On Thursday night, Nike unveiled the official, high-tech Olympic uniforms for the US Track and Field team. The proudly all-American looks are lean, mean and designed for extreme speed, hence their “Pro TurboSpeed” name, and developed with classic Americana in mind: Martin Lotti, Nike’s Olympics creative director, likened the new red uniforms to Corvettes, pick-up trucks and Cadillacs. The gold medal-winning track and field athletes Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Michael Johnson were guests of honor at the presentation, where they shared recollections of their past medal-winning garb.
Nike’s track and field attire has a sophisticated edge, and the looks rival Stella McCartney’s lithe Team Great Britain designs in the fashion front. More importantly for the athletes, the outfits offer a competitive advantage: the streamlined uniforms reduce “aerodynamic drag” and can reputedly shave 0.023 seconds off 100-meter sprint times. American runners will also be wearing Nike sneakers that utilize “Flyknit Technology,” an advanced hybrid footwear being developed in the company’s labs. The innovations represent something of a breakthrough for the sport; while aquatic athletic wear has enjoyed major advances lately, landwear has experienced less evolution, leaving every terrestrial Olympian’s fate up to his/her own two feet.
Lotti enthused that Nike’s series of 100- through 400-meter test runs showed promising results for the uniforms’ performance benefits. “We couldn’t believe the numbers,” he said as the uniforms were presented to the media. “That’s not just the difference between first and second place, it’s about making the podium.”