3D Printing at the 2016 Rio Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have showcased athletes from around the globe performing at the highest level. A less visible, yet crucial, aspect of the games has been the advancements in equipment for the modern athlete. 3D printing continues to reshape how products are designed and manufactured, allowing for greater design freedom and accelerating product development  timelines across most industries. Athletic equipment manufacturers have been noted as innovative adopters of additive manufacturing technologies, and 3D printing has made its mark on the 2016 Olympiad. Check out the top 5 uses of 3D printing in the Rio games!


NO. 5 // Medal Stand Footwear

Superlative Olympian Michael Phelps has already won a number of gold medals in the 2016 Rio games, but during his first ascent of the medal podium, Phelps donned customized shoes that were created with 3D printing.

The shoes integrate a number of unique design elements, including his son’s name and footprint // Read More

Logo 3D Printing Rio

NO. 4 // Olympic Logo

"They distilled the essence of Rio into a simple concept. It had to be a sculptural logo, because Rio is a sculptural city,” said Creative Director Frederico Gelli.

“It has to be a great experience. It had to be visual, it had to be tactile and it needed to inspire people.” // Read More

French Cycling Handlebars 3D Printing Rio

NO. 3 // Cycling Handlebars

According to Marc Pajon, the former director of GIE S2A, the benefits of the lightweight 3D printed handlebars became apparent after seeing French cycling champions bike with them.

The French Cycling Federation was then inspired to introduce these at the Rio 2016 games // Read More

Spike Plates 3D Printing Rio

NO. 2 // Sprinting Spikes

"If there's some way to make a product that really enhances the benefit for the athlete," said Shane Kohatsu, Nike's innovation design director, "then for sure we'll be diving into that as quickly as possible."' // Read More

A number of companies besides Nike, including Brooks Running, have also integrated 3D printing into the production cycle for sprinting spikes.

FATHOM worked with Brooks Running and American Decathlete Jeremy Taiwo to develop a 3D printed spike plate in the run-up to Rio.

NO. 1 // Cycling Prosthetic

“My dream is to make better fitting performance prostheses accessible to all, so I am really excited about the results of this project,” said Denise Schindler, a German cyclist who lost her leg in an accident at the age of two.

“Ultimately, the number one most important thing about any prosthesis, and especially a sports prosthesis due to the amount of time spent training and competing in it, is comfort. Being able to develop a well-fitting prosthesis which doesn’t compromise on performance, in less time and for less money than traditional means, is a real break-through.” // Read More

What other 3D printing developments are making waves? Follow our social media pages to keep up with the latest // Facebook // Twitter // LinkedIn // Instagram // YouTube

Imagery and News Sources: 3ders.org, 3Dprint.com, 3Dprintingindustry.com, Denise Schindler, Michael Phelps, Brooks Running, Nike, Under Armour, Frederico Gelli, 3Dprintnerd.com, Engadget, Reuters