"Walking on the clouds": why the run track in Tokyo is record-breaking

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"Walking on the clouds": why the run track in Tokyo is record-breaking
"Walking on the clouds": why the run track in Tokyo is record-breaking
2 August 2021, 13:27SportPhoto: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Jamaican runner Elaine Thompson-Hera has set a new Olympic record in women's 100m. The previous achievement was held for 33 years. Experts believe that the innovative track helped the athlete, and predict new records.

Of course, the fastest people on the planet participate in the Olympics. However, one of the reasons for the new records may be the high-tech track, which kind of propels the runners. “It feels like I’m walking on clouds”, - says Ronnie Baker, an American sprinter and a 100-meter runner. "A wonderful track, one of the most enjoyable ones I've run on". New personal, Olympic and even world records should be expected this week, the Associated Press predicts.

The track at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo is made by Mondo, which has existed since 1948 and made treadmills for 12 Olympiads. According to the company, the Tokyo track contains “specially designed three-dimensional rubber granules that are integrated into the MONDOTRACK WS topsheet and added to the semi-cured compound. The vulcanization process provides a molecular bond between the granules and the surrounding material, which form a compact layer".

According to Mondo, the main goal was “to maximize the speed of the athletes and help set the best performance. The upper layer - vulcanized rubber - provides elasticity. The lower one contains air-filled cavities that promote "cushioning, energy storage and immediate kinetic response". So the runner literally soars. “Some tracks take away your strength”, - says Sidney McLaughlin, an American 400-meter hurdler and world record holder. - And this one restores them and returns them to you. It is clearly felt".

The path was laid for four months, until November 2019. Since then, there have been no major competitions at the stadium, so the Olympians, in fact, got it intact. The durability of the track is also facilitated by the fact that during the hottest sun there are no competitions - this protects the track from destruction.

Another factor contributing to the records, experts say, are the technological advances of sports shoe manufacturers. An example of this is the Nike Vaporfly sneaker, which conquered all runners a few years ago: the technology of production using carbon coating helped runners to cover the distance a few minutes faster.

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