Olympic skiers use face tape to stay warm, but does it work?

United States Olympic skier Ted Ligety after a training run at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre on February 8, 2018, in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Getty)

The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, are cold — very cold.

Now, it’s the Winter Olympics. It’s supposed to be cold. But the 2018 games are significantly colder than the last several Winter Olympics, and athletes are using some unusual methods to stay warm.

The United States wore special headed jackets at the Opening Ceremony to counter the extreme conditions. The Canadian team has heated snow pants. Norway even brought its own hot chocolate.

American skier Ted Ligety was seen after a practice run on Thursday with a giant piece of athletic tape across his face. He’s not alone. Dozens of skiers and biathletes from different countries have been spotted with athletic tape and vaseline across their face in yet another attempt to combat the extreme cold.

KT Tape, short for Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape, is the company who makes the tape the athletes are using at the games, and is even an Olympic sponsor. It’s the same tape that is often seen on beach volleyball players’ bodies and was seen on New England quarterback Tom Brady’s thumb in the AFC Championship game.

While applying tape to exposed areas of skin can add a layer of insulation and protect against frostbite or windburn, the benefits to this are mostly psychological. The company itself doesn’t know if the face-taping trend is even effective at keeping athletes warm.

“KT Tape is in the process of testing for similar uses, but has not completed the research at this time,” KT Tape spokeswoman Lisa Ramsperger told the New York Times.

So whether it actually keeps athletes warm or not, it seems that the KT Tape trend isn’t going away in PyeongChang anytime soon.

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