U.S. Speedskating will only take home one medal from the Sochi Olympics, but the group did receive some good news before J.R. Celski, Chris Creveling, Jordan Malone and Eddy Alvarez broke through for silver in the men’s 5000m short track relay.
Despite enduring criticism of the team’s “Mach 39” suits – suits that were eventually replaced with older models – Under Armour has confirmed a new eight-year partnership with U.S. Speedskating that will run through 2022.
In television comments, Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank vowed that both his company and the team will move forward from their problems in Sochi.
“Look, we got beat up a little bit last week and speed skating is obviously getting beaten up,” he said on TV according to Reuters. “So what we don’t do is we don’t retreat. We dust ourselves up and we come back bigger, better and stronger than we ever were before.
“America will be OK, speed skating will be OK. And Under Armour will be OK also.”
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Going into Sochi, the “Mach 39” suits were billed as the world’s fastest. But the Americans never competed with the new suits before the Olympics.
When the speedskating competition began, Team USA faltered while their rivals from the Netherlands proceeded to begin a dominating run that has seen them earn 21 long-track medals in these Games.
Eventually, U.S. Speedskating received permission to drop the “Mach 39” suits in favor of an alternate suit that was also produced by Under Armour. But the switch didn’t help either, and the U.S. skaters were unable to secure an individual medal.
The shocking performance caused one of those skaters, Maria Lamb, to directly criticize U.S. Speedskating; she called the suit problem the “tip of the iceberg.”
Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.
Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.
Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.
Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.
He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.
“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.
Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.
Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.
Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.
“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”
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