Who needs comic books when Olympic athletes wear outfits that make them look like superheroes?
IT IS such a pity when the fantastic becomes commonplace, if not mundane.
It was about two years ago, before and during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, that the "new breed" of super-aquadynamic - as opposed to aerodynamic - swimsuits like the Speedo LZR Racer were introduced with much controversy.
These swimsuits are a far cry from what you wore when dad threw you off the end of that pier to teach you to swim, and really caused quite a stir, as various tongues wagged about how records were about to be broken, and that it was unfair to teams that did not have this new technology at their disposal.
POLYMERS ON ICE
Technological advances continue to aid athletes in their quest for Olympic victory, but in the short time since the Summer 2008 Olympics, hyper-incredible suits seem to be the norm now.
At the start of the XXI Winter Olympics Games in Vancouver, Canada, the Netherlands-based chemical producers DSM Dyneema touted its contributions towards Dutch skating via Sweden-based athletic clothing supplier, CRAFT.
The companies are using a combination of nylon and DSM Dyneema's Dyneema, an ultra-strong polyethylene fiber, to create a one-layer skin suit for speed skaters. Usually speed skaters must wear a heavier two-layered uniform. DSM Dyneema claims its product is up to 15 times stronger than steel "and up to 40% stronger than aramid fibers."
Meanwhile, the Canadian speed skating team is being outfitted in aerodynamic gear built by Japan-based Descente, from designs created with the organizations Speed Skating Canada and the Canadian National Research Council's Institute for Aerospace Research.
American speed skater Shani Davis competed wearing a special suit created by US-based athletic clothing giant Nike.
So when the speed skating competitions began at the Vancouver Olympics, were the new suits the big topic of conversation?
Hardly: Most chatter seems to be about malfunctioning ice machines, as over the first three days of the Games, three Zambonis broke down, sometimes delaying the meets by an hour or so.