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How an Olympic skier uses wind tunnels to shave seconds off his time

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steven nyman flickr
steven nyman flickr

Olympic skier Steven Nyman's tuck is as well-renowned as David Beckham's free kick, reads a new story in Wired by Jeffrey Marlow. And Nyman didn't perfect his tuck on the mountain as he rounded flags at 80 mph, flying towards the finish line. He did it in a wind tunnel.

"Wind tunnel data has unearthed a new world of hidden milliseconds," writes Marlow — milliseconds that can be shaved off by ordering tighter, European-tailored ski suits, for example. But the US ski team's scientific data collection doesn't end there. It employs GPS tracking to help skiers find the best lines, positive psychology training, fluid dynamics studies, and daily blood tests to monitor and regulate glucose and creatine levels. Science will give the US team its best chance in years at curbing its mediocre record, the story says.

Nyman is "a wind tunnel freak," says Troy Flanagan, a US ski coach and PhD in aerospace engineering. Come this Sunday, Nyman could also be a gold medalist. For the full story, head over to Wired.