Speedo? Or not Speedo? That is the question…

 Steroids…Growth Supplements…SPEEDO’s???  I would’ve never thought that a swimsuit could be controversial, but that is exactly what is developing with the LZR Racer swimsuit, developed by Speedo, as we move closer to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The summer Olympic games have a history all the way back to 1896, which 245 competitors from 14 countries met in Athens, Greece.  Swimming was one of the events during the 1896 Olympics and it featured 4 events: the 100m freestyle, the 500m freestyle, the 1200m freestyle, and the sailors 100m freestyle.  There is no doubt that there has been plenty of changes since the 1896 Olympics.  Travel is easier.  The media creates more pressure for the athletes.  modern medicine and dieting has been suffciently researched.  There are more companies that offer sponsorships for Olympic teams.  But there is a question:  How much is too much when it comes to the design of athlete’s equipment for the Olympic games?  The FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) is the governing body of all water sports for the Olympics.  Their rules state (with much confusion) that swimsuits should not be made with more buoyancy (WHAT?).  Swimmers, though, have agreed that the LZR Racer, made by Speedo, has created just that: more buoyancy.  Since the LZR Racer’s “swimming debut” in February, swimmers wearing the suit have been responsible for 38 world records.  Recently in a swim meet in Tokyo, there were 17 swim records broken, and all but one of the swimmers was wearing the LZR Racer.  The swim records broken this year, are the most since the Summer Olympics in Montreal in 1976.

Gone are the days of skimpy speedos that practically make a swimmer look nude.  In are the days of the LZR Racer.  In my opinion, should anyone be allowed to wear a swimsuit that takes 3 years of research to design?  How about a swimsuit that succumbed to several tests within a NASA wind-resistence wind tunnel?  Or how about the water flume testing, fluid dynamics analysis, or three dimentional body scalling?  In this case, it may take a rocket scientist to prove that the swimsuits have gone overboard.  What is next…  Will Olympic swimmers take fish scales and sow them to their skin?  That in itself might create environmental and animal rights issues, so forget I suggested it.

If we set aside the controversy surrounding the swimsuit, I must admit that the suit was designed by individuals, and is considered an “invention”.  Is it fair to criticize someone’s creation, if the end result is a product that provides superior “swimmability”?  Should Speedo feel proud that Asics, Adidas, Tyr, and Nike scientists are left outside the design room, smashing their creative noses against the glass window?  Some swimwear companies have gone as far as to sue Speedo.  Tyr Sport feels that Speedo has “conspired” with USA Swimming to leave all competition for lack of a better word “drowned”.

We have yet to see how the Speedo LZR Racer will enhance the performance of swimmers at the Summer Olympic games in Beijing.  But one thing is for sure…Speedo is raising a level of controversy that could either make them look incredibly foolish, or could give them more free publicity and make them look incredibly clever.  But one thing is for sure – if I were a swimmer, I’d rely on my swimming more than the swimsuit.  There is always the chance it could get banned before the Olympics begin…




3 Responses to “Speedo? Or not Speedo? That is the question…”

  1. I personally think whatever is more fashionable should be considered. The olympics are broadcasted all over the world and they have a responsiblity for these athletics to look good!

  2. What we’re seeing here is the invention of Nike running shoes. It’s a new technology that’s going to revolutionize the way swimming is done. If we want to keep things organic, get rid of anything that can make athletes more aerodynamic and regulate exactly what the athletes wear akin to the way NASCAR regulates how the cars are built.

    In my opinion, the only way to make it fair is to do it the way the greeks did it. Nude. But who wants to see all that junk? (Especially the womens!)

  3. Personally, anything that Speedo wants to do that actually covers more skin is fine with me. And whilst I am not always fond of the latest and greatest additions to sport, I think that this is fantastic.

    If everyone wears one, the playing field is level, so there’s no competitive advantage. And how bad can it be when world records fall at record pace in a sport that people only talk about once every four years, or whenever this generation’s Spitz or Phelps comes along.

    I think the only reason this suit is controversial is that the have nots are angry with the haves: the people who can’t afford the suit don’t want anyone else to have it and the companies who didn’t make the suit don’t want Speedo to profit from it.

    In the word’s of that world famous swimming coach, known internationally for his skill and wit, Jacque Ferderereere, “Suck it up, people.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: