Tuesday, June 24, 2014


In college athletics recruiting is very important and one can say even ore so at the D2 and D3 levels; like here at Moravian recruiting is what allows this college to function.  That's why I feel its important to do what I can to help get as many recruits on campus as possible through the equipment room and team apparel.

Over the past decade the look of a team or the brands they employ have become big recruiting tools.  While we don't have the best of the best equipment and apparel i have worked hard to improve what we have and what we buy, and now i am proud of what we are able to afford.  As the uniforms improved I wanted to show them off more which is where our new Equipment Room Mannequins come in.

Shortly after the SpaceSavers' system was installed and I had it once and organized (OCD!) some coaches started bringing in prospective recruits and parents to show off the equipment room.  This is when I saw an opportunity help.  I've asked coaches to inform me when and who are a on campus visit, so that I can customize their visit  to the equipment room.

For example if a football recruit comes in he will see a current soccer jersey with 'his' number (number he requested or wears in high school) along with any other gear issued to the men's soccer team hanging on our display rack and then see 'Rocco' the mannequin dressed in the other football uniform.  I also open up their section of the SpaceSaver and this is where the parents, especially the moms, get excited.  They love seeing the neatly folded organized sections and even ask if i can come organize their closets like this, haha!
(this a big reason I don't like the coaches all-access pass to the equipment room, because they are notorious for going in and unfolding and messing up the organization).

I don't limit the equipment room / uniform displays to only athlete recruiting, but also for general everyday campus tours and special all-campus recruiting days.  I have worked with the school's tour in order to given proper information regarding the equipment room - which is important because when I started my 2nd year here, I had tons of parents coming up to equipment window on move-in day to inquire about the equipment room's laundry service.  Laundry service??  Yep, apparently there were campus tours explaining that students could drop of laundry to the equipment room and it would be done for them, uhhh NO!  If I had more man power I might try and incorporate a laundry service for extra funds, but not any time soon.

So on those all campus recruiting days I set up 1 of each team's uniforms to show off on the display rack and have the mannequins dressed all hanging out in front of the equipment room.  On regular days I keep the mannequins dressed in the equipment room but visible from the drop off window so anyone and everyone that passes by can see.

All of this is in hopes of securing that one player that could make a difference in the teams performance.  So if I can make a difference helping Moravian stand out from all the other school recruits can/will visit that's what I'm going to do.

This year I also set up the mannequins and jerseys for display at the annual Senior Athletics Banquet, with rave reviews.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


So its been a while since I posted a blog entry and even longer since I've posted a personal equipment room blog entry. To any loyal readers... sorry.

I guess the last post from the equipment room was the showing off of Softball's new Navy 'PRO-LOOK' uniforms.  (pictured left)  
Lets just say a lot has happened since then; the first and major reason for the lack of posts was the addition of the Moravian College twitter account.

twitter: @mocoequip  "WHAT'S YOUR TEAM WEARING?"

We jumped into the twitter-verse in the persona of our new uniform mannequins whom we lovingly named "Rocco" and "Betty."  A contest was held to name our newest equipment room 'workers' as I call them, and one of Moravian 's female senior track athletes won.  The two names come from Moravian College Athletics history.  "Rocco" for Rocco Calvo; former Moravian football, baseball, and basketball coach, who also served as Athletic Director for a number of years, and now the football field bears his name.  "Betty" was named for former Moravian field hockey coach Betty Prince who also has her name adoring field hockey field.  They have become the center piece of the new approach the Moravian equipment room is taking towards helping to recruit student athletes. I'll go into more detail on that one in a later post.

After a month or so it was decided that their names wasn't a good twitter name so it was changed to @MocoEquip.  It then became a lot easier to follow and followed by other equipment managers and equipment rooms also on twitter sharing their craft.

Future posts:
- Moravian Equipment's approach to student-athlete recruiting visits
- Bad winter vs. baseball season
- New bin labeling idea - Success!
- Spring of 'Stasche
- Real men SEW!
- Helmet fundraisers
- Coded Locker room doors
- Baseball PITCHING helmets?
- 2014 Football custom sublimated Russell gear
- Back to the Lax!
- Reorganization effort
- End of the school year
- 2014 AEMA convention - Jacksonville, Fla
- NEW gear for 2014-2015 here before July

Im hoping to do at least 3-4 of these post a week until after the 4th of July.  By then I should be caught up to the present and most of the new gear and equipment for the 2014-2015 school year.

