This week we’ve been getting our dose of Olympic Track & Field and it’s fun to watch. That’s why NBC keeps us up so dang late… they know we’re going to stick around, even if NBC (and others) spoil the results all day long. It’s still fun to watch.
But of late, I was noticing Allyson Felix‘s (and other U.S. Olympian) big red running suits. Then I started wondering if there’s something to them or not. You see, I was noticing some features on the suits, like the subtle little bumps on the shoulders.
Turns out these big red suits are very fascinating indeed.
For one, they’re Nike suits. (In case you missed the swoosh logo)
For another thing, the red bodysuits are made from recycled plastic bottles. The full-length suits take 13 bottles to make one suit.
And yes, they’re specifically designed to help reduce drag on the runner. The tiny bumps on the suit act much like the dimples of a golf ball. To help aero drag.
Nike put these suits through a thousand hours of wind-tunnel testing and got feedback from Olympians like Allyson Felix and David Oliver.
And the suits are capable of shaving off roughly .023 seconds per 100 meters. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but when you think about some race finishes seeing .02 seconds difference between finishers, the suits can help.
Here’s some official jargon for those interested:
“Zoned Aerodynamics: Just as a golf ball’s dimples are designed to help it go farther and faster, NIKE uses a similar idea to help reduce the aerodynamic drag of the athlete. Using revolutionary Nike AeroSwift technology, patterns and surface architectures informed directly by wind tunnel data are strategically placed on key areas of the athlete’s form. The result offers the greatest aerodynamic drag reduction of any NIKE uniform to date.”
I thought this was something interesting.
Oh, and congrats to Allyson Felix for her Olympic achievement. That is so awesome to see people achieving their dreams. Proving that sometimes, lofty dreams, can indeed, by achieved.