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.”