IT CREPT around the shoulder of beach volleyball champ Kerri Walsh (right) like a bad-idea tattoo, and it was spotted on arms and legs in the Bird's Nest, on wrestling mats and at the basketball court. That strange mass—in its black, blue and pink incarnations—was certainly an Olympic presence. But what was it?
It's called Kinesio Tape—and its new popularity made Kinesio USA director John Jarvis one of the biggest winners of the Games. The tape is designed to give support to muscles and aid in rehabilitating injuries by lifting the skin and increasing blood flow. Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods have worn it, but it wasn't until Jarvis donated 50,000 rolls to 58 countries in Beijing that people started noticing. (Much of the exposure came courtesy of Walsh, whose bikini didn't hide the tape she wore on her surgically repaired shoulder.) The company's website saw a huge spike in traffic during the Games, and Kinesio Tape was, for a time, the most searched term on Google. "We couldn't have paid for better exposure," says Jarvis. "We won the lottery."
ROBERT BECK (WALSH)