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Under Armour, US speedskating agree on eight-year deal

Shani Davis (left) of the US, a huge medal favorite entering the Olympics, never hit his stride in Sochi.STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK — Athletic gear maker Under Armour signed an eight-year deal with US Speedskating to provide uniforms despite controversy over the suit it provided the team at the Sochi Olympics.

Under Armour spent years developing a new speedskating suit that debuted during the Olympics but flopped. US speedskaters only had one medal, a silver in the 5,000-meter relay, and some blamed the suit. The team reverted to an older Under Armour suit.

Under Armour Inc. said Friday it is ready to try again. The Baltimore-based company will outfit the US speedskating team for the next two Winter Olympics, beginning with South Korea in 2018.


‘‘It’s good under the circumstances that Under Armour still believes in the US as a team and they’re willing to work with us,’’ said Shani Davis, a heavy Olympic favorite who came up empty in Sochi. ‘‘It’s nice of them to do that.’’

Under Armour shares rose to a new high in morning trading Friday.

Company CEO and founder Kevin Plank said in an interview with CNBC that Under Armour was ‘‘doubling down’’ and hoped to move past the Sochi controversy.

Financial terms were undisclosed. Plank said the current contract expires in a month, so the timing was right for a new deal.

‘‘We get knocked down, we dust ourselves off and we come back bigger, better and stronger than we ever were before,’’ he said. ‘‘We don’t want this story going longer.’’

Plank added that when the US speedskating team performed below expectations, there were only ‘‘so many variables,’’ to explain the disappointment, and the new suit was one possibility. He added that Under Armour athletes have won 10 medals at the Olympics.

In addition to US speedskating, Under Armour has exclusive uniform agreements with the US bobsled and skeleton teams, US gymnastics and the Canadian snowboarding team.


Under Armour shares rose $4.19, or 3.9 percent, to $111.38 in morning trading after hitting an all-time high of $111.97 earlier in the session. The stock is up more than 22 percent so far this year.