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3M VAULTS INTO GYMNASTICS WITH NEW ANTI-SLIP MATERIAL

 3M VAULTS INTO GYMNASTICS WITH NEW ANTI-SLIP MATERIAL
 Olympic Sponsor Applies Technical Know-How to Promote
 Athlete Safety and Performance
 ST. PAUL, Minn., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- When the Olympic Games begin in Barcelona this weekend, gymnasts will compete on a vaulting horse with a new anti-slip cover made with a proprietary surface material developed by 3M, one of 12 worldwide sponsors of the 1992 Olympics. The material was chosen by Olympic Games gymnastics officials for its ability to enhance gymnasts' safety and performance.
 The anti-slip vault cover material is a flexible polyurethane sheet with a propriety pyramid-patterned surface. Traditional cover materials become slippery over time, and this wear is hastened by the chalk athletes use to improve their grip and absorb perspiration. The new material retains its firm-grip properties over longer periods and can be cleaned easily.
 The idea to apply the anti-slip material to gymnastics equipment came about in 1990, when 3M was challenged by legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi to explore ways of improving the safety of the sport. 3M's senior design engineers Mark Reeves and Marge Hartfel pursued the challenge with athletes, coaches and the 3M technical community. They found that slippery surfaces are a major concern in a sport where grip is critical.
 3M's engineers then identified a newly patented abrasives material with a precisely structured surface that could be suitable for gymnastics. "3M knows surface technology, but not gymnastics," said Reeves. "So we spent a lot of time in the gym to hear gymnastics experts evaluate different materials."
 The athletes and coaches liked what they experienced. According to USGF Executive Director Mike Jacki, "The 3M-structured material promises to be one of the most significant contributions in recent years to both the safety and performance of the sport."
 When Karolyi saw the result of his challenge, he said, "What 3M developed is a tremendous breakthrough relative to the quality of the sport. The era of the slippery surface is over."
 -0- 7/20/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Auvin of 3M, 612-736-2597; Cliff Dektar, 213-965-1990 or Jodi Manchik, 212-986-7080, both of the Lippin Group, for 3M/
 (MMM) CO: Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing ST: Minnesota IN: SU:


AL -- MN011 -- 0819 07/20/92 14:28 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 20, 1992
Words:366
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