U.S. Speedskating extends contract with Under Armour

  @AaronSmithCNN February 21, 2014: 12:10 PM ET
under armour speed skate

Under Armour extended its contract with the U.S. Speedskating Association, even though Heather Richardson and other U.S. speedskaters didn't win medals at Sochi.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Under Armour has extended its exclusive contract with the U.S. Speedskating Association despite some controversy involving the suits worn by athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Under Armour (UA), a provider of sports apparel, and the U.S. Speedskating Association said Friday that they extended their contract by eight years, through the end of 2022.

This means that they'll be providing skin suits for U.S. speedskaters at the next two Winter Olympics: 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and 2022 in a site to be determined.

The renewal comes after U.S. speedskaters failed to capture any medals in Sochi, sparking a debate about whether the suits are somehow to blame.

Under Armour founder and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Plank told CNNMoney that criticisms of the suits were based on "sheer conjecture and speculation. There were no facts to back it up. We mathematically know it's not the suit."

He said that Under Armour partnered with aerospace company Lockheed Martin (LMT, Fortune 500) to design the suits, which were made in San Francisco and provided free to the speedskating team, along with an annual cash contribution. He said the U.S. team trained with the suits, but did not compete with them before the Olympics.

Related: Norwegian curlers kick Olympic butt with crazy pants

Kevin Haley, senior vice president of innovation for Under Armour, told CNN in a Feb. 14 interview that the vents in the back of the suits were removed, at the request of coaches and athletes, and replaced with a "permeous, more rubber-like fabric from the front of the suit."

But he added, "The vent was not an issue. The results were the same without the vent as with the vent."

Going forward, Plank said he will urge "clear transparency" in all dealings with athletes while training with the suits.

"U.S. Speedskating will be in good hands," he said. "It will be in our hands and we're going to give them the best chance to win."

Related: Americans avoid expensive Sochi

The Dutch skeedskating team has dominated the Olympics this year, annihilating the competition by winning 21 medals.

Baltimore-based Under Armour also provides apparel to the U.S. bobsled and skeleton teams, as well as the Canadian snowboarders.

To top of page



Join the Conversation
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.