After missing out on medals in every speedskating event to date at the Sochi Olympics, the U.S. surely had to come up with a response for why athletes such as prolific as Shani Davis and Heather Richardson suddenly forgot how to win. Well, as expected, they have come up with an excuse, and instead of pointing the figure at coaches, trainers or even the athletes themselves, the U.S. has come to the conclusion that new uniforms from Under Armour are the reason a team that won four medals in speedskating at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago hasn’t picked up a single medal to date.
The current excuse being bandied about in relation to these uniforms is that holes in them, that are supposed to make the uniforms more aerodynamic, are uncomfortable. Additionally, the U.S. has come to claim that they dislike the mold portion of the uniform that is supposed to make it easier to turn, and apparently feel that they can’t win any of the four remaining events with the current uniforms.
Skater Glen Hansen has spoke of this general distrust of winning in the uniforms when he said, according to reports, “If the entire U.S. team is underperforming compared to our potential, literally everyone, you can only look at so many factors. Is it the suit? Is it our preparation? The suit’s the easiest thing to fix.”
Of course, it is completely obvious that using the uniform as an excuse is childish to say the least, and even goes against what little children are taught. Anybody who has played any type of little league sport knows that you can’t blame poor performance on your uniform or equipment, and the most talented athletes in the world should not be allowed to do so either. There is no chance that a new uniform cost a world class athlete a second off of their best time, and none will ever be willing to give credit to the uniform if they win one of the four remaining speedskating events in Sochi.
In addition to the uniforms simply being an excuse that isn’t acceptable from a seven year old, it goes against everything that the U.S. is supposed to stand for both on and off athletic fields. Throughout time the nation has prided itself on working harder than the competition, working through tough situations and simply being able tough out gritty circumstances.
Teams such as the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team exemplified this type of attitude, and between that time and present day there have been thousands of other athletes who have held this tradition up.
As a way of life, Americans would rather support a fourth place finisher that works until they can’t walk any longer than a bronze medal winner that should have put in a little extra effort to win gold. To upset this tradition by using the childish excuse of not liking a uniform at the Sochi Olympics is a reprehensible excuse on the part of the U.S. speedskating team, and ultimately should be condemned by the U.S. Speedskating Federation no matter how the final four events finish.