READERS: Let me know which of the recurring topics from this past year y'all want me to continue; for example: 'Traveling Amos', 'How the other half lives', etc...

Saturday, April 19, 2014



New innovation in helmet technology designed to disperse force of impact

Updated: April 16, 2014, 6:00 PM ET
By Paul Lukas | ESPN.com
If you're a college football fan -- and especially if you're a fan of one of the big Division I programs like Texas, LSU, Florida or Alabama -- you may have noticed some recent tweets like these:
[photos removed]
The helmet featured in those tweets (and in many others from lots of additional schools) is the Riddell SpeedFlex, and you'll likely be hearing a lot more about it later this year. Technically speaking, Riddell hasn't launched it yet -- there have been no press releases, no promotional videos, no ad campaigns. But Riddell has quietly been making the SpeedFlex available to NFL teams and several top college football programs. NFL minicamps and OTAs haven't started yet, but colleges are well into their spring practice season, and many of them have essentially created a soft launch for the SpeedFlex by using it in their spring games and tweeting photos of it.

As you can see in those tweets, the SpeedFlex's defining visual feature is a cutout on the crown, which creates a flexible panel designed to disperse the force of an impact. How flexible is it? Judging from a sample helmet that Riddell provided at Uni Watch's request, the panel definitely has some give -- if you push on it, it bends a bit, as you can see in this short but illustrative Uni Watch video:
Aside from its functionality, which we'll cover in greater detail in a minute, the flex panel also makes the SpeedFlex instantly recognizable, even from a distance, which no doubt pleases Riddell's marketing department (although the visual impact is diminished a bit if the helmet has center striping, because the stripe tape obscures the lower part of the cutout).
The SpeedFlex also has several features that are less apparent to the naked eye, the most interesting of which is a ratchet-driven chin-strap system. Here's a short video showing how it works:
Want to know more? Thad Ide, Riddell's senior vice president for research and development, recently agreed to discuss the SpeedFlex's details in a Uni Watch interview. Here's how it went:
Uni Watch: The most obvious new feature on the helmet is this flexible hinge panel on the crown.
Thad Ide: That's part of what we call the flex system. We found we could improve the impact response of the helmet by adding some selected flexibility to the shell and also to the face mask.
What, specifically, is the intent of that hinge panel?
It allows the shell to flex in that area in ways that it couldn't if it was a monolithic shell.
Right underneath that hinge panel -- is that the same padding that's found elsewhere in the helmet, or is there a special material that's found only under the hinge panel?
The front pad [underneath the shell] is a new composite energy-management system, and it makes use of some synthetic rubber materials and polyurethane materials that are combined to give you the best of both worlds. It's proprietary, so I'm not going to go into any further details on that, but it's unique to this helmet.
How much can that panel deform on impact? In other words, how much can it bend, like if we were watching it in super-slo-mo?
Realistically, maybe a quarter of an inch.
Do you have slow-motion video showing that that?
Uni Watch
Yes, but we're not going to share that.
Come on -- fans would love to see that!
[Chuckles] They probably would. We'll run that by our marketing people.
Are there some impacts that could cause the hinged panel to break?
We have not yet discovered those impacts, and we've done a lot of testing in the lab and in the field.
What about the rest of the shell -- does it flex any more than a traditional shell?
No. That's a great question, because we tested this flex concept at different points of the shell. We made shells with different flex points all over them, and we found that it didn't have the desired effect in other areas. So we put it where it was a benefit and left the rest of the shell monolithic.
Is the shell made of the same materials as your other helmets?
Yes -- it's a polycarbonate alloy. It's the same blend we've been using for about a decade.
We're always hearing how players shouldn't lead with their head, and now there are rules and penalties about leading with your head. Are you at all concerned that the hinge panel may make some players more likely to lead with their heads, because now they have this extra bit of flexibility and force dispersion right on the crown?
I think we have to plan on the players following the rules of the game and the officials enforcing those rules. Helmet-to-helmet contact is illegal. It can happen incidentally, and that's part of what the helmet is there for, but the rules of the game should be enforced.
There's flexibility built into the face mask, too, right? But that isn't as visually obvious as the hinge panel on the crown.
The big difference is that the attachment points are moved to the sides of the helmet, instead of up [by the nose bumper]. And that allows the face guard to flex when it's struck and then return to shape after the impact is over.
So just by moving the clips or the anchor points farther away from each other, by spreading them out, that provides the flex?
