Why UnderArmour Got Too Big for Team USA’s Olympic Britches

speed skaters

A good craftsman never blames his tools. Unless you skate for Team USA. 

Athletic wear companies are always trying to trick up uniforms. Look at the Oregon Ducks as Nike’s petri dish. Adidas is bringing the catchy Zebra look back. And then there’s UnderArmour, which looks like they drop a hit of acid before they take it to the drawing board.

They make great stuff. I own several shoes and suits of theirs. Suffice to say, I’m not alone so Team USA thought it would be a great idea to get the company to help Team USA speed skating to “protect this house.” Together, with defense giant Lockheed Martin, a newer, faster, stronger uniform was made.

And now, it sucks out loud or has it?

If you have been watching Team USA speed skating for any amount of time during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, you have noticed the amount of suckage on display. Underwhelming speed skating to say the least. No one can figure it out. The athletes know they are better; yet, bupkus in medals. There had to be a reason. There has to be a scapegoat explanation.

The uniforms.

UnderArmour_SpeedSkating8According to the Wall Street Journala “design flaw” in these state-of-the-art-badass-go-team-usa-aerodynamic-good-times skating suits has been discovered.

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. Sure, you can always consider a bad skating day, training in different conditions than the track in Sochi, or just the other folks were better, but … yeah, let’s blame UnderArmour.

Kevin Haley, the senior vice president of innovation for Under Armour, which has sponsored the U.S. team since 2011, said he was confident the suits were fast, but, in the absence of medal-winning performances, “we’ll move heaven and earth to make them better.”

Of course they will because your company is eating an ess-sammich because of this ballyhoo.

“I would like to think that it’s not the suit,” said Mr. Davis, a two-time gold medalist, who finished eighth in the 1,000 meter despite dominating this season’s World Cup circuit. “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.”

Nonetheless, he did blame suit because it’s just easier than looking in the mirror. And then, this happened:

Maybe Team USA speed skaters just aren’t good craftsmen and women? What do I know? I’m not an athlete any longer and all I had to worry about was a Speedo. (You’re welcome for the visual.)