Scandal is brewing in Olympic circles regarding the cause of the United States speedskating team's fall from grace at this years winter games. The US speedskaters have won almost 20 medals during the three previous Olympics. However, so far at the games in Sochi, the team has yet to win any. There has been some speculation that this could have been caused by a performance based wardrobe malfunction of the Under Armour suits that were worn by the team.
The new Under Armour Mach 39 suit is supposedly the best design ever made and should result in the fastest performance for the sport. Unfortunately it has not helped the team reach the podium so far.
There has been a back and forth over the last few days as to where the fault lies. The speedskating team has since reverted back to an older uniform, but have yet to win gold. Under Armour is not taking the blame for the losses either.
This example just shows how endorsements for performance based events can cause both the teams and the equipment provider to take a beating in terms of marketing. Under Armour may now be seen as a lesser performing brand on one of the biggest stages in all of athletics. The United States speedskating team could now become a laughingstock if they could not continue a tradition of winning with state of the art equipment.
Social media activity, especially on Twitter, shows that users see this as both misplaced blame by the speedskating team, but also potentially poor brand management for Under Armour. A few gold medals could make this problem go away, it remains to be seen if the team or the equipment can pull it together for the rest of the games in Sochi.
UPDATE: Apparently Under Armour is standing behind their suit and the Olympic speedskating team for the foreseeable future. They have extended their sponsorship of the team up until 2022, which is double the length that it was at previously. Full story can be seen here