13 May 2012

More Shark inspiration

The Olympian's New Clothes

Speedo Fastskin FSII 
SPEEDO'S NEW FASTSKIN SUIT, inspired by shark skin, is designed to reduce friction drag. Image: COURTESY OF SPEEDO
Drug use may be the most prominent controversy surrounding this summer's Olympic Games in Athens. But the second burning question concerns an entirely legal approach to getting the winning edge: namely, whether or not form-fitting fast-suits made from high-tech fabrics will decide which athletes bring home a medal.

These new garments will be most visible in high profile events such as swimming, but rowers and cyclists are sporting them as well. Although to the casual observer the suits might bring to mind costumes for the next Spiderman movie, they are less about good looks and more about their ability to reduce drag and thereby increase speed. In events in which the difference between gold and bronze is measured in tenths of a second, the fast suit an athlete wears may be the difference between winning a medal or not.

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/ Shirin

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