It does, and it redirects the impact forces when the front of the face guard is struck. When the fasteners are in the top-center area, the impact force is transferred more quickly to the shell, the padding and the wearer's head. But by allowing the face guard to flex -- and all of this happens in a few milliseconds -- you can interrupt the force transfer and improve the helmet's impact response.
That seems so intuitive and obvious. Why didn't someone figure that out sooner? Why has everyone been using those top-center clips all this time?
Innovation and inspiration come in bits and spurts, and what seems obvious in retrospect isn't really all that obvious.
Fair enough. Another really interesting aspect of the design is this ratchet chin strap. Tell me about that.
Helmets coming off during play is a growing concern. So we talked to people, we did focus groups, and one thing we found was that veteran NFL players were surprised that their chin-strap snaps weren't all that different from the ones they were issued in fifth grade. So we took that to heart and tried to come up with something better.
Can this system also be incorporated into your other helmets?
Possibly. It's a modular system. But you can see that there's some recessed areas on the shell to accommodate the system, so we'd have to account for that. Right now, frankly, we're focused on getting every detail right on the SpeedFlex.
Lots of college teams have been tweeting about the SpeedFlex, but I haven't seen anything from the NFL. What's up with that?
That's not intentional. It's just that the NFL season ended in February and they haven't started their OTAs [organized team activities] yet, while college teams have started their spring practices.
So will NFL teams be using the SpeedFlex?
Yes. Right now the SpeedFlex is only available in one size -- large -- and in somewhat limited quantities. We didn't intend to roll it out on a large scale until this coming fall. So this is a limited rollout for early adopters. Most NFL teams have expressed interest and placed orders for it.
Put it this way: If I'm an NFL player and I go to my equipment manager and say, "Hey, I want to try out this new helmet," am I going to be able to do that?
I would say yes, as long as you fit into a size large. Even by this fall, that's the only size we're going to have available in any kind of quantity. That said, the most common size in college and the NFL is large.
Will there be greater availability in 2015?
Yes, and possibly by the end of 2014. We'll have a full range of sizes and unlimited quantities -- or at least as many as our tooling can make.
What about high schools -- can they buy the SpeedFlex?
By this fall they'll be able to. So far the focus has been large colleges and the NFL.
What about your InSite system, which can help detect concussions -- can that be used with the SpeedFlex?
Yes. InSite for the SpeedFlex will be rolled out in September.
•  •  •
Obviously, Ide's a biased observer. But equipment managers who've had access to the helmet seem to like it, and they say their players like it as well.
Air Force equipment manager Scott Richardson was one of the first equipment guys to get his hands on the SpeedFlex -- Air Force's spring practice schedule is accelerated due to the players' military training commitments -- and he likes what he's seen so far. "Our players love it," he said. "They like the fit, they like how it feels. Right now we only have two guys wearing it, but we anticipate having a lot more guys using it for the upcoming season.
SpeedFlexPaul LukasSpeedFlex should become more prolific throughout all levels of football by 2015 -- if not sooner.
Detroit Lions equipment manager Tim O'Neill, who's been showing the SpeedFlex to some of his players, made a point of praising the helmet's "occipital lockdown" (in layman's terms, that's how well the helmet fits over that bump on the back of your head), a feature Ide hadn't even mentioned during our interview.
"Forward rotation of the helmet can be a problem for some of our guys, so occipital lockdown is a big issue," said O'Neill. "Some players commented on that as soon as they tried it on -- they said they could feel it fitting better back there, almost like wearing a hat."
There's a widespread impression in uniform and equipment circles that today's players don't really care about a helmet's functionality -- they just want to see how cool it looks. Is that the case with the SpeedFlex?
"Back when concussion-reduction helmets first came on the market, the first thing a player would do when he put one on was run to the bathroom so he could see how it looked in the mirror," O'Neill acknowledged. "Is that element still there? Absolutely, but not as much. Today's players are more educated. They ask better questions, and it all creates better dialogue. You can't go a week now without seeing an article about concussions in USA Today or wherever, and the players read that stuff."
So when it comes to the SpeedFlex's hinge panel, are the players into its distinctive look or the way it will help protect them?
"Let's say they're intrigued by it, and they're anxious to see how it feels," said O'Neill. "The proof'll be in the pudding when they get out there and start banging heads."
Paul Lukas tried on the SpeedFlex but didn't bang heads with anyone. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

