News Release

adidas presents new bodysuit: the JETCONCEPT

Adapting a technology already used by commercial aircraft

Business Announcement

adidas America

adidas revolutionized the swimming world in 1998 as the first company to introduce a full bodysuit for swimming. Wearing the suit, Ian Thorpe set numerous World Records and won Olympic and World Championship titles. Working with adidas in the development phase, Thorpe became integral in the evolution of this new form of aquatic "technical equipment." Thorpe joined the adidas family in 1999.

Barcelona, July 19, 2003 – adidas, the leading sports brand, introduced today a new swim suit called the adidas JETCONCEPT. This full bodysuit shows a revolutionary approach by not only reducing the drag that the swimmer faces in the water but also influencing the way the water flows over the swimmer's body. Small "riblets", integrated in the new suit, channel the water and thereby shift the turbulence that occurs on the swimmer's body and reduce the amount of water a swimmer carries on his back. Ian Thorpe will be the first swimmer to use the adidas JETCONCEPT this week at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

adidas was the first company to introduce a full bodysuit in competitive swimming in 1998. This new innovation clearly changed the face of swimming. Ian Thorpe started to use this full bodysuit in 1999. He set numerous world records and won three gold medals and two silver medals at the Olympic Games in Sydney and six gold medals at the World Championships in Fukuoka in 2001 using the full bodysuit. But the adidas innovation team wasn't satisfied, and began working on a new concept after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Intensive testing of the adidas JETCONCEPT was not only done in the swimming pool. The adidas innovation team even put Ian Thorpe in the wind tunnel to get a better view of how the JETCONCEPT influences the flow and to find the optimal position for the technology.

The idea the adidas innovation team came up with was unique: Instead of focusing on friction drag (caused by the surface of a swimmer) that only accounts for 8% of the drag a swimmer faces in the water they looked into the effects of form drag (caused by the shape of a swimmer) that account for 56%. Adapting a technology already used by commercial aircrafts they created the adidas JETCONCEPT. The greatest obstacle was to add the so-called riblets to the suit without sacrificing the stretch ability and close fit of the suit. But they succeeded and tests showed a real benefit. Swimmers not only felt "higher" in the water (due to less weight on their back) but also achieved better times.

Ian Thorpe, who was part of the development process right from the beginning, is excited about the new suit: "I am really pleased about the result. I think it is the most refined product that has ever been made in swimming. It allows me to have the best opportunity in the water that I can possibly have."


adidas is the Official Supplier of the 10th FINA World Championships in Barcelona. adidas will supply the uniforms for all officials and volunteers on site. Michael Riehl, Head of adidas' Global Sports Marketing: "our partnership with FINA shows our strong commitment in swimming. Being involved in one of the most important events like the FINA World Championships as well as being the partner of Ian Thorpe, one of the top athletes in the sport, solidifies our role as a leading sports brand."

Mr Mustapha Larfaoui, President of FINA, stated: "We are delighted to welcome adidas as an official supplier of the 10th FINA World Championships 2003. adidas has a long history in sports and the innovations adidas has brought to swimming in the last few years have enhanced the profile of the sport worldwide."


adidas Introduces the JETCONCEPT

adidas revolutionized the swimming world in 1998 as the first company to introduce a full bodysuit for swimming. Wearing the suit, Ian "Thorpedo" Thorpe, set numerous World Records and won Olympic and World Championship titles. Working with adidas in the development phase, Thorpe became integral in the evolution of this new form of aquatic "technical equipment." He even applied for permission to wear the adidas full bodysuit under the Technical Equipment clause of the Athletes' Agreement. He claimed that by helping to cut through the water, the suit performed like technical equipment. Thorpe won this battle in his home country, subsequently setting new records in the full bodysuit.

Introducing the revolutionary new JETCONCEPT bodysuit evolution for today's competitive swimmer.

Using specially developed riblets, adidas has created a bodysuit that behaves much like a commercial aircraft in flight. Ribbed panels, modelled after the grooves found on an airplane's fuselage and wings, extend from the underarm to the lower back and cover the gluteus maximus, helping channel water fluidly over your back - reducing active drag and turbulences. The result is up to 3% increase in swimming performance.

In a sport that is won or lost by hundredths of a second or less, the slightest advantage can be the difference between winning Gold or Silver. That's why the adidas JETCONCEPT bodysuit transforms the hydrodynamic characteristics of the human anatomy from the moment of dive in, during the swim stroke, at the turn and during the underwater gliding phase.

Rarely does a technology come along that dramatically defines the evolutionary progress of a sport. The JETCONCEPT bodysuit is that technology. For swimmers such as modern aquatic legend, Ian Thorpe, who competes at the highest level of the sport, the JETCONCEPT bodysuit is the new standard.

How does the suit work?

What was the inspiration for the suit?
The inspiration for the JETCONCEPT bodysuit came from the V-shaped grooves currently used on the wings and fuselage of civil aircraft. The strong performance improvement in these aircrafts has been transferred to the idea of form drag and friction drag reduction during a swimmer's gliding phase.

The science behind man in water

adidas technology is based on the pursuit of providing athletes with the most beneficial tools to perform in sport. The JETCONCEPT bodysuit is one example of achieving this pursuit.

The JETCONCEPT suit is one that adidas has studied, researched, tested and devised over several years together with Ian Thorpe and other top class swimmers. Overall, tested swimmers believe that the new suit raises legs higher and changes the body position for better horizontal and flat propulsion. This "feeling" is scientifically documented and based on the speed of water moving under the body, and less water on the swimmer's back. This phenomenon is best explained through the science of hydrodynamics.

Hydro Science and Technology

For swimmers, the challenge for increasing performance is based on the flow of the water over the body; adding riblets changes this water flow. To reduce an average of 70 kilograms of "dead water" that sit upon the swimmers back, riblets are placed in scientifically proven positions.

Drag and Kinetics

There are many forms of drag that a swimmer experience while in the water. Form drag, Friction drag and Wave drag. In simplest terms form drag is the resistance based on the shape of the swimmer; friction drag is the resistance of the swimmers skin, and wave drag pertains to the oscillation of the water. In general, for competitive swimming, friction drag accounts for 8 percent of the total drag, wave drag accounts for 36 percent and form drag accounts for 56 percent.

The overall result is; a swimmer's skin creates many natural forms of drag. With adidas JETCONCEPT riblet technology, drag is minimised, thereby increasing speed in the water.

The adidas JETCONCEPT bodysuit provides athletes with the most beneficial tools to perform. Just one example of innovation changing the face of sport.

The JETCONCEPT bodysuit:

Ribbed panels extending from the underarm to the lower back and covering the gluteus maximus help channel water over the swimmers back to reduce active drag, streamline movement and cut turbulence. The amount of water carried on the swimmer's back is reduced.

The specific angle and position of JETCONCEPT technology on the back and gluteus maximus reduces form drag and friction drag ñ providing up to a 3% improvement in swimming performance.

Lycra® Power
Lycra® Power materials increase speed and endurance by using compression. This compression holds the body better in the water, stimulates skin receptors for a more accurate, efficient swim stroke and allows for faster recovery times due to increased blood circulation.

Second Skin Fit
The "Second Skin Fit" provides maximum flexibility and freedom of movement by preventing water from penetrating at the neck, wrists and ankles - reducing water retention.

Flatlock Seams
Strategically placed flatlock seams reduce water drag and add comfort.

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