If you’ve been keeping up with the decathlon action in Rio, you might have noticed leader and defending Olympic champion Ashton Eaton rocking a bright blue, medieval-style gladiator helmet.
So what gives?
No, Eaton is not cosplaying as Magneto from X-Men. The headwear he’s sporting is a special cooling helmet that he worked with Nike to design. Essentially, it works as a head-shaped ice pack, helping to reduce the body’s core temperature. When you’re competing in 10 events over two days in the sweltering Rio heat, staying cool is essential.
In a press release after the prototype was unveiled last year, Eaton said the idea for the helmet came from his quest to replicate the refreshing sensation of pouring a bottle of water over his head.
“A perfect scenario would be to feel like you’ve just started on every event,” Eaton said in the release. “The more you do, the more attrition you experience. Rather than realizing immediate physiological gain, the challenge is more about reducing the mental attrition from the two days to maximize each event.”
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