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Thursday, May 24, 2018

US Speedskating didn’t test uniforms because they feared opponents would steal secrets?

Shani Davis parachute

When reports first surfaced last week that US Speedskating coaches were attributing the team’s struggles at the Winter Olympics in Sochi to flaws in their new suits, one of the biggest questions to arise was why the suits were never tested in competition prior to the Winter Games. It sounds like there is an answer to explain things, one that sounds incredibly ironic now.

According to The Associated Press, the reason the “Mach 39” suits created by Under Armour — billed as the fastest in the world — were never tested is because there were fears the competition would steal the design secrets.

From the AP article:

Sure, the skaters were involved in the development all through the process: trying on the suit, using it in training, offering suggestions and feedback. But secrecy seemed to be the primary concern, the U.S. fretting that other countries would swipe their technology if the suit came out too soon. The final version was completed about six weeks before the opening ceremony, which meant no one had a chance to compete in it before they arrived in Sochi.

The US has gone back to their old suits, but the results have not been any better so far. If that means the suits aren’t the problem, then what would that say about our skaters? Under Armour would have taken a major reputation hit for what could turn out to be just an athlete problem, though at this point, it sure seems like the suits didn’t help matters.

H/T Fourth-Place Medal
Image via @nick_pants

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