Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nike Unveils Team USA’s Most Innovative, Lightest Footwear and Apparel Designs Ever


Nike athletes, including discus thrower Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way (left/photo by Paul Merca), premiered Nike’s USA Track and Field (USATF) uniforms, which will be worn by members of the 2008 Olympic Team for Track & Field, before a sold-out crowd of 20,000 fans at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials.

Nike was born in Eugene, Ore. and first introduced its iconic Swoosh on Hayward Field at the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials. Over 30 years and hundreds of medals later, Nike continues to innovate for the world’s top athletes.

Nike’s USATF uniforms feature new Nike Swift materials, reducing weight to achieve less drag and faster times, and also include Nike Aerographics and the “We the People” graphic. With seven percent less drag than the Athens version, wearing the new Nike Swift Suit translates to a benefit of about .02 of a second in the 100m.

The Nike Swift System of Dress lets athletes customize what they’re wearing while increasing aerodynamic advantages on key parts of the body. Socks, gloves and arm coverings—an entire system of dress—were developed by Nike so sprinters could run faster. For example, the Nike Swift gloves and arm coverings have dimpled fabrics like a golf ball to cut wind resistance and allow arms to slice through the air faster. In testing, the design team found that compared with bare skin, the gloves and arm coverings reduce drag by 19 percent and the socks by 12.5 percent.

“Our new innovations are truly game changing and industry defining. It is the lightest footwear and apparel we’ve ever created,” said Sean McDowell, Nike’s Footwear Design Director. “The world’s top Nike athletes are wearing Flywire technology at the trials because they want gold.”

“The difference between making the team and not making the team comes down to mere hundredths of a second,” said U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “Nike’s ability to deliver ground-breaking apparel and footwear with cutting edge technology has been incredible. We are proud to have worked so closely with Nike to develop this amazing, innovative and eye-catching Olympic collection.”

The uniform also features footwear with Nike’s industry leading new Flywire technology. Nike athletes Kara Goucher and Bernard Lagat will perform in the Zoom Matumbo, Nike’s lightest distance track spike. Lagat will also wear the Zoom Victory Spike, currently Nike’s lightest middle distance track spike. Both shoes are lighter than Michael Johnson’s famed gold spikes from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

For the first time, Nike is making more athlete innovations available to consumers with footwear such as: The LunaRacer+, LunarTrainer+, Zoom Victory+, Zoom Matumbo and Zoom Victory Spike. Now, every runner can benefit from Nike’s Flywire and Lunarlite technology. This footwear is available to consumers beginning in July and rolling out through October, 2008.

NOTE: Nike media relations manager Jacie Prieto contributed to this report.

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