HOME > Springs and Technology > Episode 16: “Springs" in Olympic Events

Episode 16: “Springs" in Olympic Events

Hello everyone. Summer is here and you'll be thinking about holidays!
Gasoline prices have been soaring since spring, so fewer people than usual are driving and roads might be clearer. Drive carefully if going by car.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics start in just a few days. Beijing summers are really hot and it will be difficult for the athletes to keep in good shape.

Did you notice that springs are used in many Olympic events?

In track and field, springs are used in shoes.
Sports-goods manufacturers measure the feet of each athlete and use their various technologies so each can demonstrate his or her fullest potential. The urethane, rubber, and even gel material in the sole of sports shoes, reduce the load on the feet while also producing force, etc.

Also, the track material called en-tout-cas, which used to be made by burning clay with magnesium chloride, now includes elastic materials.

In addition to track and field, springs are used in the floor for judo, in the triggers of target guns, in baseball equipment, the volleyball net, various gymnastic equipment…you name it?springs are everywhere!

Roughly classified, springs are used in two ways at the Olympics.

1. To protect athletes' bodies
2. To demonstrate athletes' abilities to the fullest

Springs are used in two ways at the Olympics.

1. To protect athletes' bodies

For example, if the judo floor were earth or concrete, the athletes would be injured when thrown. The springs (elasticity) in the floor help protect the athletes.
Also, various springs are used to minimize fatigue. The elastic knee and ankle supports are a good example of protective springs in action.

2. To demonstrate athletes' abilities to the fullest

The springy sole of shoes produces a high instantaneous force when an athlete's foot hits the ground. The springy pole in pole vault helps the vaulter fly higher. High-performance swimsuits from a UK manufacturer are helping swimmers break old records. In fact, the swimsuits also use spring elasticity without being too tight when immersed in water to allow the swimmer to use his or her fullest power. The swimsuit's elasticity ratio helps break records.

As we said in Springs are like Sumo Wrestlers (No. 2), sports are based on the ability to push and pull efficiently, like springs.

That's it for now. Enjoy cheering for your favorite athletes and events.

See you next time when we talk about really small springs.
Don't miss it.

Written by Banekko (a child of spring)