The Olympics are the pinnacle of athletic achievement. There is no elite athlete who doesn't strive to wear their country's colors in the opening ceremony and hear their national anthem standing atop the podium. And just as the Olympics are known as the ultimate showcase of athleticism, they have also become known as a place for the most well-researched and highly tested tech innovations to make their debuts.
Researchers are constantly trying to figure out how to give athletes an edge over the competition, in every discipline. In 2008, for example, those full-body LZR swimsuits facilitated a host of new world records that year. And while the right running shoe won't make a sprinter minutes faster, it can help improve her speed by fractions of a second. At the Olympics, those fractions can be the difference between a medal or no medal.
Eventually, these athletic innovations trickle down to stores and gyms around the country so we can take advantage of the increased comfort, performance, and aerodynamics, too.
Ultimately, it's an athlete's job to make his body as fast and strong as can be. But the right piece of gear can prove essential in their quests for golden glory. Click through to see the amazing gear that this year's Olympians will sport on the track, in the pool, and at the net.
This piece originally ran July 25, 2016.