'Smart' clothing is changing the idea of competition at the top level of sport.

By some measures, Michael Phelps may be the world’s greatest athlete. His Olympic medal count alone has secured the American swimmer a place in the history books. And while training and nutrition have most certainly played an enormous impact in his success, would Phelps, his teammates, or any of their competition, have achieved their recent record breaking heights without the help of advanced technology?

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 athlete’s wearing Speedo’s LZR Racer swimsuit blew the competition out of the water with an astounding 94% of gold medals won, and 23 of the 25 world records broken. The NASA-tested suit worked with the swimmer’s bodies to augment and increase their efficiency by holding the body into its most advantageous position while reducing drag, allowing these athletes to move through the water in a way that would otherwise be impossible. It worked so well that the suit was banned in the London 2012 Olympics, referring to the suits as a form of “technological doping”.

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