Sport Manufacturing Clients
Paragon has worked with many of the world’s leading sport design and manufacturing companies.
Paragon is a privately held Canadian R&D company that has developed several important technologies helping transform sport, including world leading athletic training and nutrition chemistry programs, motor-specific training equipment, specialized competition equipment & sport training apparel, and world class multi-sport training facility designs.
These technologies resulted from Paragon’s internal R&D efforts to increase athletic speed & power and to reduce and rehabilitate injury. They have been instrumental in helping many athletes from a wide range of sport set world records, win Olympic gold, and perform in the pros.
Paragon developed technologies have been world leaders in several different fields:
- Professional hockey training
- Power/Speed training for Olympic sport
- Advanced sports nutrition research & metabolic testing
- Olympic sprint shoe design
- Professional sports training apparel
- Sport training equipment design & development
- Olympic bobsled design
- Multi-sport athletic training facility design
Paragon was initially formed in 1989, with support from Canada’s National Research Council, to privately develop bobsled technology for Canada’s national programs. Within two years the company built the only North American designed racing sled to ever set a world track record on Calgary’s Olympic track.
Paragon has evolved from developing bobsled technology and Olympic athletes into a diversified sport / medical / climate / energy sytems research, technology development, and consulting company.
Sport Development Partnerships
Prior to Paragon’s work with NIKE, adidas dominated sprint shoe technology for Olympic sport. NIKE’s regular line-up of commercial sprint shoes were considered by most top athletes to be a distant second tier class of product.
Then Paragon was asked by Brian Stewart, NIKE’s director of Advanced Product Engineering, to help design a revolutionary sprint shoe for future 200m Olympic champion and world record holder Michael Johnson. Through analysis of high-speed video, Paragon provided detailed biomechanical presentation of Johnson’s sprinting technique as it relates to other top athletes, particularly as applies to his efficient stride and unique cornering technique.
Based on that analysis and subsequent presentation to NIKE’s design & engineering teams, Paragon then worked with NIKE’s project designer to provide the basic bio-mechanical design parameters that would produce the ultra-light, slightly asymmetric, gold shoes Johnson would use to set his famous 1996 Olympic and world records. Paragon’s design memo to NIKE successfully predicted the margin of Johnson’s 200m world record run the following year based on the weight reductions and other specifications advised. Those calculations and resulting predictions were based on Paragon’s own internal sprint testing with different shoe weights that were conducted with electronic timing.
At the USA Olympic Track and Field Trials, Johnson uses his new NIKE gold sprint shoes to run a blazing WR 19.66 second 200m, breaking one of the oldest records in Track and Field, Pietro Miena’s 19.72 altitude assisted run. Because of NIKE’s marketing plans, Johnson does not wear these shoes again until the Olympics in July.
At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta Johnson once again uses his gold sprint shoes to destroy the field and set one of the most dominant records ever achieved in track and field, a blistering 19.32s 200m. (It will finally be broken by the great Usain Bolt in Beijing in 2008.)
Paragon also provided NIKE with technical and bio-mechanical analysis of NIKE’s commercial sprint shoe technology and the problems with it. Three years later, NIKE completed the expensive retooling of its commercial sprint shoe production line and incorporates the changes Paragon recommended.
NIKE used Johnson’s record performances and the Gold Shoes to become a major marketing force in the running, Olympic sport, and track & field markets, and NIKE began to gain market share traditionally owned by adidas.
Paragon’s internal MSR research that led to NIKE’s development of Johnson’s ultra-light shoes is also the basis for the development of Paragon’s future MSR training equipment which will allow athletes to achieve unprecedented athletic performance.
In 1993, after meeting Bock when trying out for the Canadian Bobsled team, unheralded future 100m Olympic Champion and World Record holder Donovan Bailey begins training daily in Paragon speed training apparel.
Bailey, running for adidas, then wins the 100m at the 1995 World Track and Field Championships after wearing his Paragon training clothes everyday in his last two years of training.
The following year at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, after his standard warm-up in Paragon speed training apparel,Bailey dramatically comes from behind towin the 100m Gold in a world record 9.84 seconds.
A week later, Canada’s Bailey, Bruny Surin, Glenroy Gilbert, and Robert Esmie shock the USA and world, beating the Americans in the 4 x 100m track & field relay on their home soil.
This sets up the future “World’s Fastest Man” Race in Toronto’s Skydome between Bailey and Michael Johnson.
In the fall of 1996 after the Olympics, Bailey convinces Paragon to approach adidas about producing Paragon’s revolutionary clothing.
This leads to Paragon working with adidas to develop new shoes for Bailey for the upcoming “World’s Fastest Man” race. In addition to modifications to the spike plate on Bailey’s new shoes, Paragon specifies the use of parachute material to produce adidas’ lightest sprint shoe ever.
