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Suits — Not Steroids — Skew Olympic Swimming

Most swimmers competing in the Bejing Olympics this summer believe they will fail without a new $600 swimsuit, The Economist reports.

In February Speedo introduced its LZR swimsuit and 38 of the 42 world swimming records broken since then were by swimmers wearing the suit — which has no seams and takes 20 minutes to get into.

Do good swimmers just wear better bathing suits or does the suit make you a good swimmer?

The Economist opts for the latter:

Indeed, some of those records have been claimed by less-than-notable racers, suggesting that the difference lies in the apparel, not the athlete.

As does the Japan Swimming Federation, which changed its domestic sponsorship regulations so swimmers can wear LZRs. Even Nike is allowing its athletes to switch to Speedos.

TYR, another suit maker is suing Speedo’s parent company on antitrust grounds and some call the LZR “doping on a hanger,” reports The Economist.

The International Olympic Committee has already approved rival high-tech swimsuits, but — by some reports — Speedo still has the psychological edge.