NFL team has had a major logo inconsistency for decades & we never noticed


KC: Stands for Kinda Confusing

The Kansas City Chiefs have had one of the most stable visual identity programs in all of pro sports over the past half-century. Their uniforms have barely changed over the years, and their primary logo hasn’t changed at all.
Or has it?
Take a look at this photo from about a year ago, when Andy Reid was introduced as the Chiefs’ new head coach, and see if you spot anything unusual (click to enlarge):
As you can see, the logo on the helmet doesn’t match the one on the backdrop. There are several small distinctions between them, but the easiest one to spot involves the lower terminal of the “C”: In the helmet version, it’s sort of snub-nosed and faces to the right, like the Montreal Canadiens’ logo, while the backdrop version loops around a bit more and faces upward. For shorthand, let’s call them the open C and the closed C.
You might think that photo is just an isolated instance, but it’s not. Take a look at these two photos from last season — one of Chiefs linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, and the other of Reid on the sidelines (click to enlarge):
Again, you can see that the open C is on the helmets (note that it’s used for both the left-facing and right-facing versions of the arrowhead) and the closed C is on Reid’s cap.
In fact, it turns out that the Chiefs are very consistent in their inconsistency:They use the open C on their helmets and the closed C for just about everything else, including pretty much all of their non-helmet merchandise. It’s similar to the Tigers and Yankees both using different logos for their jerseys and caps, except everyone knows about that Tigers and Yankees situations and nobody seems to have picked up on the Chiefs situation until now.
I wish I could tell you I noticed this on my own, but I didn’t. I learned about it from a blog called Arrowhead Addict, which is written by a lifelong Chiefs fan named Paul Heitman. He recently told the story of how his dad recently pointed out the logo distinctions to him, which blew his mind. He then shared the story with me, which blew my mind.
Heitman’s piece is good — you should definitely follow that last link and read it. But he essentially said, “Wow, who knew?” and left it at that. His post raises lots of questions that are worth pursuing. For example:
How long has the squared off version appeared on the team’s helmets?
Remember, the Chiefs were originally the Dallas Texans. They didn’t get their current name until they moved to Kansas City in 1963. Here’s a photo from that season (click to enlarge):
As you can see, they were using the open C right from their first season in Kansas City.
Okay, so they started off using the open C. But have they always used it? Did they ever use the closed C on their helmets?
Obviously, I haven’t been able to check photos from every single game the Chiefs have ever played. But I looked at lots of Chiefs game photos, from all periods of the team’s history, while preparing this entry. And all I saw on the team’s helmets, again and again, was the open C. It has undergone a few changes (in the team’s earlier years, the arrowhead was larger and the black outlining on the letters was thinner), but the typography appears to have been consistent throughout the team’s history.
When did the closed C first appear?
I haven’t been able to ascertain that yet, but the earliest example of it that I’ve found is on the cover of this 1974 publication:
So the team has had dual logos for at least four decades. If anyone can identify earlier examples of the closed C, I’m all ears, eyes, etc.
Which version is shown on the Chiefs’ website?
The arrowhead logo is plastered all over the home page at KCChiefs.com, and in every instance it has the closed C. (And while we’re at it, the closed C is also used on the team’s Twitter page.)
What does SportsLogos.net have to say about this?
Chris Creamer’s logo database isn’t official, of course, but it’s the best available compendium of team logos, and I know he’s very careful about what he posts on his site. His page for the Chiefs shows the closed C, with no trace of the open C.
Chris himself has been traveling lately and hasn’t had time to look into this, but I expect I’ll be hearing more from him shortly.
What about the NFL Style Guide?
This is where things get really weird. I have style sheets from several editions of the NFL Style Guide. Let’s look at them chronologically, beginning with this one from the 1980s (sorry, I’m not sure of the exact year; click to enlarge):
As you can see, this sheet shows the open C for all applications. Now let’s look at another sheet from the 1980s — again, I’m not sure of the exact year, but I’m pretty certain this one was published after the one we just looked at (click to enlarge):
If you look at the top-right corner, you can see that the closed C is now shown as the official team mark. But look at the helmet icons — closed for the side view, open for the diagonal view! Things have now officially gone off the rails.
Next up is the style sheet from 1997, which I’m showing as three separate scans (click to enlarge);
These sheets are delivering the same set of mixed messages as the previous sheet: The C on the primary logo is closed, while the Cs on the helmet logos are either closed (side view) or open (diagonal view).
I also have the Chiefs’ style sheet from 2012. That, of course, is the year Nike took over the NFL’s uniform contract, so you’d think everything in the style guide would have gotten a clean slate that season, right? Let’s take a look (click to enlarge):
Well, at least the style sheets have stayed consistent over the years: closed C for the side views, open C for the diagonal views. By this point it’s pretty obvious that the same graphics were just picked up and rolled over again and again for decades. But when and why was the closed logo introduced into the graphics package?
That is seriously odd.
Agreed. But here’s something even odder — take a look at this Chiefs letterhead from 1975:
As you can see, there are two logo graphics on that letterhead — one at the top, which definitely has the closed C, and one at the bottom, which is too small to make out. Unfortunately, no larger size of that image is available. However, the stationery used for that 1975 letter appears to be identical to the stationery used for this 1983 letter — and this one is available in a much higher resolution (click to enlarge):
As you can see, the C is closed at the top, open at the bottom. So the team was using inconsistent logos on its own letterhead at least as far back as 1983, and probably all the way back to 1975.
What do the Chiefs have to say about this?
I asked the the team’s PR department if I could speak with their equipment manager. Instead, a PR rep checked with the equipment staff himself and got back to me with this: “Talked with our equipment guys and really there is no rhyme or reason to it. Wish I had more to tell you, but it definitely is interesting. Never noticed that before!” I then asked if the equipment guys had been aware of the dual logos. The response: “They were. They seem to think that the original napkin sketched by Lamar [Hunt, the team's original owner] had the ‘open’ C and that original logo remains on the helmet (they really weren’t sure).”
That’s disappointing but not surprising — just the latest example of a team not knowing much about its own visual history.
Does anyone know more? Did any of you already know about it?
Meanwhile, I’m never going to be able to look at a Chiefs game the same way again — and I’m not yet sure what I think of that. On the one hand, it’s sort of reassuring to know that some glitches can still get through the NFL’s relentlessly control-oriented corporate culture. On the other hand, a team should really have its shit together when it comes to its primary logo, no? Here, let’s see how you folks feel about it:

