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U.S. Speed Skating Team Abandons New High-Tech Skin Suits

Speed Skating - Winter Olympics Day 8
(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

If you listen to U.S. speed skaters, you would believe the new skin suits are the reason they are not winning races.

The Mach 39 speed skating skin suit has been ditched in favor of the old suits the team had been wearing.  The new high-tech skin suit was designed by Lockheed Martin and Under Armour. The goal was to make U.S. speed skaters even faster.

“For the remainder of the Winter Olympic Games, Team USA speedskaters will be wearing the previously approved Under Armour skin suits used during recent World Cup competition,” said Mike Plant, U.S. Speedskating president in a written statement. “Under Armour provided U.S. Speedskating with three different suit configurations in advance of Sochi, and we have full confidence in the performance benefits of each of them.”

Team members have been having trouble on the ice, performing worse than they did in Vancouver 4 years ago. The furor over the suits started when two-time gold medalist Shani Davis failed to podium in the 1000 meters — a race in which he holds the world record and numerous World Cup victories and podiums. The top two ranked female skaters, Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe, finished seventh and eighth in the 1000.

The suits were tested in a wind tunnel, but never tested in competition. One of the biggest changes is that the suits zip up diagonally rather than up the center of the body.

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