Many spectators have noticed Olympic athletes wearing a kind of tape on their bodies, and this has sparked discussion about its importance in the Tokyo Games.
All kinds of athletes have been seen with tape strips on parts of their bodies in the Olympics. Kinesiology tape, also known as Kinesio tape, is a kind of cloth tape.
Dr Aaron Mares, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at UPMC Sports Medicine explained to Today ‘It’s cotton tape that has some sort of adhesive that mimics the elasticity of the skin.’
While the material itself isn’t shocking, it has a significant impact on athletes. The tape is said to relieve pain, soothe aches and encourage muscles to work more efficiently.
The science behind the tape is that it increases blood flow and encourages lymphatic drainage wherever it is applied. Additionally, it can help make sure that the muscle works and moves correctly.
Despite the benefits of Kinesio tape, it has proved controversial in the Tokyo Games. Some believe that the tape has been used to cheat in events. Most notably, after the Danish track cycling team qualified for the final of the men’s team pursuit with an Olympic record-breaking run, people noticed something odd. It appears all of the racers on the team had tape applied to their shin.
In response to this bizarre practice, former British racing cyclist and Olympian Chris Broadman questioned what was happening as it could be ‘aerodynamically advantageous’.
In a statement on Twitter, Broadman said:
To clarify, I believe Danish team OK’d tape use with UCI.
However: Page 73 UCI regs 1.3.0033 …any non-essential element of which the purpose is not exclusively that of clothing or protection, is forbidden…shall also apply regarding any material…not itself an item of clothing.
The severity of the backlash to this use of tape will undoubtedly impact its further use. Nonetheless, in general, the tape is designed to help athletes compete despite experiencing a minor injury.
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