French West Vaughan has been helping US Speedskating cope with the racing uniform disaster, which has been blamed for the poor results of the American team at the Sochi Olympics.
In fielding one of its best squads ever Team USA was projected to win ten medals through the first eight events, according to the Feb. 17 New York Times. No medals were one during those races, which included an eighth place finish by two-time 1,000 meter gold medal winner Shani Davis.
The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 18) ran a piece called “Sochi Olympics: How a Big Bet on Racing Suits Left US Speedskaters in the Cold.”
Under Armour manufactured the suspected high-tech suits with input from aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
Rick French told O’Dwyer’s while his firm does not represent UA, his staff has worked with its “marketing and PR team on the roll-out of the new suit and the joint response with USS and UA’s management on the performance of the suit last week prior to the switch to an older UA speedskating suit.”
He noted the FWV handled the rollout of Speedo’s and Arena’s revolutionary swimsuits before the Beijing and London Games, respectively.
In both instances, competitors asked their national governing bodies to switch to the high-tech suits “which was good for Speedo and Arena, but somewhat neutralized the technology advantage its sponsored athletes hoped to gain.”
Vaughan also noted that the Americans haven’t improved their performances very much with the old suits.
During the past year, FWV has helped USS deal with organizational governance issues, transition to new leadership, allegations of tampering and a suspended coach’s training methods.
French speculated that those distractions might have hurt the speedskating team’s preparation for the Sochi Games.