Do you ever wonder how athletes are able to go so fast?
In the Lab, guests learn some of the secrets behind what makes Team USA athletes so fast, including the science behind swimsuit and speedskating fabrics, as well as why some athletes have those strange pieces of tape affixed to their bodies.
The science behind the shoes
What goes into being an Olympic and Paralympic shoemaker? A lot! Elite athletes often are among the first to benefit from advances in technology and design. As part of this exhibition, the Lab explains just how far Nike went to develop track spikes for sprinters.
When tenths of a second can be the difference between gold, silver or bronze
It’s not just about getting faster, science also extends into athlete training and recovery – preventing wear and tear from slowing down an athlete. When hundredths or thousandths or a second can be the difference to reach the podium, high-tech recovery systems become even more important. In the Lab, guests will see ways that athletes enhance their range of motion and blood flow while decreasing inflammation.
Hear from Hall of Fame hurdler Edwin Moses and Hall of Fame speedskater Eric Heiden
No matter the situation or circumstance, there are those who will do anything they can to gain an edge, sometimes going beyond the rules of fair play. With advances in technology, however, have come advances in testing and enforcement, working to protect the Games’ integrity and the athletes who play by the rules. U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame members Edwin Moses and Eric Heiden narrate pieces in this gallery. Moses, who is the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Education Committee and previously served as chairman of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s Board of Directors, talks about what is being done to combat doping. Heiden, an orthopedic surgeon, provides a look at the effects of doping on the body.

Inside the Museum: The Lab

The Lab demonstrates how science and technology play a role in maximizing an athlete’s performance in training and competition. The space highlights technological advancements in equipment, rehabilitation and recovery methods and showcases the importance of clean sport.

The Lab explains how Olympic and Paralympic athletes have benefited from changes in technology, with artifacts including the gold spike that sprinter Michael Johnson wore at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games where he won the 200- and 400-meter gold medals. Other items on display include Amanda McGrory’s racing wheelchair and track and field athlete Scout Bassett’s prosthetic leg.

Explore more about the athletes featured in the Lab:

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