AMERICAN FORK — American figure skater Mirai Nagasu thrilled fans with her athleticism and artistry on the ice during Monday’s Olympics coverage, but her performance also raised questions on social media.
People were curious about an odd dark coloring on her upper thigh. It turned out to be KT Tape — made by a Utah company.
“I’m guessing she had a strain in that upper thigh area,” Greg Venner, CEO of KT Tape, said of Nagasu.
Over the past decade, KT Tape has grown in American Fork, doubling its business in the past three years.
KT Tape is the exclusive provider of kinesiology tape for the U.S. Olympic team. The tape is usually used for shoulder and knee injuries. The USA-emblazoned blue tape is being used by some Winter Olympic athletes, including some using it in a unique way that caught the attention of fans and the company.
KT Tape is elastic, adhesive sports tape that comes in bright colors. When applied properly, it helps athletes deal with aches and pains of soft tissue injuries. The tape is sold in sporting goods stores, drug stores and grocery stores around the world.
Venner said the company is all about helping athletes perform at their very best.
“It will provide pain relief, but it will also provide support to soft tissue damage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints,” he said.
The company sponsors several Winter Olympians and supplies the whole U.S. team. KT Tape is used by professional athletes, as well as nonprofessionals, on their everyday workouts. The sports tape can often be seen on shoulder and knee injuries.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady used KT Tape several weeks ago on his hand for his infamous thumb injury before the AFC Championship game.
Earlier this week, American alpine skier Ted Ligety tried it on his face to try and fend off frostbite while traveling 70 to 80 mph downhill during frigid temperatures in Pyoengchang, South Korea.
"They are using it to protect their skin, and this is not really an application, so I consider this off-label," Venner said.2 comments on this story
The CEO called Ligety’s tape application “unusual” and said his use of it is not one the company has fully researched yet, but “athletes are very creative.”
KT Tape has come up with 55 applications, so far. The company is also in the early stages of researching the tape’s effectiveness as a windshield for frostbite.
But for anyone who has tried using the tape in order to prevent frostbite, Venner recommends removing it with baby oil so as not to hurt sensitive skin on the face.
"We know that we're helping those elite athletes," he said, "That's a real fulfillment of what we do."