Get ready for super suits, Sochi.
Thanks to Under Armour and Lockheed Martin, U.S. speedskaters will be wearing some of the most technologically advanced gear in the sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
According to Lorraine Mirabella of The Baltimore Sun, Under Armour teamed up with the aerospace technology company to create a skin suit of unsurpassed comfort and aerodynamics. Designers insist that the result will be a measurable increase in performance for the U.S. athletes.
Initial development of the suit began over two years ago, and the laborious testing methods were kept secret. Until now.
The suit is called the "Mach 39," and it is the final product of over 300 hours of wind tunnel testing and experimentation. Under Armour and Lockheed Martin utilized high-speed cameras to ascertain the most important positions a skater enters over the course of a race.
Custom fiberglass mannequins were created of each position and clothed in over over 100 different materials to help the companies determine which fabrics registered the least drag in each section of a skater’s race.
“There wasn’t any one position to put a skater or mannequin in to test,” said Kevin Haley, Under Armour’s vice president of innovation, per Mirabella. “We built six different mannequins that captured the most important positions.”
The companies ultimately concluded that no one material was superior in all sections of a speedskating competition. Using their findings, they decided to create a skin suit out of a number of different materials, placing each fabric throughout the garment in a way that maximizes aerodynamic efficiency in the most important speedskating positions.
Also, from a less technical standpoint, these things look B.A.
Click here for more pics.
Be on the lookout for these suits in action this weekend. The men’s 5,000 meters begin at 6:30 a.m. ET. I predict the suits will help Team USA—if not from a technical standpoint, at least from a psychological one.
You got to feel fast to go fast, right?
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