We celebrate the hard work and talent of the world’s best athletes as they compete in over 300 events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But these competitors don’t just rely on their coaches and supporters to reach their goals. High-performance sports equipment help athletes compete more effectively and safely.
Silicones, in particular, play a key supporting role in many sporting events.
If you follow swimming competition, you may have noticed that many swimmers wear two swim caps. Silicone swim caps are worn as the top cap, and former U.S. women’s Olympic assistant coach Dave Salo explained to Yahoo News why: “The outer silicone cap better maintains the shape and does not wrinkle as much [as the inner latex cap], thereby causing less drag.” This helps swimmers encounter less resistance when moving through the water, giving them a slight performance edge.
Synchronized swimmers also rely on silicones to enhance their performances. Many competitors use makeup to clearly convey their expressions to the judges, and since they’re competing in water, waterproof makeup is crucial. Silicones are key ingredients in specialized waterproof makeup, helping swimmers’ makeup stay in place throughout all the splashing and underwater diving their routines entail.
Silicones aren’t limited to the pool—many of America’s runners are sporting specialized silicone body tape designed to cut aerodynamic drag, or wind resistance. Silicones are also used in track and field competitors’ specialized sunglasses. Flexible silicone nosepieces and back bands help eyewear fit comfortably and securely, while a ventilated silicone brow-bar reduces fogging.
High-performance silicones are used in mouth guards, cycling equipment, safety helmets, water bottles, and fabrics. In fact, silicones are so prevalent in sports equipment, it’s difficult to list all their uses in Rio. The unique properties of these highly specialized materials can help any athlete, from weekend cyclists to the fastest runners in the world, stay safe and perform their best.