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"Technological Doping"? – The Speedo LZR

2008 April 16
by Phil Miller

Swimming has its version of the aluminum bat, an improvement in capital design that makes “labor” very productive, at least in an absolute sense. Maybe too much so:

Since its debut at the Missouri Grand Prix in February, the new Speedo LZR swimsuit has made nearly as many waves out of the pool as it has in it. With 18 of 19 record-setting, long-course swims – the same pool format of the Olympics – and 17 of 18 record-setting short course swims for the LZR dating back to its inception, Speedo has had to withstand charges of “technological doping” from those in the swimming community and beyond.

FINA, the international governing body for swimming, met with the world’s top swimsuit manufacturers in an emergency meeting Saturday to determine whether the suit and others like it were giving certain athletes an unfair competitive advantage. Though FINA endorsed the suit for a second time and decided to allow other suit makers to copy the design, some in the swimming community have begun to take the matter into their own hands.

The NCAA men’s National Championships, the Italian Olympic Trials and the Canadian Olympic Trials are among meets that have banned the LZR – as well as TYR’s new swimsuit, dubbed the Tracer – from competition.

Given the discussion on this post and this post recently, I looked to see if there was anything regarding the official Olympic (i.e. event organizer position) on this swimsuit. Perhaps readers have seen something, but I couldn’t find anything in a quick GIS. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Olympic officials would like to see its use.

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