RIO DE JANEIROCopyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
So you're flipping through the Olympic sports and come across rifle shooting.
The first question that comes to mind: What in the world are they wearing?
Without question, those stiff, colorful jackets and pants, visors with blinders attached and sporty shoes make for a unique get-up. It's like they're part of a visor-wearing motorcycle gang from a futuristic movie.
But the uniforms are more equipment than fashion statement, like modifications to the engine of a race car.
Shooting is a sport that requires immense body control, everything from arm and leg movements to breath and heartbeats affecting the shot. The difference between gold and not reaching the finals can be millimeters, so shooters want to be as still as possible.
The uniforms help with that.
The jacket and pants are stiff and usually made of canvas, with rougher patches on contact points like the elbows and shoulder. The stiffness helps keep shooters insulated against small body movements like muscle tremors or breathing.
The pants have zippers down the back of the legs, allowing 3-position shooters to change flexibility; zipped for support when standing, unzipped for more freedom in kneeling and prone. The jackets have zippers on the front for the same purpose.
Even with the zippers, it's not easy getting around; shooters won't be running any sprints in their uniforms.
The shoes often look like something Marty McFly would wear, only without the auto lacing function. There are specific requirements, too, including thickness of the sole to how far up the leg high-tops can reach.
Throw in a visor with the middle slightly flopped down and blinders attached, well, it can look a little strange to the uninitiated.
Remember every bit of it is for a purpose and it will all make sense.