Whether it's swimming, running, or skating, full-body racing suits have consistently courted controversy — either because they're perceived as giving an unfair advantage or, as has been the case with this year's US speedskating team, because they actually slow the wearer down. Under Armour's design for the 2014 US Olympic squad was greeted enthusiastically when it was unveiled, with skater Patrick Meek proclaiming it "the fastest speedskating suit ever made."
It was developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin — the aerospace and military contractor — and promised the best aerodynamics yet, however the Wall Street Journal has found that it's ended up hindering skaters as they make their way around the rink. Designed with vents at the back intended to release heat, Under Armour's suit is accused of letting air in and thus undermining the very aerodynamics it's trying to improve.
The US speedskating team has so far performed quite dismally at Sochi, however the official line is that "the evidence does not suggest that the suits have contributed to the disappointing results so far." The Journal's sources beg to differ, and a number of competitors have this week sent their uniforms back to Under Armour asking for alterations. This comes despite extensive testing and training with the suits ahead of the games. With a number of speedskating medals still up for grabs, Under Armour VP Kevin Haley promises his company will "move heaven and earth to make [the suits] better."