Team USA's Speed Skating Uniforms Cause Internet Frenzy
As far as the Olympics are concerned, most of the news has pertained to the figure skaters' unique song choices, the Nigerian bobsled team's first Olympic appearance, and Shaun White. So when we came across a media mania surrounding Team USA's speed skating uniforms, we were intrigued.
Although it's the uniforms that sparked confusion, it's actually just a small portion of the uniforms that is up for discussion. Team USA's speed skating uniforms feature a patch of gray that covers the crotch region of the uniforms.
The internet lost it, with everyone flocking to Twitter to ask what was up with this daring look:
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 19, 2018
Uniform designer 1: Our new uniforms need to reflect the elegant and strong aesthetic of speed skating.
Uniform designer 2: And highlight the crotch.
Uniform designer 1: duh of course. Gotta pull the eye right there! pic.twitter.com/BEpWBB2xLN
— sarah_haskins (@sarah_haskins) February 8, 2018
But while this design looked bizarre, there was actually a purpose to the crotch patch. According to InStyle, the uniforms, designed by Under Armour, underwent "hundreds of hours of wind-tunnel testing."
“The contrasting material in the inner thigh (friction guards) has been commonplace for speed skate skins for decades, to reduce friction," Under Armour said in a statement to InStyle. "The 2014 UA skin had one panel instead of two, but in testing the new skin, the addition of a second panel reduced friction even more—by 60 percent."
And we guess we can all agree that any uniform design that can reduce friction is a smart play, even if the end result looks completely ridiculous. But why did the patch have to be a different color than the rest of the uniform? Don't worry, there's an answer for that, too.
“We tested a multitude of friction guard materials to find the material that reduces friction the most," Under Armour said. "Altering the color or using a material that comes in a different color would have rendered it considerably less effective. The athletes love the look of the skins and how they perform and are getting compliments from other countries.”
Look, if these uniforms bring back Olympic gold for Team USA, we probably can't complain.