During her dynamic 2018 Winter Olympics performance, Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel in an Olympic competition, but three massive letters emblazoned on her thigh also got everyone talking.
As she skated, twirled, and nailed difficult move after move, it was hard to ignore the huge “USA” emblazoned there, which at first glance appeared to be one serious patriotic tribute. It turned out to be none other than the USA-team branded KT Tape Pro USA tape, which the company confirmed Sunday night.
“Everyone is wondering, but that's no tattoo on @mirai_nagasu's leg, that's #KTTape PRO USA tape! We're proud to provide pain relief and support to #TeamUSA,” KT Tape tweeted Sunday. Nagasu replied to their tweet, writing, “This is the first I’m hearing of this but definitely not a big bold tattoo.”
So, what’s the deal with kinesiology tape, anyway? It reportedly “improves athletic performance and reduces the risk of injury better than traditional white athletic tape,” according to the New York Times. It also speeds healing by slightly lifting skin away from sore or injured tissues, improves blood flow, and lymphatic drainage, and supports injured joints and muscles.
KT brand tape, specifically, is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments, according to its website. When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, lymphatic fluid can build up and cause inflammation and swelling, as well as muscle discomfort or pain. The tape helps solve that issue.
It’s clear the KT Tape worked like a charm for Nagasu (take one look at that that triple axel), just like it has for other athletes, on and off the ice. Tom Brady and American volleyball player Kerri Walsh have also been spotted using the tape, among others.