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The tech behind Tokyo Olympics’ quick observe

Javianne Oliver, of United States, prepares to start out in her warmth of the ladies’s 100-meters on the 2020 Summer season Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit score: AP Photograph/Matthias Schrader

The Jamaican sprinter and her Olympic-record time captured everybody’s consideration. What’s below foot, although, may need been an element when Elaine Thompson-Herah broke a 33-year-old Olympic file within the girls’s 100 meters.

It is shaping up as a quick observe floor at Olympic Stadium. Runners are actually on observe to setting private, Olympic and probably even world-record occasions over the subsequent week on the Tokyo Video games.

The brick-red observe is made by Mondo, an organization that is been round since 1948 and has been the provider for 12 Olympic Video games. This explicit floor, in accordance with the corporate, options “three-dimensional rubber granules particularly designed with a specific polymeric system which might be built-in within the high layer of MONDOTRACK WS which might be added to the semi-vulcanized compound. The vulcanization course of ensures the molecular bond between the granules and the encircling matter, making a compact layer.”

Translation: It is speedy.

“Looks like I am strolling on clouds,” U.S. 100-meter sprinter Ronnie Baker defined of the floor. “It is actually easy on the market. It is a gorgeous observe. One of many nicest I’ve run on.”


Perhaps. Generally, it is simply quick runners in tip-top form who make it look quick. Solely time will actually inform. The observe additionally has been baking within the Tokyo solar with little use, making it additional agency.

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track
Opponents begin of their warmth of the boys’s 100-meters with empty seats as a backdrop within the Olympic Stadium on the 2020 Summer season Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit score: AP Photograph/Jae C. Hong

“Oh, it is quick,” American 800-meter runner Clayton Murphy stated. “Would possibly take world data to win.”


The observe went in over 4 months, from August to November 2019. It hasn’t seen a lot motion because the floor was put in. The athletes are breaking it in with fashion.

“You simply really feel it, man, you simply really feel it,” South African sprinter Akani Simbine stated. “You already know what quick tracks really feel like. And for us, this observe feels actually fast and I’m wanting ahead to operating fast on it.”


Mondo says on its web site that the principle goal was to “maximize the pace of athletes and enhance their efficiency.” The highest layer is vulcanized rubber to assist with elasticity. There are additionally “air-filled cavities” within the decrease layer, which help with “shock absorption, vitality storage and instant kinetic response.”

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track
Alex Rose, of Samoa, and Diane Van Es, of Netherlands, colapse after competing throughout the first spherical of the ladies’s 5,000-meter on the 2020 Summer season Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit score: AP Photograph/Morry Gash

Extra to the purpose: It helps racers fly down the observe.

“Some tracks soak up your movement and your power,” American 400-meter hurdler and world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin stated. “This one regenerates it and offers it again to you. You possibly can undoubtedly really feel it.”


Hold shut watch on the boys’s and ladies’s 400 hurdles. McLaughlin set the mark (51.90 seconds) on June 27 on the U.S. Olympic trials, breaking the file that had belonged to teammate Dalilah Muhammad. They would be the gold-medal favorites Wednesday—and will break the mark once more.

Karsten Warholm of Norway not too long ago broke the boys’s 400 hurdles mark when he went 46.70. He eclipsed a file that had stood since 1992. Can he break it once more?

“Perhaps another person will do it,” Warholm cracked. “I’ve executed my job.”

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track
Marie-Josee Ta Lou, of Ivory Coast, wins a girls’s 100-meter semifinal on the 2020 Summer season Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit score: AP Photograph/Petr David Josek


The opposite think about these data could possibly be the technological advances within the spikes. Nike’s Vaporfly mannequin of shoe shook up the world of distance operating a number of years in the past, with carbon-plated expertise credited for serving to runners shave minutes off their occasions. That form of expertise is shifting its manner into the spikes for sprinters.

Thompson-Herah additionally has a idea on quick occasions after operating 10.61 seconds to interrupt the Olympic mark of the late Florence Griffith Joyner. “My coaching,” she stated. “Would not matter the observe or the footwear.”

Document-setting tremendous footwear are right here to remain, say consultants

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Explainer: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics’ quick observe (2021, August 1)
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