Team USA is well known for pulling out all of the high-tech stops when it comes to their Olympic apparel, and for the upcoming games in Sochi, it's the speed skaters who are leaving nothing to chance. Their "Mach 39" suits are being made by Under Armour, who in turn went to aerospace company Lockheed Martin to leverage their legendary design chops. The goal was to have a measurable improvement over 100 meters, a target which they claim to have achieved.
The Mach 39 suit uses several high-tech features with five different types of fabric designed to give the skater an edge. For starters, the area between the skater's thighs and under their arms is made from a special super-slick fabric, so friction is minimized and no extra energy is wasted. Then Under Armor added dimples similar to what you find on a golf ball to reduce wind resistance around the head and arms. They conducted wind tunnel tests at Lockheed Martin to show exactly which areas would benefit from this technology. Finally, the upper back area has an open weave area that allows body heat to escape, keeping the skater more comfortable during longer races.
How much of a difference this all will make is yet to be determined. But you can be sure that if Team USA wins big, all of the other countries will be cranking out their own high-tech suits for the next big event. Hopefully some of this tech will also trickle down into sports gear for the rest of us.