Three Stripes Revolution
adidas Sports Technology Allows Beijing Athletes to Excel
If you are bold enough to declare that anything less than a gold medal would be a failure, threats will come from all sides.
Before the Games, it was Chinese rival Mu Shuangshuang, then a co-world record holder, who boasted she would
``personally dethrone" Jang Mi-ran in the Olympics held in front of her countrymen.
After Chinese officials decided to leave Mu out of the Olympics due to quota limitations, it was newcomers like Olha Korobka of Ukraine and tattooed Samoan giant Ele Opeloge who challenged Jang for the title of world' strongest woman.
However, at the day of truth, the 25-year-old Korean showed the world that she follows standards set by no one, with her only competition provided by her own desire to test human limits through the sport of weightlifting.
Jang blew her competition out of the water in Beijing, setting a new world record by lifting a total of 326 kilograms, 140 kilograms in the snatch and 186 kilograms in the clean and jerk, in the women's over 75-kilogram class. Korobka, who was her closest competitor, was nearly 50 kilograms behind after lifting a combined 277 kilograms.
Jang has established herself as one of the most dominant athletes in modern sports, wining the world title in each of the last three years. Her dominance makes it hard to believe that she was once second best, finishing with a silver at Athens after coming 2.5 kilograms short of Chian's Tang Gonghong.
However, with Jang, who once declared that her ultimate goal would be lifting 340 kilograms, continuing to advance at a different pace than others, it looks like her competitors will have to get comfortable settling as runner-ups.
Jang is one of the world's many top Olympians who have cemented their place in the pantheon of sports during the Beijing Games, and used sports technology provided by adidas, a world-leading maker of sports apparel and equipment, to improve their records.
Providing its products to over 3,000 athletes, 16 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), 214 country federations, and roughly 100,000 volunteers and competition staff, adidas was the official sportswear partner of the Beijing Olympics. This included the provision of over 500,000 units of sporting equipment, including 43 different types of shoes, which helped athletes to achieve their personal bests.
Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva, who set a new world record of 5.05 meters in the women's pole vault final, and German swimmer Britta Steffen, who took two gold medals in Beijing from the women's 50-meters and 100-meters freestyle swimming, have also seen their performances improve through using adidas sportswear and gear.
Korean judoka Choi Min-ho is another adidas alumni who left Beijing proudly with his head held high. Choi, a bronze medallist in Athens, overcame chronic injuries and his career-long big game jinx to become the surprise champion of the men's 60-kilogram class in Beijing. Choi's all-out, blitzing style won him a legion of fans. The Korean made quick work of his opponents, winning all of his five fights on ippons, with the matches' combined length standing at approximately seven minutes.
Choi's judoka teammate Wang Ki-chun was also applauded for his unwavering fighting spirit as he suffered a fractured rib in the quarterfinals, but continued fighting. Wang's efforts were nearly rewarded with a gold, but he lost to Azerbaijan's Elnur Mammadli in the final.
Nam Hyun-hee became the first Korean women in history to win an Olympic medal in fencing, after she won the silver medal in the women's foil in Beijing.
The 28-year-old narrowly missed out on the gold, fighting back from a 3-0 deficit against world No. 1 Valentina Vezzali, only to lose the lead with four seconds remaining.
Nam, who entered fencing as a teenager in 1999, quickly grew into one of the country's most accomplished female fencers, winning two gold medals in the Doha Asian Games, a gold at the 2007 Tokyo Grand Prix and a bronze at the 2007 Fencing World Cup.
Standing at just 1.55 meters, the diminutive fencer overcame her lack of reach with quickness, smarts and skills, and expects to be a world contender for years to come.
Lee Bae-young was another Korean who narrowly missed out on a gold. The weightlifter finished with a sliver in the men's 69-kilogram class after missing a clean-and-jerk attempt of 186 kilograms due to cramp in his right leg.
After receiving medical attention, Lee continued his third try, only to fall to the ground, face-first, as the Chinese audience, inspired by his bravery, yelled ``jia you (come on)."
The products of adidas represent the latest advancements in sports technology. For weightlifters like Jang, the adiSTAR weightlifting footwear allows them to compete in optimized condition. Considering that a weightlifter may lift as much as twice their bodyweight, supportive shoes are required.
adidas designers focused on the fact that the legs do the main part of the job, not the arms, and so gave the shoes a slightly bigger heel, helping to reduce stress on the Achilles tendon. Straps were also designed to stabilize the foot without compromising flexibility.
As weightlifters are required to hold the barbell over their heads for a minimum of three seconds, preventing slips is also crucial. adiSTAR's ``torsion system" enhances stability in the heel and middle of the foot, helping stabilize the foot during lifts.
Fencing athletes like Nam Hyun-hee are required to use a different kind of footwear. The adiSTAR fencing shoes is designed to enhance the footwork of fencers. The most characteristic leg action in fencing is the lunge, where the front leg moves forward while the back leg stays stationary in a straightened position before the attacker times his or her move with an explosive leap.
This requires fencing footwear to be stable, and have multi-directional grip for consistent ground contact.
adiSTAR Fencing footwear provides the support and protection necessary for making crucial hits. The ``Sabaton" forefoot chain armor protects against epee attacks to the foot while the one-piece adiWEAR outsole provides superior grip.
For pole vault queen, Isinbayeva, adidas designers providerd her with ``Blue Dolphin Custom Spikes." The shoe's synthetic leather body, foam insole and flared heel provide the perfect cushioning and momentum for jumpers.
``Swarovski" crystals were also applied, representing her passion for fashion and glamour.
adidas' TECHFIT products help enhance an athletes body posture and explosiveness when executing their moves. The purpose of TECHFIT is to improve joint alignment and muscle balance to maximize power generation. This results in better explosive movements where power or speed is key, such as running, lateral cutting movements (tennis), stopping and starting (football) or lifting (training).
adidas' involvement in the Olympics stretches back to 1928, when founder Adi Dassler, created custom spikes and shoes for athletes competing in the Amsterdam Olympic Games.
Since then, adidas has been supplying the most innovative and inspirational products to help athletes achieve the ``impossible."
The debut of adidas products in the Olympic stage was an immediate success, with Karoline Radke-Batschauer "Lina Radke," wearing adidas spikes, winning gold in the first ever women's 800-meter competition in world record time.
Post World War II the Olympic Games were seen as a way of reuniting the world through athletic competition and the spirit of true sportsmanship. In a glimpse of things to come, Emil Zatopek, the young ``Czech Locomotive," ran to gold in the 10,000m and Silver in the 5,000m wearing Dassler's lightweight shoes. In the same year, ``adidas'' was registered as the brand with the ``Three Stripes."
The adidas trefoil logo was launched especially for the Munich Olympic Games as they returned to Europe. A host nation and Adi Dassler favorite, Heide Rosendahl proved her versatility by winning the women's long jump gold, the silver in the pentathlon, and another gold with the 4x100m Relay. She was a regular tester of adidas products, helping with numerous innovations such as the ``suction cup'' outsole pattern and the wrapped edges of sprint spikes.
The tennis court took center stage in Seoul as Germany's greatest ever female player, Steffi Graf, entered the tournament holding all four tennis majors. Her mission was to turn her grand slam into a ``golden slam." That is exactly what she did, defeating Gabriela Sabatini in the final.
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe made waves in the pool in adidas' ``Full Body Swimsuit'' made by TECHFIT technology.
In the span of one hour, ``Thorpedo" won two gold medals and set two world records.