U.S. sticks with Under Armour

Updated: February 21, 2014, 4:18 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Shoe and apparel maker Under Armour made a surprising announcement Friday, saying the company's deal to provide U.S. Speedskating with uniforms will be extended through 2022.

[+] EnlargeShani Davis
AP Photo/Matt DunhamThe CEO of Under Armour says U.S. Speedskating is staying the course with his company despite the suit controversy in Sochi. "It's time for everyone to move on, forget about 'Suitgate,'" Kevin Plank said.

"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.

"We're Americans, and although we got knocked down, we're going to write a new storyline in four years. Because who loves a comeback more than our country?"

Financial terms on the deal were not disclosed.

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. However, after the team decided to change back to the Under Armour suits that gave it success at the World Cup a month before and still skated poorly in Sochi, other reasons -- including training strategy and funding woes -- emerged.

Finally, with two more defeats Friday in team pursuit, the U.S. squad sealed its first medal shutout since 1984.

"The organization could have done a lot of things differently," Maria Lamb told reporters after finishing in 16th place in the 5,000 meters Wednesday night. "We have lost a lot of staff and we've had to deal with a huge amount of controversy. That definitely affects you."

No American speedskater finished better than seventh in an individual race.

While much of the blame for the lackluster performance was placed on Under Armour, the company stood by what it made. The Dutch have dominated at these games, winning 21 of the 30 medals awarded.

"I was in Amsterdam last week, where our European headquarters are," Plank said. "They have this big speedskating oval and it's the national pastime there. It's their baseball, football and basketball all wrapped up into one. The Dutch coach is already predicting dominance for the next Games, but we feel like we can play a part in changing that story."

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


ALSO SEE