Changes to equipment, clothing and protective gear have improved sports performance. In archery, inaccurate wooden arrows have been replaced by high-performance fibreglass and laminated carbon arrows capable of speeds over 240 kilometres (148 miles) per hour. Today’s serious athletes use bike frames made from carbon-reinforced fibreglass, which are stronger, lighter and faster.
The equipment used in tennis, gymnastics, boxing, field hockey, wrestling, volleyball and track and field, boats for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and rowing – is increasingly made from plastics because of their superior performance characteristics.
For example, according to the United States Court and Track Builders Association, most world-class tracks are made with polyurethane, and over 95 percent of all tracks worldwide employ a combination of plastic materials. Plastic-based tracks are able to better withstand adverse weather conditions and UV light, and are easier to maintain than their natural surface counterparts. They are also better for the runner because they have excellent rebound qualities, returning more energy to the foot so that an athlete can move faster.