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Olympians are wearing tape on their faces to stay warm — but does it work?

Here's the deal with that funny tape you're seeing on athletes' faces at the Olympics.
/ Source: TODAY

Why do the beaming athletes at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have tape on their faces?

Several skiers have been spotted wearing athletic tape over their cheeks and noses to shield their faces from the harsh wind and severe temperatures.

Beijing 2022 Olympics: cross-country skiing, women's sprint freestyle
Athletes Maja Dahlqvist, Jonna Sundling of Sweden and Jessie Diggins of the U.S. come second, first and third respectively in the women's cross-country sprint freestyle event.Sergei Bobylev / TASS via Getty Images

Many of them are wearing KT Tape, or kinesiology tape, an elastic sports tape originally created to support muscles and joints and provide drug-free pain relief.

It's a trend first seen at the Winter Olympics in 2018 in PyeongChang, when Alpine skier Ted Ligety wore a strip of USA-branded tape prominently across his nose and cheeks.

KT Tape is often spotted on shoulders or muscles at the Summer Olympics. Tom Brady notably wore KT Tape on his injured hand.

AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots
Tom Brady wore KT Tape on his injured right hand during the AFC Championship Game in January.Getty Images

But for the winter athletes, it's more like a shield than a pain reliever. However, the tape was never designed to protect winter athletes from freezing conditions.

“We’ve seen KT Tape used as protection against the wind in winter sports over the years, so although it isn’t a clinically approved usage, we appreciate the ingenuity," Greg Venner, CEO & President of KT Tape, told TODAY.

Biathlon - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 4
Johannes Thingnes Boe of Team Norway competes during Men's Biathlon.Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Still, in light of the harsh weather on the slopes, many athletes are turning to tape to protect the areas of their faces that can’t be shielded with goggles or masks.

As of now, there is no research that proves KT Tape is an effective barrier against cold temperatures. In fact, the company warns that the tape can be difficult to remove.

"KT Tape doesn’t endorse the use of kinesiology tape on the face as it isn’t clinically tested, and the adhesive that works so well to keep tape in place to provide long-lasting muscle and joint support can be a bit more difficult to remove from the delicate skin on the face," Venner said.

"However, we certainly applaud the creativity – we are proud to support Team USA!”

Biathlon - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 1
Sean Doherty of Team United States looks on after shooting during Mixed Biathlon 4x6km relay.David Ramos / Getty images

The jury may still be out on the actual, medical benefits of face-taping, but for now, expect to see athletes continuing the trend.