After a series of poor results at the Olympics, the US speedskating team will abandon the Under Armour suits that some team members believe have been hurting their performances, reports The Wall Street Journal. Concerns over the suit initially arose late Thursday, and yesterday the team officially asked for permission to revert to an older uniform. Now that they have permission to do so, the team will reportedly begin using another Under Armour suit, but one that's been more thoroughly tested: it's the same suit that the team used during its strong fall season.
"We were expecting to take home a bunch of medals."
The US speedskating team has only had the new suits since the New Year, and the model was said to be "the fastest speedskating suit in the world." Though the team appears to be pointing fingers at the suit for their underwhelming performances, apparently not every team member believes it's the suit that's to blame. The Journal reports that the speedskating team was split about whether they should revert to the older suit, but pressure from potential medal winners led them to them supporting the decision. The entire team must wear identical suits for the change to be legal.
"Coming off one of the stronger fall seasons, of course we were expecting to take home a bunch of medals, lots of hardware," Kip Carpenter, a coach of the US speedskating team, tells the Journal. Despite the switch, Carpenter is among those who believe the suit isn't at fault, "It's ridiculous to think we're slowing down a second and a half because of a skinsuit."
The purported design flaw on the new Under Armour suits — known as the Mach 39 — is a vent on the back that is meant to let heat escape, but is apparently letting air in, hindering the ability to skate with perfect form. The US speedskating team has several more events over the next few days, so it may be evident soon whether the skating suits were truly problematic or just a place to point the blame.