them their edge is a set of dimpled patches on the forearm and leg. The dimples work on the same principles as golf balls. As airflow encounters traditional uniform material, it is quickly separated, creating drag. The new uniforms delay this separation of airflow, leading to less drag and quicker races.
The promo below shows the uniform’s technology in action.
Look for these and many more Nike-designed uniforms in the coming weeks at the 2012 London Olympic Games.