Hey remember that weird racing swimsuit that we saw during the 2008 Olympics? That was the LZR Racer, developed through a partnership between Speedo and NASA. The seriously engineered full-body compression suit led to a slew medals for those who wore them.
Those sponsored by swimwear companies other than Speedo actively revolted, insisting that wearing an LZR Racer was integral to their ability to remain competitive. Shares in companies such as Asics and TYR dropped when it became clear that they couldn’t keep up, with TYR even filing an antitrust lawsuit in an attempt to put the brakes on Speedo’s onrushing freight train full of gold medals.
Following the games, FINA (the international governing body of swimming) passed a ruling outlawing space-age materials and limiting the amount of a swimmer’s body that can be covered by a swimsuit. Plus, this way everybody gets to see more of Michael Phelps’ torso. Because that’s what he needs. More torso.
So the suit was banned for giving an unfair advantage in a competition. That’s the story of four innovations in a list from Cracked. The fifth item, the Lockheed AQM-60 Kingfisher, had nothing to do with competition, which only makes the story more maddening.
(Image credit: NASA)