2012 Summer Olympics Beach Volleyball: What's with the tape?
Beach Volleyball is a relatively young Olympic sport, making its full debut at Atlanta 1996.
As its name implies, Beach Volleyball is supposed to take place on a beach – the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games staged their competition on the world famous Bondi Beach. But in London, a city with a distinct lack of beaches, the athletes will compete on an entirely new stage, the world famous Horse Guards Parade.
What's up with that colorful tape crisscrossing the volleyball players?
It's called kinesiology tape, and ever since the Beijing Olympics four years ago, it's gone mainstream. During the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China, volleyball player Kerri Walsh sported black tape on her shoulder. Known as kinesio taping, physical therapists utilize this tape as an alternative method to traditional white athletic tape. The tape is administered in very specific positions to reduce pain and provide support to athletes. However, kinesio tape has uses outside the sports world, including helping breast cancer patients improve lymph fluid flow through the body.
"The stretchiness sort of mimics what the muscle does," says Jessica Tranchina, a physical therapist who works with high-level endurance athletes in Austin. "When it contracts, it shortens; when it relaxes, it lengthens. Same with the kinesio tape."