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 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 is shaping up as a quick observe floor at Olympic Stadium. Runners are actually on observe to setting private, Olympic and presumably even world-record instances 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 specific floor, in response to 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 encircling matter, making a compact layer.”

Translation: It is speedy.

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


Possibly. Typically, 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 further agency.

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track
Opponents begin of their warmth of the lads’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 mentioned. “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 for the reason that floor was put in. The athletes are breaking it in with type.

“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 wanting ahead to operating fast on it.”


Mondo says on its web site that the principle 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 quick kinetic response.”

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track
Alex Rose, of Samoa, and Diane Van Es, of Netherlands, colapse after competing in the course of 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 drive,” American 400-meter hurdler and world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin mentioned. “This one regenerates it and provides it again to you. You’ll be able to undoubtedly really feel it.”


Maintain shut watch on the lads’s and girls’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 carried out my job.”

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track
Marie-Josee Ta Lou, of Ivory Coast, wins a ladies’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 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 expertise credited for serving to runners shave minutes off their instances. That type of expertise is transferring its method into the spikes for sprinters.

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

File-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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