Update: Reader Ryan Smith has just pointed out another Chiefs logo inconsistency. The arrowhead logo on the floor of their locker room (which has the closed C) shows the “C” overlaying the “K,” instead of the other way around:
(Thanks again to Paul Heitman for getting this ball rolling.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Why I Joined the AEMA

THU, 02 JANUARY 2014 

WRITTEN BY Becca Huebner, Tulane University Assistant Director, Equipment Operations

Athletics have always played a big part in my life. Even from an early age I knew I would have a career in athletics. Senior year of high school is when the passion began for equipment managing, which now has exploded into what I am proud to call a career today. Senior year of high school, I was a football manager for one of the best teams in Antioch High School’s history. The relationships made and being involved in something great propelled me into becoming a football manager at Ball State University. For three and a half years, I soaked up everything I could, knowing that I was gaining job experience for the future.
Working with Tex Ritter, a member of the AEMA since its inception and an equipment manager since 1976 made it an easy decision to join the AEMA. I became a member my junior year and that was the best decision I could have possibly made. The AEMA is the only organization that is geared towards development and understanding the equipment field. I knew the AEMA would play an important part in my journey in becoming an equipment manager. Plus the resources available have helped me become more aware of everything that is going on in regards to equipment. Also as a 2012 scholarship award winner, the AEMA has helped with school costs.
In my eyes one of the most important parts of the AEMA is the networking. As a new member, I was able to meet established equipment managers who helped me grow and learn. I not only had the pleasure of working with Tex, but with AEMA Vice President Meli Resendiz, Curtis Shaner, Greg Valenzisi, Liz DeFelice, Eric Howitt, and Jerry Montejano at Northwestern. Being able to work at a Big Ten institution right out of college was one of the best experiences I could have asked for. In this day and time it’s all about who you know and I am lucky to have worked and established a relationship with the people listed above. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to be an Assistant Equipment Manager at Tulane University. I am also thankful for the new relationships I have made at Tulane. Joel Gastright, Trase Guidry, Tim Patterson and our students are joys to work with and without the networking connections made through the AEMA, none of this would have happened. So don’t be afraid to reach out and establish contacts. We don’t bite!
The certification process is very important to equipment managers all across the country, as being certified signifies that one is fully prepared to perform to their absolute best. As I am preparing for this year’s certification test at convention, I remind myself how significant the process is. Becoming a Certified Equipment Manager is very important to me because I will be held to the highest standard and will have everything needed to be the best equipment manager I can be.
Lastly, the pride and sense of being a part of the team is why I enjoy equipment managing. Knowing that everything your team is wearing has been ordered, designed, laundered, and issued to them by you is special. As equipment managers we are usually unseen, but our work does not go unnoticed.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Running Back Jennifer Welter Makes History By Playing In Pro Football Game


