The tech behind Tokyo Olympics’ fast track

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

It’s shaping up as a quick observe floor at Olympic Stadium. Runners are definitely 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’s been round since 1948 and has been the provider for 12 Olympic Video games. This specific floor, in accordance with the corporate, options “three-dimensional rubber granules particularly designed with a particular polymeric system which might be built-in within the prime 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 encompassing matter, making a compact layer.”

Translation: It’s speedy.

“Appears like I’m strolling on clouds,” U.S. 100-meter sprinter Ronnie Baker defined of the floor. “It’s actually clean on the market. It’s a stupendous observe. One of many nicest I’ve run on.”

Alex Rose, of Samoa, and Diane Van Es, of Netherlands, colapse after competing during the first round of the women's 5,000-meter at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo.
Alex Rose, of Samoa, and Diane Van Es, of the Netherlands, collapse after competing in the course of the first spherical of the ladies’s 5,000-meter on the 2020 Summer time Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo.

Is it actually that quick?

Possibly. Generally, it’s 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 further agency.

“Oh, it’s quick,” American 800-meter runner Clayton Murphy mentioned. “May take world information to win.”

When was the observe put in?

The observe went in over 4 months, from August to November 2019. It hasn’t seen a lot motion for the reason that 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 mentioned. “You recognize what quick tracks really feel like. And for us, this observe feels actually fast and I’m trying ahead to operating fast on it.”

Javianne Oliver, of United States, prepares to start in her heat of the women's 100-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo.
Javianne Oliver, of the USA, prepares to start out in her warmth of the ladies’s 100-meters on the 2020 Summer time Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo.

Why so bouncy?

Mondo says on its web site that the primary goal was to “maximize the velocity 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 rapid kinetic response.”

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

“Some tracks take in your movement and your drive,” American 400-meter hurdler and world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin mentioned. “This one regenerates it and provides it again to you. You possibly can undoubtedly really feel it.”

Marie-Josee Ta Lou, of Ivory Coast, wins a women's 100-meter semifinal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou, of Ivory Coast, wins a ladies’s 100-meter semifinal on the 2020 Summer time Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo.

So what world information might fall?

Maintain shut watch on the lads’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 should break the mark once more.

Karsten Warholm of Norway just lately broke the lads’s 400 hurdles mark when he went 46.70. He eclipsed a file that had stood since 1992. Can he break it once more?

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

Gotta be the footwear, too?

The opposite consider these information might 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 know-how credited for serving to runners shave minutes off their occasions. That kind of know-how is shifting its approach 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 mentioned. “Doesn’t matter the observe or the footwear.”

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