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Seeing purple: Fans get a new track colour and maybe record-breaking times at Paris Olympics

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PARIS -

Fans will be seeing purple at the Olympics when athletes try to set records at this summer's Paris Games.

In a move away from a more traditional red-brick clay colour, an Olympic track is going purple for the first time.

The pieces of vulcanized rubber track were produced at a factory in northern Italy and workers have been laying them down at Stade de France, the national stadium hosting track events.

Workers even appeared to be doing an event of their own. Call it track rolling.

Getting down on their hands and knees, and with their hard hats on, they patiently and meticulously unfurl each strip before hammering a nail in to keep it in position. More than 1,000 such rolls will be used for the track, which requires about one month's work and 2,800 pots of glue in total.

Three years ago, three world records and 12 Olympic marks were set on the red-brick track in Tokyo.

Mondo has provided the track at every Summer Games since Montreal in 1976, and the company hopes to do even better in Paris. New generation granules are more elastic and cohesive, while multiple algorithms create a more optimal shape and dimension for the air cells inside the track, reducing energy loss and thereby improving performance.

Expect more records to fall at the Stade de France, said Alain Blondel, the sports manager overseeing athletics events at the July 26-Aug. 11 Paris Games and the Aug. 28-Sept. 8 Paralympics.

"The first indications are that it will be a very, very good track," said Blondel, a former Olympic decathlete. "If we see athletes with personal bests on the scoreboard, it means we did a good job. They will come into their best form, best shape of their life."

But why choose purple?

"That's one of the colours of the Games that we have (along) with, blue (and) green," Blondel said. "The rubber itself is a perfect quality, the best quality. I'm pretty confident that we will have something exceptional in this stadium."

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