Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Asafa Powell debuts new track spike in Beijing...

While paulmerca.blogspot.com puts on the finishing touches on its Olympic preview of the nine athletes with Washington ties, we thought we'd share with you this release, courtesy of our friends at Nike.

Nike’s deep focus on innovation for the Beijing includes work with one of the world’s fastest human beings – sprinter Asafa Powell. In his bid to reclaim dominance in the 100 meters, Powell today debuted the sleek and aerodynamically efficient Zoom Aerofly when he steps into the blocks in August.

The Zoom Aerofly is one of Nike’s most technologically advanced and lightest weight track and field offerings ever, designed to lock down the foot, grip the track, and provide advanced aerodynamic properties to shave valuable time off the clock.

Working closely with Powell and his style of running, Nike has incorporated leading-edge footwear innovation. Instead of more traditional stitched fabric panels, the upper’s super-strong, super-lightweight composition employs Nike’s revolutionary Flywire technology. Flywire emboldens the construction with 65 super-strong criss-crossed threads, or synthetic tendons, per shoe, woven from Vectran liquid-crystal polymer threads (a lightweight polymer. Like the cables on a suspension bridge, this construction method works to resist stretching, helping maintain lateral stiffness and locking in the heel and forefoot without adding extra weight. The heel-forefoot lockdown is further aided by Nike’s new lightweight lobe-technology collar, to help fill the area between the heel bone and ankle bone, helping avoid shoe slippage.

The Zoom Aerofly spike’s high-density glass-reinforced nylon spike plate, the same one Powell’s been wearing in his last two highly successful world-record seasons, provides a supremely strong and stable ride and amazing lightweight power transfer. The full-length plate is anatomically configured to work with the natural shape of the foot, keeping it in optimal sprint position. The eight-stud design allows for spike-length customization to accommodate any track and condition.

Weighing in at 186 grams (a normal track spike is in the 245-gram range), the wind-tunnel-tested Zoom Aerofly fits like a second skin. With Powell’s roughly 70 mph foot swing-through, the Zoom Aerofly helps reduce drag, in a sport where success is measured in hundredths of a second. In these shoes, says Nike’s Sean McDowell, “It looks like we spray-painted his feet.”

Powell’s Zoom Aerofly goes a step beyond the aerodynamic shroud, to also help tell the sprinter’s personal story. The upper offers a finish that emulates the spots on a cheetah – one of the world’s fastest sprinters – rendered in a fading Jamaican flag-esque white-to-yellow-to-green. This ultra-lightweight upper draws a further graphic distinction, converting some 10 spots into meaningful iconography for Powell. “We had many interviews with Asafa over the last few years as he prepares for the Games,” said Nike’s Sean McDowell. “These give him a little boost of inspiration as he steps up to the line.”

Spots include the image of the island of Jamaica, a speeding bullet, the likeness of one of his reggae music stars, a bass guitar (which Powell plays), a powerful and personally important biblical verse (Philippians 4:13), a fast car, the names of his deceased brothers Vaun and Michael, the “MVP” ensignia for his track club, and an image of the globe.

One of the world’s fastest men channels one of the world’s fastest creatures. Asafa Powell in the Nike Zoom Aerofly – it is destiny just waiting for the starter’s gun.

• Nike’s most technologically advanced and lightest weight track and field offerings ever
• Super-strong, super-lightweight composition employs Nike’s revolutionary Flywire technology, using criss-crossed threads, or synthetic tendons woven from Vectran liquid-crystal polymer threads.
• Supremely lightweight at 186 grams)
• High-density glass-reinforced nylon spike plate provides a supremely strong and stable ride and lightweight power transfer
• Inspirational iconography

NOTE: Photo of Asafa's spikes courtesy Nike Inc.

Also, don't forget to vote on who you think will win the Olympic 100 meter title--Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, or Asafa Powell!

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