Sportswear Gives Olympic Athletes The Edge - By: Catherine Harvey
Currently there are many different types of sportswear available to the public. These items range from jumpers to t-shirts to football boots and cover a wide range of sports that are on offer for today's person.
Due to the leap in technology in the past few years there has never been more of a selection of clothing for the average sportsperson. These new technological advances used include new fibres for clothing that make them lighter and stretch to the athlete's body a lot easier than before. This allows the person to have more freedom in his/her movement and get less bogged down from the weight advantages. With the 2008 Beijing Olympics coming up, many people are looking to the manufacturers to see what clothing they are bringing out to give all the athletes that split one hundredth of a second advantage over the other competitors.
One of the most anticipated sets of clothing is the new swimsuits that will be used in all of the swimming events of the Olympics. Because swimming is such an important event in the Olympic Games, a little advantage can mean the difference between winning and losing. This is the main stage where sportswear comes into its own.
Using the latest NASA technology and the help of the top shark experts, a company has produced a swimsuit for athletes that's fabric emulates that of a shark skin as much as possible. This enables the swimmer to have less drag through the water allowing him/her to be more 'slippery' when swimming. This allows the swimmer to achieve more speed and be more agile when competing.
Another great example of sportswear that is being introduced for athletes are all in one running suits.
Scientists have developed the idea of using a very light and stretchy fibre that 'moulds' to the runners body. It has been proven by scientists that this new all in one suit has 1lb less drag than standard running gear and this means there is less pulling the athlete back and allows the athlete to glide through the air at a faster rate. On a standard 100 metre sprint it was shown that an athlete can gain 12cm advantage over his competitors using this new suit.
Recently a new type of Rugby shirt has been introduced to allow rugby players more of an advantage. They have become tighter fitting to the player so as to not allow the opposing players to be able to get a good grip and to grab hold of the shirt and pull the player back.
Also recently a new fibre called Sensura has been released to allow sportswear to be more durable and comfortable. This fibre is currently only in production in the USA but many companies in Europe are seeing this opportunity and are trying to incorporate it into their new range of fabrics. This allows the sports person to be able to have free movement as well as the fabric being very soft on the skin and comfortable when wearing it. Also because all sportswear needs to be washed very often the fabric has been developed to be shrink resistant.
Many of these fibres have different uses in the world of sport, but one of the most important sports to have great clothing is sailing. This is because the clothing needs to be light and durable as well as stretchy because of the movement involved in racing sailing boats and the activities involved. It needs to be tight fitting and not baggy because wind resistance in the clothing needs to be down to none. This allows no distractions to the sailor when sailing with his t-shirt, for example, blowing around in his face.
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Sports expert Catherine Harvey talks to technology expert James Parker about what makes competitive sportswear and what athletes should be on the look out for.