The Olympic motto – Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter in Latin and Higher, Stronger, Faster – Together in English, has historically applied to the performance of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. As composite materials are used by more sports equipment manufacturers, the motto now applies to the shoes, bicycles, and more used by today’s competitors.
Discovering materials that increase the strength and decrease the weight of the equipment that athletes use leads to faster times and better performance.
The use of Kevlar, often used in anti-ballistic applications, in kayaks allows for structurally sound boats that resist cracking and shattering. Graphene and carbon fiber are used in canoes and boat hulls to add strength and reduce weight while simultaneously increasing glide.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are frequently used in sporting equipment because of their higher strength and specific stiffness as compared to conventional materials. Wilson Sporting Goods created tennis balls with nanomaterials that help the ball maintain its shape by limiting air loss when the ball is hit and allow them to hold their bounce longer. Fiber-reinforced polymers are used in tennis racquets as well, adding flexibility and improving durability and performance.