Go to contents

State-of-the-art attire and shoes at the Olympics

Posted September. 26, 2000 19:47,   


Mankind's effort to go just 0.01 seconds faster is an endless one. This is especially true in swimming and sprint competitions, where 1/100ths of a second decides the winner. As long as there are limitations to human capability, science will be needed to break records. For swimmers and sprinters, their shoes and attire are a science in themselves.

At the Sydney Olympics, the full body swimsuit, which reduces friction with water, was a sensation. In 13 events, including the men's 100m freestyle race, 13 world records were set (7 men's, 6 women's). Experts agree that the full body swimsuit was the factor.

The U.S. swim team, which won the 4x100 medley relay, gave the full body suit credit for their world record performance.

As the full body swimsuit became a sensation at the Olympics, the maker of the suit is boasting that it can reduce times by 3%.

In track and field, Marion Jones and Maurice Greene, the winner of the women's and men's 100m races, as well as 400m winner Michael Johnson, praised their specially designed shoes provided by Nike. In the case of Jones' semi-transparent plastic shoe, the special feature was that there was nothing covering her heel. Nike took into consideration the fact that Jones' heel never touches the track and eliminated the heel part, making the shoe only 100g. Michael Johnson succeeded in defending his Olympic 400m title with his 24k gold shoe. Australian heroine Cathy Freeman drew attention with her full body suit, which covered her from head to toe.

Kim Sang-Soo ssoo@donga.com