July 3, 2008 Shaving milliseconds of personal best times could mean the difference between gold and silver at the forthcoming Beijing Olympics - and once again high-tech clothing is seen as one way of finding that extra yard. Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit has already had a record run since its release in February and now it's Nike's turn to bask in the Olympic spotlight with the unveiling of its new ultra-lightweight uniforms for the USA’s 2008 Track and Field team (USATF).
The new uniforms feature drag-reducing Nike Swift materials which the company says translates to a benefit of about .02 of a second in the 100m.
The Swift System of Dress lets athletes customize what they’re wearing while increasing aerodynamic advantages on key parts of the body. Socks, along with gloves and arm coverings made from dimpled fabrics (like a golf ball) to cut wind resistance are included in the range. According to Nike, the design team found that compared with bare skin, the gloves and arm coverings reduce drag by 19% and the socks by 12.5 %.
Ultra- lightweight Track and Field Footwear from Nike will also feature in the uniforms. Kara Goucher and Bernard Lagat will perform in the Zoom Matumbo -Nike’s lightest distance track spike - and Lagat will also wear the middle distance Zoom Victory Spike. Both shoes are lighter than Michael Johnson’s gold spikes from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.