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Is flaw with new suits hurting Olympic speedskaters?

Shani Davis

Some poor results among U.S. speedskaters at the Olympics in Sochi has led the team’s coaches to question what is causing the unexpected problems. According to the Wall Street Journal, the speedskating coaches believe a flaw with the new speedskating suits is hurting the athletes.

Here’s what The Journal wrote in an article published on Thursday:

According to three people familiar with the U.S. team, these suits—which were designed by apparel sponsor Under Armour and billed before the Games as a major advantage—have a design flaw that may be slowing the skaters down. These people said that vents on back of the suit, designed to allow heat to escape, are allowing air to enter the suit and create drag that keeps the skaters from staying in the “low” position they need to achieve maximum speed. One skater said team members felt they were fighting the suit to maintain correct form.

No American has finished better than seventh in any of the six events so far, including Shani Davis, who won gold in the 1,000 meter at the last two Olympics but finished eighth this year.

An Under Armour executive told The Journal that they believe the suits are fast, but since they have not translated to medals, they will do anything to make changes to improve results. Several skaters have even taken their suits to an Under Armour seamstress to have a piece of rubber added to the flap.

Though Under Armour put the suits through extensive testing to make them as good as possible, this is the first the skaters have worn them in competition, which seems like a mistake.

Davis refused to blame the suit for his slower than expected times, but many people believe the suit has a lot to do with it. A Dutch team suit designer even said he had experimented with an opening a few years ago, but he found out that it was slowing the skaters down.

It sure as heck sounds to me like Under Armour needs to make a big change — now. It’s too late to fix past problems, but maybe they can get things figured out for the remaining events.

H/T Fourth-Place Medal

Figure skater Jeremy Abbott takes bad fall, finishes routine anyway (Video)

Jeremy-Abbott-fall

US figure skater Jeremy Abbott took a painful looking fall during his routine on Thursday. He was attempting a quad-toe, triple-toe (which sounds very impressive) when he lost his balance and landed hard on his hip. It initially looked like he would not be able to continue.

Abbott grabbed his hip in pain for about 10-15 seconds before responding to the crowd’s urge to get back up and skate. He was able to continue, and he went on to put together a nifty routine that included this stuff that Deadspin shared with us:

I believe that was the same trick Abbott was attempting when he ate it, so kudos to him for going at it again. Amazingly, he still finished with a score of 72.58 and was able to qualify.

Swedish skier Henrik Harlaut wipes out, pants almost fall down (GIF)

Henrik-Harlaut-pantsSwedish freestyle skier Henrik Harlaut nearly gave us our second wardrobe malfunction of the Winter Olympics on Thursday when his pants almost fell down during the qualifying round of the ski slopestyle competition. Harlaut is known for wearing extremely baggy ski pants. He has suspenders to hold them up, but that didn’t stop viewers from getting a show.

“I’ve got suspenders,” Harlaut said after finishing seventh in the competition, via Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. “So they’re always secure.”

When watching Harlaut wipe out, you have to wonder if the pants hinder his performance. You would think they would limit his mobility if nothing else.

“I don’t find it difficult,” he said. “I’ve skied like that the past 10 years. It is what it is.”

Between Harlaut’s saggy pants and that speedskater who unzipped and almost gave us a show, there have been some hairy moments in Sochi thus far. Eh, that’s probably a poor choice of words.

GIF via BuzzFeed

Kate Hansen blesses teammate Erin Hamlin’s Olympic medal by twerking (Video)

Kate-Hansen-twerkingKate Hansen is officially my favorite US Olympic athlete from the Sochi Games, and I don’t care if it’s by way of a gimmick. Hansen’s pre-race warmup routine that involves dancing to Beyonce like a madwoman captured my heart. On Wednesday, the 21-year-old did some twerking to “bless” one of her teammate’s medals.

Erin Hamlin became the first American to win an individual medal for luge at the Olympics earlier this week when she took home the bronze. After winning, the 27-year-old kindly asked Hansen for a favor.

“Had to get my medal ‘dance-blessed’ by the one and only @k8ertotz #bustaBRONZEmove #Sochi2014,” Hamlin wrote on Instagram.

Lord only knows what would happen is Hansen won a medal herself.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

Phil Kessel pounded Powerade during USA’s win over Slovakia (Video)

Phil-Kessel-PoweradeThose of you who crawled out of bed early on Thursday to watch the US men’s hockey team take on Slovakia in the Winter Olympics were treated to a complete blowout. The Americans dominated play from the opening face-off and won 7-1, scoring six goals in the second period alone. But don’t worry, Slovakia, a bottle of Powerade got dominated as well.

Phil Kessel was apparently incredibly thirsty late in the game. We typically see athletes sip a little bit of water or sports drink and spit most of it out so they don’t cramp up, but Kessel said forget all that. He straight up owned that thing. No wonder these guys looked like they were on their own level — superior hydration.

Video via Barstool Sports

Skier Jackie Chamoun apologizes for topless photoshoot, behind-the-scenes video

Jackie Chamoun

Lebanese skier Jackie Chamoun apologized on her Facebook page Tuesday after photos from an old, racy photoshoot began to circulate on the net in recent days.

Chamoun, 22, skied for Lebanon in the Winter Games in Vancouver and will be participating in the women’s slalom and giant slalom in Sochi next week. A few years ago she participated in a photoshoot conducted by Mexican skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe (the guy who has the custom Mariachi ski outfit), who creates an annual calendar intended to promote the sport. Chamoun says the photoshoot took place three years ago, though the calendar was released last year. The shoot took place at Lebanon’s Faraya ski and featured male and female ski instructors.

It’s not Chamoun’s appearance in the calendar that caused issues, but rather images from a behind-the-scenes video that showed her topless at times that created a stir.

According to Time, the video went viral a few days ago after the local Al-Jadeed television highlighted it. In response, the AP says Lebanon’s Youth and Sport minister called for an investigation into the photos and video. He wanted to ensure the country’s reputation was holding strong as Lebanon is a more conservative country compared to the US and elsewhere.

Chamoun definitely seems bothered by all the attention to the issue. She wrote the following statement on her Facebook page.

[Read more...]

US snowboarder Jamie Anderson: Tinder app is ‘next level’ in Olympic Village

Jamie-AndersonThe Olympic Village in Sochi was stocked with a shipment of 100,000 condoms for a reason. Hooking up at the Olympics is a tradition unlike any other, with many athletes having openly admitted over the years that sex is everywhere. US snowboarder Jamie Anderson says the popular dating app Tinder has taken things to the next level.

When asked how she and her fellow female athletes play match maker during their downtime in the Olympic Village, Anderson referenced the app.

“Tinder!” she proudly told Us Weekly’s Jennifer Peros. “Tinder in the Olympic Village is next level. It’s all athletes! In the mountain village it’s all athletes. It’s hilarious. There are some cuties on there.”

Apparently too many cuties can be a distraction, because Anderson said she had to delete the app to focus on the competition.

“There was a point where I had to be like OK, this is way too distracting,” she said. “I deleted my account to focus on the Olympics.”

Anderson took home the gold medal in the women’s slopestyle event on Sunday.

I wonder how our resident Tinder expert feels about Tinder being “next level” in the Olympic Village. We’ll have to ask the man who published a list of Tinder do’s and don’ts for his opinion later on.

H/T to Del’s lovely wife Jackie for the tip