American speedskaters at the Olympics will continue to look sharp in Under Armour gear until at least the 2022 Winter Games (host city to be announced next year), thanks to a new deal announced on Friday. The sports shoe and clothing company signed an eight-year extension with U.S. Speedskating to keep providing uniforms for that period.
The deal comes amid what some are calling 'Suitgate,' which arose as American speedskaters experienced a medal drought in Sochi through 19 events. Some athletes felt that Under Armour's suits designed especially for the Games along with Lockheed Martin were actually slowing them down and eventually went back to their previous suits worn during for World Cup events, though the drought continued after the change.
For Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, the deal signals a time to forget about the kerfuffle and look ahead to Pyongchang in 2018.
"Forget about 'Suitgate,' all the conjecture, the thoughts and the theories, and let's get back to reality," Plank told ESPN. "We're Americans, and although we got knocked down, we're going to write a new storyline in four years. Because who loves a comeback more than our country?"
Despite any real or perceived problems with the suits, both Under Armour and U.S. Speedskating had good Fridays. After news of the contract, Under Armour's stock rose 5.12% to $112.68.
Meanwhile (spoiler alert!), U.S. speedskaters finally ended their Sochi medal drought by winning a silver medal in men's short track. The four-man team of J.R. Celski, Eduardo Alvarez, Chris Creveling, and Jordan Malone finished second behind Russia in the 5000-meter relay with a time of 6:42.37. That race will be shown tonight during NBC's primetime Olympic coverage.