- Title: Advances in spike technology are laughable and unfair, says Bolt
- Date: 19th July 2021
- Summary: KINGSTON, JAMAICA (JULY 13, 2020) (REUTERS) USAIN BOLT ON SET OF COMMERCIAL SHOOT (MUTE) (SOUNDBITE)(English) OLYMPIC CHAMPION USAIN BOLT SAYING: Question: "So we've seen advances in shoe/spike technology and athletes have had an opportunity to run faster. We've seen a number of records going in distance records so far we've seen the four hurdles men and women going. Your thoughts on spike technology and what it is doing for the sport in terms of records being challenged?" Bolt: "When I was told about it I couldn't believe that this is what we've gone to here.That we are adjusting the level of the spikes to where now it's giving us advance to run even faster. And to me it's weird to know. You understand, and it's unfair for all athletes because I know that in the past they actually tried, and people said 'no we can't change the spikes.' To know that they are actually doing it, it's laughable. It's one of those things so we'll see. I can't do anything about it. A rule is a rule."
- Embargoed: 2nd August 2021 18:32
- Keywords: Nike Tokyo Olympics Trayvon Bromell Usain Bolt
- Location: KINGSTON, JAMAICA
- City: KINGSTON, JAMAICA
- Country: USA
- Topics: Olympics,Sport,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EMICUNZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Usain Bolt said that advances in spike technology that could help wipe out his world records are laughable and that the new shoes also give an unfair advantage over any athletes not wearing them.
After athletes ripped through the record books in distance running with carbon-plated, thick-soled shoes, the technology has now moved into sprint spikes, where - although there is less time in a race for the advantage to make an impact - it is still enough to make a difference.
"When I was told about it I couldn't believe that this is what we have gone to, you know what I mean, that we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it's now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster," Bolt told Reuters in an interview from Kingston.
The 100- and 200-metre world record holder competed in Puma spikes throughout his career.
"It's weird and unfair for a lot of athletes because I know that in the past they (shoe companies) actually tried and the governing body said 'No, you can't change the spikes', so to know that now they are actually doing it, it's laughable," the eight-time Olympic Champion added.
American Trayvon Bromell is favourite to take Bolt's 100m title in Tokyo. He is the fastest in the world over the distance this year with 9.77 secs, but the 2015 world 100m bronze medallist is less convinced about the impact of the shoes.
"I don't think there's a lot of data to show that they're having such a big improvement," Bromell, who runs for New Balance, told reporters last week.
"I know we (New Balance) are constantly building onto what we have to make the perfect spike, but for me personally as a runner I still feel like it's not enough data to really show."
While other companies now have similar shoe models, Nike looks set to dominate and is priding itself on being a leader in the technology.
"We're just smarter about how we engineer and assemble them," Nike said in an email to Reuters.
The company added that it works to keep its athletes on the cutting edge while staying within the rules.
Weighing in on developments in shoe technology, World Athletics said: "The current regulations (July 2020) were designed to give certainty to athletes preparing for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to preserve the integrity of elite competition and to limit technological development to the current level until after the Olympic Games in Tokyo, across all events."
It said a working group on shoes aimed to set parameters to achieve a balance between innovation, competitive advantage and availability of the products.
(Production: Peter Bullock)
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