US team to switch speed skating suits due to poor physics

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Shani Davis wearing the Under Armour suit in question, in the race that placed him eighth overall. NBC The Under Armor speed skating suits meant to help US Olympic team members win may have actually been slowing them down, writes the Wall Street Journal in a report . A “design flaw” meant to aid with one element of the skaters’ physics may be hurting them in another way, resulting in no US skaters finishing higher than seventh place despite high rankings going in. The US requested a change on Thursday, and in the early hours of Saturday it was decided that the team could revert to the suits they used in previous World cup events, also made by Under Armour. The suits were designed with a vent on the back that is supposed to allow heat to escape. But the WSJ now suggests that the same vent may be letting air into the suit, creating drag and affecting skaters’ low stance. Kevin Haley, senior vice president of Under Armour, already copped to the problem, telling the WSJ “we’ll move heaven and earth to make them better.” Long-track team coach Ryan Shimabukuro refused to criticize the suits, but skater and 1,000-meter world-record holder Shani Davis claimed to have had his fastest start ever in the 1,000 meter race Wednesday while wearing the suit. An NBC commentator speaking over the event’s delayed broadcast in the US also asserted that the start was “the fastest [he’d] seen [Davis] open up this year.” Still, he finished eighth. Heather Richardson, the top-ranked women’s skater, finished seventh in the 1000m event; Brittany Bowe, the world record-holder for the same event, finished eighth. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments        

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US team to switch speed skating suits due to poor physics

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