The impact of skinsuit zigzag tape turbulators on speed skating performance

Nando Timmer*, Leo Veldhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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At the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games, zigzag tape was introduced on the race suit lower legs and cap of speed skaters. Application of these zigzag devices on live skaters and cylinders in the wind tunnel showed large improvements in the aerodynamic drag. These wind-tunnel results were unfortunately not widely published, and the impact of the zigzag strips in a real skating environment was never established. This paper aims to show the background of the application of the zigzag tape and to establish the impact it may have had on speed-skating performance. From comparisons of 5000 m races just before, during and just after the Nagano Olympics and an analysis of historic world record data of the 1500 m men’s speed skating, the impact of the zigzag tape turbulators on average lap times on 1500 and 5000 m races is calculated to be about 0.5 s.

Original languageEnglish
Article number988
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Aerodynamic drag
  • Drag reduction
  • Skating skinsuits
  • Speed skating
  • Zigzag tape

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