Two-time Olympic gold medalist speed skater Shani Davis claimed in a Q&A on his website that the Under Armour competition suit he used during a disappointing 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi was “defective.”
Davis’ mother, Cherie, also filed an ethics complaint last month against U.S. Speedskating and the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding Under Armour’s controversial Mach 39 suit, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Davis at one time was the big name wearing the high-tech suit that was supposed to make speed skaters more aerodynamic, but more than two years later, he is tweeting about his grievances.
“Thanks, Mike,” Davis wrote while referencing a SportsBusiness Journal story from 2014 quoting U.S. Speedskating president Mike Plant as saying, “Deep down we know it wasn’t the suits. Under Armour is an American company supporting an American team.”
On Davis’ website is a link to Plant’s response to his mother’s complaints about the suits being “defective,” that U.S. Speedskating leadership was at least aware of the potential that they were, that no investigation was launched, and that it was not doing so constituted “a quid pro quo for the financial benefit of USS.”
Plant and U.S. Speedskating executive director Ted Morris responded to the complaints in a letter to the chair of the USS Ethics Committee, calling the some of them “egregious.”
Morris and Plant note that the Mach 39 was tested by Lockheed Martin engineers and constructed with the same material — nylon, spandex and polyester — used for the Under Armour suit that Americans wore in a successful World Cup performance. They emphasized that there is no evidence that suits were “defective” and pointed to finishing times that indicated that in fact the suits likely made American speed skaters including Davis faster.
Morris and Plant note that in their review of an Olympic performance that left the American speed skaters without a single medal in Sochi, it was determined that Mach 39 suits should have been introduced to athletes earlier that season so they could feel more comfortable with them.
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank was open in defending the company at the time. The USS agreement with Under Armour was ultimately renewed despite the complaints and the organization allowing athletes to switch out the suits if they wanted to do so in the middle of the Olympics.
But Davis still has an issue with Plant, who was quoted about righting the ship when he was first elevated to president.
“Now I know how the passengers on the Titanic must have felt,” Davis tweeted.