Paralympians head to Rio with high-tech equipment made in the Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS -
For paralympic athletes, proper equipment is crucial to their success, and they're all looking for that special gear that will give them an edge. Some of these athletes have found that edge right here in Colorado Springs with Titan Robotics, a company that's used 3D printing to trick out their bikes.
When it comes to competition, every second counts. But when it comes to cycling, it often comes down to milliseconds.
"That .94 was the difference between first and second," paralympian Allison Jones said.
Jones is a seven time paralympic athlete who also happens to be an engineer at Titan Robotics. She was able to put her two passions together, using 3D printing to help develop new bike parts. The latest development is a new strut that weighs a half-pound less.
"Half a pound -- that's huge. That's a lot of force you have to carry," Jones said.
Her teammate Billy Lister also had some custom parts made. He lost the use of his left arm after a stroke, which can slow him down during races. To help keep it under control, Jones built him an aerodynamic tray.
"With my arm having that uncontrollable nature it would move all over the place. This allows it to stay in that one position and help me focus on everything else," Lister said -- a simple thing that has made a huge difference. "Night and day actually, compared to where we are today to where we were just six months ago."
Lister's new 3D printed gear helped him make the paralympic team. Now that he's physically, mentally, and now mechanically ready, he has his sights set on Rio.
"I'm feeling really good and really ready," Lister said.
Titan Robotics' presence here in Colorado Springs made the partnership convenient for athletes. Instead of waiting for the new parts to arrive, they were able to make tweaks and get new products in just a matter of days.
As for the new technology being legal in the Olympics, Jones said it should be all good, but she's bringing her back up bike just in case -- a bike she won gold with in London.