Monday, February 17, 2014

Football history was made rather quietly over the weekend in Texas.


During an Indoor Football League game between the Texas Revolution and the North Texas Crunch, 36-year-old Jennifer Welter got three carries, making her the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a pro football league.

Welter, who has starred at linebacker for a decade for the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Football Alliance, got her first carry midway through the third quarter. She took a handoff from two yards out of the endzone and scampered around the left tackle. But the 5-foot-2, 130 pound Welter was met by 6-4, 245-pound defensive lineman Cedric Hearvey for a one-yard loss.

Somehow, Welter was unfazed by the hit.

"I said 'Is that all you got?'" Welter asked Hearvey. "I didn't want them to think I was intimidated."
Via Louis Ojeda Jr. of Fox Sports, here's a video of the play:

Welter had her number called twice more in goal line situations, but she wasn't able to score either time.

The Revolution beat the Crunch, 54-30, and Welter gained immense respect from both her team and her opponents.

“I’ve been impressed with her grit and her desire,” Revolution coach Chris Williams said. “And even, in some cases, in the beginning I thought even delusional thoughts that she had about being able to play the game. But as I watched her, I’m impressed with how she comes to work every day."

After the game Welter said her effort wasn't necessarily meant to demonstrate that women can play with men, but to show that women are just as passionate about the sport and deserve a larger stage to showcase their talents.

“I’m an athlete, I’m competitive,” she told For The Win. “But the bigger thing for me is obviously for little girls to see they can do everything just like little boys can."





Jenni posing with 'BETTY' in Jenni's Track uniform







Monday, February 10, 2014

Could high-tech Olympic gear create next doping scandal?


9 February 2014

The Olympics is facing a doping problem that has nothing to do with taking steroids or meddling with genetics. ‘Technology doping’ is a growing problem in competitive sports as every year breakthroughs in engineering and science result in high-tech equipment and materials that can blur the line between enhancing athletic performance and downright cheating.

Photo: RIA Novosti

A lot of boosting gear is making its debut at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi this week. The most widely promoted so far is the US team’s new speed skating suit manufactured with the participation of aerospace engineers. The company Under Armour boasts that this is the fastest suit ever made, though Russia and China make similar claims.

Designing the Mach 39 suit was a top-secret project lasting for years. Engineers used motion capture technology to track speed skaters as they sped across the ice, and used that detailed data to make fiberglass mannequins imitating the precise body positions of the skaters as they move. Hundreds of variations of suits were designed and put through 300 hours of testing in a wind tunnel to see their effect on airflow, and then adapted to get the optimal aerodynamic design.

Carefully engineered equipment plays an important role in Olympic sports. Alpine skiers at the Sochi Olympics have skis that use carbon nanotubes to boost speed. The nanotubes dampen the vibrations caused when skiers go over bumps by spreading out the incoming energy.

Carbon fibre, a lightweight and super-strong material, is everywhere, including bobsleds and luges, and also figure skates.

Is it all above board? In some cases it only becomes clear that high-tech equipment gives an unfair advantage after athletes using it start shattering records. It was the case with the LZR 
Racer bodysuit worn by swimmers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The suit was coated with nanoparticles that repel water and engineered to trap air to make the swimmer more buoyant. Swimmers wearing LZR Racer suits broke 168 world records that year. The technology was considered technology doping and banned at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

There is a fine line between providing sportsmen with the best gear to keep them comfortable, safe and able to reach new athletic heights, and blemishing the natural strength, ability and human spirit the Olympics were founded on with gimmicky materials and mechanical tricks.

Each sport has a governing body that decides where to draw the line. However, with some innovations it is not immediately clear which side it benefits. A doping scandal is the last thing that Sochi needs now.

Voice of Russia, Motherboard