What it Takes to Win a Gold Medal
What it Takes to Win a Gold Medal
With Tokyo 2020 well underway, the world’s eyes are on some of the greatest athletes from all over the world. The Olympics represents the pinnacle of sporting competition, with athletes performing at the very top of their respective fields. But it’s not just those taking part who need to be at the top of their game. The wrong equipment or kit can hold even the best sportspeople back from their full potential, and each Olympic Team must be set up for success with equipment and kit that advances with them.
As a proud supplier to several of the best-known sportswear brands seen at the Olympics, we explore what it takes to make a gold-medal winning kit and the innovation that goes into every design.
Practice Makes Perfect
Some brands begin development for athletic kits just after the previous Olympic event has finished, making the processes behind new designs up to four years long. Athlete performance is analysed carefully, quite often with no limit on the resources or budget attributed to them. Athletes often work very closely with brands, taking part in wearer trials throughout the development stages. Huge amounts of testing are conducted, including collaborative projects with universities and institutions which include individual muscle scans for movement, and hi-tech equipment and procedures, even understanding how shipping conditions from our factories affect bonded products.
Individual team processes are often kept closely under wraps – with only a select few kept on top of progression until they’re ready to launch.
With an almost constant test and learn process comes the need for constant technical improvement in athlete equipment and kit. In this year’s Olympics, we’ll see the debut of innovations such reflective bonded elastics, and new water-repellent finishes. Fibre-J/X4J technology (or FIT-J) has also been included in certain areas – a narrow elastic fabric that maintains shape and perfect fit at any size, while offering maximum comfort.
Bonded seams continue to represent some of our most exciting innovations in Olympic kits, with experiments in densities, glue thickness and power pushing teams towards their very best results.
Ensuring that each individual athlete is supported in their field with kit that performs under the immense pressure of Olympic events is paramount. Olympic swimwear for example, always requires bonded seams, because sewn seams can create drag in the water, becoming detrimental when timing is crucial down to the millisecond.
On the other hand, Gymnasts rely on precision and perfection of a sequence, with the total time it takes for completion far less important. Designs need to consider every detail down to the type of bonding, the number of logos (not to mention as the colour of each), and the width of elastics used. On top of how each element impacts performance, a designer will also need to ensure the result complies fully with Olympic rules – making it an intricate and sometimes tricky process.
Whether your end user is looking to break world records in sports, or personal bests in how long they stay on the sofa, we’re proud to be one of the world’s leading forces in innovative narrow elastics and covered yarns. Get in contact to find out how our innovations could put you at the top of the podium.