The quest for velocity in speed skating has driven the rivalry between countries to new heights at these Winter Olympics. While the Games are always a showcase for innovation, science and gadgetry, no matter what the sport, short-track and long-track speed skating are locked in a particularly heated technological race. Read the full investigation by The Globe’s Grant Robertson.
Here’s a look at some of the most advanced features:
While details about the high-tech new features of the American Mach 39 race suit by Under Armour have been released, those of the new Canadian aero suit have been kept under wraps. Here’s a look at the sport’s racing suits, highlighting both common and new features.
- The Mach 39 has a vent built into the spine of the suit for extra breathability and athlete comfort.
- The Mach 39 has a stretch zipper that bypasses the throat and runs diagonally across the chest, allowing skaters to stay zipped up for better comfort and aerodynamics.
- The Mach 39 hasmoulded, engineered, polyurethane aerodynamic shapes placed on critical areas of the suit to disrupt air flow around the athlete’sbody, improving speed.
- Suits in general have strategically placed seams to maximize movement.
- The Canadian aero suit is smooth like a shark’s skin to reduce friction, yet stretchy and comfortable.
- The Canadian aero suit material is breathable for body heat management.
- Suits can have a micro-thin Kevlar base layer to protect the skater from skate blade cuts.
- Most race suits have ultra slippery fabric on the inner thigh that helps cut down on friction.
- Many racing suits have built-in knee and shin pads.
TRISH McALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
SOURCES: UNDERARMOUR, APOGEE