The United States has not had a good go of it in any of the skating competitions to start the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and one of the reasons may be their specially designed Under Armour suits.
Not the athletes, not the blades, but the high tech suits created by Under Armour. According to people familiar with the U.S. skating team, the suits have a design flaw.
The Wall Street Journal reports the following:
Vents on back of the suit, designed to allow heat to escape, are also allowing air to enter and create drag that keeps skaters from staying in the low position they need to achieve maximum speed, these people said. One skater said team members felt they were fighting the suit to maintain correct form.
“I would like to think that it’s not the suit,” said U.S. skater Shani Davis. “I would never blame the suit. I’d much rather blame myself. I just wasn’t able to do it today, but other people were.”
The designer of the suits for the Netherlands says he tried a similar ventilation system on his teams suits years ago but abandoned the idea believing it slowed skaters down.
It’s worth nothing that the United States team trained in higher altitudes in Colorado and on an outdoor track.
Of course “other countries are just getting really fast” says female skater Brittany Bowe.