Copyright 2014 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Sochi, Russia - When it comes to U.S. Speedskating, Under Armour isn't going anywhere.
On Friday the manufacturer of the controversial Mach 39 skin suit and U.S. Speedskating announced an eight-year extension of their original contract, which had been set to expire this year.
As part of the agreement, Under Armour will remain as the national team's exclusive competition suit provider through Dec. 31, 2022, or two more Olympic quadrennials.
The Mach 39, designed by Lockheed Martin for Under Armour but never tested in competition, came under a cloud of suspicion in Sochi, after long-track speedskaters underperformed in early races at the Adler Arena. U.S. Speedskating decided to dump the suits midway through the Games and the skaters went back to suits they wore during a successful fall World Cup season. Those suits also were made by Under Armour.
But the Americans fared no better in the old suits and failed to medal in any of the12 races after both the men and women were eliminated in the team pursuit on Friday.
In a statement, U.S. Speedskating president Mike Plant said: "U.S. Speedskating remains extremely grateful to have such a supportive partner and to have access to Under Armour's game-changing innovations, which have helped propel countless athletes around the world to championship results. The length and scope of this agreement send a strong signal about Under Armour's commitment to our athletes and will best position them to skate with confidence and a competitive edge well into the future."
In addition to outfitting U.S. Speedskating, Under Armour also has uniform-exclusivity agreements with USA Bobsled and Skeleton, USA Gymnastics and Canada Snowboard.
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