New speed skating suit

A new speed skating suit debuts at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

by Illustration courtesy of Nike
More than 60 materials were tested for Nike's new speed skating suit. Six made the cut.Illustration courtesy of Nike

Nike's new speed skating suit, which promises reduced drag, will debut on United States, Dutch, and Australian teams during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Whereas previous speed skating suits used only one textile, Nike's suit employs six -- each specific to the aerodynamic properties of that body area.

Developers used body-mapping technologies to study movement, and the effects of natural and artificial elements on those movements. Wind tunnel testing helped determine specific aerodynamic properties optmized by the different fabrics.

Six years in the making, Nike believes the suit is as fast as it can be.

"But the only tangible measure is a skater crossing the finish line during competition," said Rick MacDonald, who led the project for Nike apparel's Advanced Innovation Team.