The “World’s Fastest Man” race, held on June 1, 1997 at Skydome, becomes a highly charged grudge match and widely publicized marketing event pitting Bailey & adidas against Johnson & NIKE. With the whole world watching, the winner of the race will pocket $1 million, the first purse of its kind for a Track & Field event.
Both competitors are wearing sprint shoes designed to Paragon specifications. Bailey is also wearing a new speed suit and matching adidas Paragon-designed apparel in warm-up for the race.
The race is no contest, as Bailey beats Johnson out of the blocks and around the corner. Johnson is trailing Bailey when Johnson pulls up hurt.
Paragon then signed a two-year contract with adidasto help overhaul and redevelop its commercial line of sprint shoes, as well as those developed specifically for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In 1997, due to tight Canadian federal government budgets and aggressive debt reduction programs, Paragon realized that if Canada was going to develop the modern indoor/outdoor multi-sport training facilities its athletes need, Paragon would have to do the majority of any initial work itself, without government help, and probably through independent volunteer cooperation and non-profit construction instead.
In March 2000, after three years of concept development, structure design, and engineering, Paragon approached Mondo North America, to ask if it would provide the necessary surface constructions and materials at cost. Mondo is the official world-wide supplier of track surfaces to the IAAF and Summer Olympics.
Not only did Mondo generously agree to do this, it also helped provide additional engineering, architectural, and technical expertise necessary to finish developing the project at no charge as well. Because of this commitment, Mondo was crucial in allowing our volunteer project to move forward into the final stages of design and planning.
This collaboration also led to Paragon’s providing Mondo consulting services related to its engineering research and a successful marketing strategy.
A proven innovator, more than 200 world records have been set on Mondo’s track and field competition surfaces. For the past 40 years Mondo has developed every major innovation related to running track surfaces. It does this by reinvesting 10% of profits into R&D and works with many sports research laboratories, including the world’s leading facility, the Human Performance Laboratory in Calgary.
As importantly to Paragon, Mondo’s surfaces are 100% environmentally friendly. For both technological and ecological reasons it uses natural rubber as the main ingredient in its sport surfaces. The rubber is harvested according to sustainable developmental principles—the hevea tree is not harmed, and continues to grow and reproduce.
There are no toxic emissions when Mondo Performance X is produced or installed, and the finished product contains no hazardous materials or heavy metals, as is the case with synthetic track materials used by its competitors.
NHL veteran Gary Roberts’ Graf skates had been too stiff and high and were preventing him from skating properly, so during the off-season Gary had trained in low cut Mission skates in an attempt to get to a lower more powerful skating position. However those skates left his legs too unstable, leading to excessive energy use and constant fatigue. By the end of October he decided to switch out of his Missions and back to Graf, having scored practically no points until then. To solve his skate problems, Gary recruited Paragon to come to Toronto to analyze his problem and then work with Graf to design his new skates.
Bock met with Graf’s team and they worked closely together to work out a design that would hopefully solve the problem.
Within two weeks Gary was skating in the Paragon/Graf 749 V-Notch. This model allowed him to achieve full dorsi-flexion with proper ankle support, allowing him to use his leg muscles properly and efficiently. His speed, endurance and agility improved dramatically. Not only did this allow him to quickly turn his season around, he was also named to the 2003-2004 All-Star Team for the first time in 11 years.
Ultimately Gary decided to leave Graf again during the following summer, as Graf was not able to consistently mount his skate blades properly from one pair to another, affecting his skating and causing him to make constant adjustments.
A year later, during the lockout he was skating in the custom-built Paragon 749 Flex, a design incorporating Paragon’s patented flexible boot design that provide both a longer boot life and stable flex characteristics over the full life of the boot.
During the 2004-2005 NHL lockout Gary Roberts was skating in the Paragon’s custom-built Paragon 749 Flex, a design incorporating the patent-pending flex panels that provide both a longer boot life and stable flex characteristics over the full life of the boot.
Bock had initially brought these hand-built skates to Toronto to observe Gary’s skating and to compare it with his skating in the 749 V-Notch (see Graf). Gary adapted to the new custom-built skate immediately. With no prior break-in, he was able to effortlessly skate low and powerfully with the full support required for excellent balance and agility, necessary for the continuous stop and start skating he required to play at a high level. This skate performed beautifully in several months of testing and scrimmage play during the NHL Lockout last winter.
Paragon then began work to develop this patented skate product with Reebok based on this model. However Reebok insisted on trying to build the initial prototypes without Paragon input and had difficulty effectively copying Paragon’s hand-built prototype, frustrating Roberts and ultimately causing him to leave Reebok in 2007 for Bauer.