Speeding Up Skating in Blue

Norway is historically an ice-skating super-power. It’s competing heavily with the Netherlands, which delivered Sven Kramer, the reigning allround skating world champion. But now the Norwegians have found the ultimate weapon to gain back the championship: the color blue. For the first time in 40 years, the Norwegian athletes wear blue skin suits.
Norwegian researcher Håvard Myklebust found that the color of the skin suit influences its speed.  “We wouldn’t have chosen the color blue if it weren’t for the effect. It influences the speed profile for the air resistance of the fabric. The Dutch think they have the best suits, but we think they’re wrong.”

Kees Venner, a Dutch researcher, ripostes: “80% of the friction of a skater is aerodynamic. Dinimishing the friction with only 1% can make the difference between winning or loosing. However, air can’t perceive the color of the suit. So I don’t think it will have any influence.”

We’ll see who is right at the next speed skating championship which will take place in Amsterdam.