Completing the 10 events of the decathlon is exhausting, even for defending Olympic champion, American Ashton Eaton.
Between events on Wednesday, Eaton wore an a strange kind of blue cap that stretches down over his cheekbones. It drew comparisons on Twitter to a certain comic book villain, and to the ancient Olympians who might have competed with a helmet on.
Turns out, the cap helps Eaton recover. Nike describes it as a “cooling hood,” designed with Eaton's help to retain cool water without leaking, keeping him cool in the heat of Olympic battle.
“A perfect scenario would be to feel like you’ve just started on every event,” Eaton said in a press release. “The more you do, the more attrition you experience. Rather than realizing immediate physiological gain, the challenge is more about reducing the mental attrition from the two days to maximize each event. After asking questions about current recovery techniques, the conversation prompted me to ask myself: Why does it feel good, after running, to pour a bottle of water over your head? I don’t know the physiological answer, but the fact that it does feel better makes me perform better.”
It's not the first time Eaton's gotten into hot water for his headwear at the Rio Games. He was spotted wearing a Team Canada cap last week, though he had a good reason, The Washington Post reported: Cheering on his wife, heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton.