U.S. Speedskating Executive Director Ted Morris told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that the organization has asked Olympic and international skating officials for the option to wear different body suits in competition at the Sochi Games.
There is no guarantee that the International Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union will approve the request, or that skaters will wear different suits for the rest of the Olympics if the request is granted, according to the newspaper. A ruling was expected with hours, Morris told the newspaper.
The report comes a day after the Journal cited three people familiar with the team who said vents on the back of the suits allowed air to enter and create drag, slowing the skaters.
Earlier Friday, Kevin Plank, the founder and chief executive of Under Armour, was conciliatory in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “There’s a bit of a head scratcher where the team isn’t performing as well as any of us hoped to,” said Plank, who added that the questions are “all very fair.”
Plank’s comments came after Kevin Haley, senior vice president for innovation for the Maryland-based company, told Bloomberg News, “The organization is reaching the conclusion it’s not the suits” and that Under Armour removed the vents for the four American women competing in the 1000-meter race and saw no difference in their times.
The United States has won 29 gold medals and 67 overall in Olympic speedskating, but did not have a finish of better than seventh place through six of 12 events in Sochi.