A new deal between Under Armour and the American speedskating community may silence the buzz from the 2014 Winter Olympics that questioned whether American athletes had a poor showing because of the company’s suits.
"It's time for everyone to move on," Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told ESPN.com. "Forget about 'Suitgate,' all the conjecture, the thoughts and the theories, and let's get back to reality.
News of the agreement comes as the Baltimore-based athletic apparel company battles the public relations fallout over the performance of its uniforms at the Sochi Olympics, the Business Journal says. Some U.S. speedskaters have complained that the much-hyped uniforms are to blame for the team not winning any medals.
After U.S. speedskaters didn't win a medal in the first half of Olympic competition, the focus shifted to the suits made by Under Armour in partnership with Lockheed Martin to explain how favorites like Shani Davis, Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe finished so far out of contention, the network says.
The team changed back to the Under Armour suits that gave it success at the World Cup a month before, yet the members still skated poorly in Sochi, going without any medals for the first time since 1984.
A Fox Sports analyst noted Friday that the number of speedskating medals won by Americans has dropped in each of the previous three Winter Olympics, so the sport's organization will be scrutinized.
ESPN says other reasons -- including training strategy, a smaller coaching staff and funding woes – have now emerged as possible explanations for the poor showing.
Armour executive Matt Mirchin told The
Baltimore Sun the company finalized the deal with US Speedskating quickly
to drive home that the partnership remains strong and Under Armour still
believes in both the athletes and the Mach 39 suit design.
wanted to send a message to the world that Under Armour and US Speedskating,
when we get knocked down, we get back up and want to come back and be bigger,
stronger, faster and better in 2018,” Mirching told the newspaper. “When
athletes are awarded medals, it will be Americans receiving them."