For the past two days, I’ve been holed up at the Nike HQ in Beaverton, Oregon, for their Beijing ’08 Innovation Summit. I’ve seen shoes that weigh less than socks and are based on bridge design. I’ve seen swimsuits that claim to be faster than the Speedo LZR Racer suit currently making headlines for breaking too many world records. And I watched Alberto Salazar train American distance runners (and husband and wife) Adam and Kara Goucher on the lawn behind the Tiger Woods Center. That, I must admit, was very cool.
As I sit in these innovation presentations, I have also been pondering this question … What is the difference between engineering Cheetah Legs so a double amputee sprinter can compete with the able-bodied (Oscar Pistorius), engineering a human body to break world records with HGH (Marion Jones), and engineering a space-aged swimsuit to break world records (LZR Racer, Nike Swift Suit)? In all three cases, certain athletes have access to an advantage over the other men or women standing at the start. So who decides what is legal and what is not?
Yesterday, Nike unveiled their newest basketball shoe, the Hyperdunk. A guy named Kobe Bryant stopped by to discuss its conception and design. Check out my espnthemag.com blog on his visit.
EPCOT? … Vacation Resort? … Nope. Nike HQ.