Nike has debuted brand new Olympic sprinting uniforms that could potentially shave 0.023 seconds off a 100-meter times at the London Olympics.
While that sounds like a tiny fraction of time, it would have elevated American Walter Dix from bronze to silver at the Beijing games in 2008.
Nike said that testing they did on the uniforms shows that there was an unexpectedly big difference in times at short distances like the 100, 200 and 400.
The body suits are designed with dimples woven into the fabric that mimics the outside of a golf ball. It allows the bodies of the runners to cut through the air better than they would be able to in any other type of garment.
The dimples are only present in white patches on the arms and legs of the suit, the fastest moving parts of the body. They help runners use less energy as they pump their arms and legs, thereby allowing more energy to be used for generating speed.
Body suits making Olympians demonstrably faster has become a trend in recent games. In 2008, the US and Australian swim teams had special suits designed by Speedo and they proceeded to obliterate large sections of the world record books.
In Vancouver in 2010, the US Ski teams had one of their best Olympics ever thanks to speed suits made by Spyder specifically for the games. Now it appears as though the sprinters will get some help as well.