Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

26. The Speedo LZR Racer

Ninety-four percent. That's the percentage of Olympic swimming races won in Beijing by athletes wearing the LZR, a second-skin suit that's the first to be made with ultrasonically bonded seams. The LZR, which was co-designed by nasa experts, comes with a built-in corset to improve buoyancy and is constructed with compression fabric that keeps muscles from vibrating in the water. All of which was enough to ensure victory for Michael Phelps a history-making eight times — including a 0.01-sec. win in the 100-m butterfly. Phelps, however, was wearing only the bottom half of the suit (to keep his shoulders from being constricted), while the silver medalist had donned the full-body version. Which makes you wonder just how much faster he might have gone ...

See pictures of the 2008 Olympics.