Butt Spray, Chalk and Jell-O Improve Olympic Athletic Performance | NBC New York
2016 Rio Olympic Games

2016 Rio Olympic Games

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Butt Spray, Chalk and Jell-O Improve Olympic Athletic Performance

South American chalk feels more like baking powder, according to a Team USA gymnastics member

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
    A gymnast uses chalk before performing during the Gymnastics Rio Gala on Day 12 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Hair gelatin and butt spray and speed glue. Oh my.

    From the bizarre to the edible, and everything in between, Olympic athletes are willing to employ any trick that will help perfect their performance.

    After watching the Olympics competition in synchronized swimming, some spectators walked away wondering how they managed to keep their cap-free hair and makeup immaculate throughout the routine in the water.

    "It's unflavored Jell-O — we mix it with water, and it turns into a gooey mixture," Team USA members told Vogue. "When it dries, it gets really hard and your hair doesn't fall out when you swim. We like to add glitter and other decorations to it — it's easy." 

    And how are gymnasts able to defy ill-fated wedgies during tumbles and leaps?

    "You're not allow to [pick a wedgie] or else you get deducted. So a lot of people use like sticky spray for your butt so your leotard doesn't move," 2008 Olympic individual all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin told People.

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    While butt spray helps the female gymnasts, the U.S. men’s gymnastics team brings their own chalk to competition. 

    The chalk provides the perfect grip for competing in the parallel bars and the horizontal bar, also known as the high bar. The chalk can be the tool that prevents slippage. 

    “They (athletes) always rechalk the bar the way they want it. That’s why a lot of these athletes travel with their own chalk — just to stay in their own comfort zones,” said Jonathan Horton, an American who competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Horton served as a gymnastics analyst for NBC during the Rio Olympics. 

    Team USA's Sam Mikulak noted to NBC Olympics after a trip to Rio earlier this year that the chalk in South America is magnesium carbonate, which he described as feeling more like baking powder than chalk. 

    For swimmers, it's not so much bringing in a new piece of equipment, it's using two of what you've got that may improve performance.

    Many swimmers compete with two caps reportedly to lessen the drag felt in the pool. With six medals in Rio, Michael Phelps was the most dominate swimmer to sport two caps in the pool. 

    The reason why Phelps wore two caps? To make himself aerodynamic, according to NBC News

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    Glue and tape also have a place in Olympic competition. 

    Some table tennis players apply speed glue between the wood of their paddle and the striking surface. It's a technique that aids extra elasticity. Volatire organic compound (VOC) based glues were banned after the Beijing Olympics because of concerns regarding that type of glue on the health of competitors.

    American Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings has been seen sporting kinesio tape in action playing beach volleyball.

    Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson used kinesio tape at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

    "Not only does it look cool, but it actually serves a purpose," Anderson said. 

    Dr. Heather Linden of United States Olympic Committee Sports Medicine says kinesio tape helps with an athlete's posture and circulation, but also admits there is no science to back up those claims yet.