For Olympic hopefuls and champions, their swim times boil down to years of dedication, hard work and sacrifice. For exercise physiologists and swimming experts, it’s a matter of statistics. But for the upcoming Olympics, the statistics are skewed because of the new high technology swim suits?which give athletes a boost.

The new bodysuits, which cost in excess of $500 and last less than a season, are bad news to swimming expert Joel Stager. If the new bodysuits improve performance as much as fans and manufacturers suggest, they represent a fundamental shift in the sport, one introduced by commercial interests, not the swimming community, because competitive swimming no longer will be about preparation and “humans against the elements.”

Bodysuits aren’t the only thing seen on Olympic swimmers this year?the mysterious, large brown spots that were seen the back on a Chinese swimmer turn out to be caused by ancient Chinese medicine using suction cups. The August 5th edition of the Independent reports that “the technique, which has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, involves creating a vacuum inside a glass cup, which is then placed on the skin. It is used to drain excess fluids and toxins, stimulate the nervous system and increase blood flow to muscles.” To see an image of the spots, click here.

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