Notes from Sochi: USOC head defends high-tech speedskating suits

  • Updated: February 18, 2014 - 10:40 PM

NOTES

USOC head defends high-tech speedskating suits

The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee defended the speedskating suits that were dumped midway through the Sochi Games.

CEO Scott Blackmun said Tuesday in a statement that “we are disappointed” by the performance of the U.S. team, which has yet to finish higher than seventh at these Olympics.

The Americans came into the games with more speedskating gold medals than any other country, and the most overall medals by any U.S. Winter team. But they have been a major flop in Russia, with much of the blame falling on the high-tech skinsuits developed by Under Armour with help from aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin.

“We do not believe the suits were the problem,” Blackmun said, adding that companies such as Under Armour and Lockheed Martin provide necessary innovation.

Silver medal ice dancers bemoan coach’s unavailability

Canadian ice dance silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir on Tuesday bemoaned the split allegiance of coach Marina Zoueva, who also works with American gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Virtue and Moir have been longtime students of Zoueva’s, as have Davis and White.

“We sometimes felt like [Zoueva] wasn’t in our corner,” Moir said, more in the way of stating a fact as he and Virtue perceived it than as a complaint. “We had some odd things happen this year that hadn’t happened before. For the first time, she wasn’t there.”

He mentioned Zoueva not being at the Canadian championships this year. That event coincided with U.S. nationals, which Zoueva did attend. Each couple won its national title.

The Canadian pair insisted they understood why Zoueva spent so much time with Davis and White, and they praised Zoueva for how she handled the dicey situation.

Etc.

• The IOC said the Italian gay rights activist who was removed from Olympic Park was “escorted from there peacefully” and not detained. Former Italian lawmaker Vladimir Luxuria was taken away by four plainclothes officers Monday as she tried to enter an arena to watch a women’s hockey game. Luxuria later told the Associated Press she was kept in the car for about 10 minutes, then released in the countryside after the men had taken her Olympic spectator pass.

• The Russian freestyle ski federation said Maria Komissarova had another surgery in Germany on her fractured spine. Komissarova had immediate surgery at a hospital in Krasnaya Polyana following Saturday’s skicross accident and was airlifted to Germany the next day. Doctors said her condition is grave but stable.

• Italian snowboardcross rider Omar Visintin was taken off the Olympic course on a stretcher following a crash during the semifinals.

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