Under Armour CEO: Olympic Gear Questions Fair

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Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) –- Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank discusses whether his company’s gear has slowed down speed skaters at the Sochi Olympics. He speaks with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)

In speed skating?

Two u.s. athletes were favorites to win, but neither came close to getting a medal.

A story in "the wall star journal" says a design flaw in their under armour racing suits may be to blame.

I am not sure that is the case, but i wanted to bring in founder kevin plank.

Take you for joining me this morning.

A few weeks ago, we were very excited about the mock 39. what is your reaction to all of this?

Our initiative is to make athletes better and give them an edge wherever they are competing.

In this case, speed skating athletes on the ice.

A bit of a head scratcher.

The team is not performing as well as any of us hoped.

We are sort of at halftime through the race.

More adjustments can be made.

You look at everything.

From the training to the gear to the states to the pillows you slept on the night before.

This is our business.

We believe we have an incredible product that can help our athletes to succeed and win.

Even though this is the first time you made this product -- you designed it with lockheed martin.

And you walk me through how it has been beta tested?

I did not put these suits on a few days ago, did they?

We have had the relationship since 2011, or closely with the athletes.

The director of u.s. speed skating.

He have a great relationship.

I do not want this to be perceived as anything except, we want to do what we can to help our athletes win.

On this project in particular, we worked directly with lockheed martin, fluid dynamic modeling and wind tunnel testing.

We build not just one suit, but multiple suits.

This is not just a question of -- it is trying to find the right mix.

He have a team on the ground in sochi, making adjustments.

That is typical for what you do at this level of high-speed performance athletics.

It is just part of the game.

We are making changes right now, with our team on the ground.

I would like you to explain that a little bit more.

It is not abnormal for teams to adjust how the uniform is put together?

When i read it, adding a flap, taking off a flap -- i think that is late to the party.

Am i mistaken?

Similar to the things coming out about the venting -- we made modifications to some of the original suits which had a bent in the back.

Some question was, is that creating a parachute effect?

None of our previous testing, when we gave the suits in january to the teams and coaches -- none of that showed up.

We tried to close the venting.

We did that for the women's 2000. you have two of the top rank people in the world, and they finished seventh and eighth.

You are scratching your head, saying, what can we do to take advantage?

We are still making adjustments and putting our team in the best position to win.

If they do decide there is some sort of problem, they are not comfortable with the suit, and the players want to change what they are wearing, and maybe what they are wearing is not an under armour product, would you be ok with that?

We made three different suits for them.

The first suit, with all the computational fluid dynamic testing -- we made the same suit with no flow molding.

We had the suit the teams used in the olympic trials.

All of these are at their disposal.

We are not going to stand in the way of our athletes impeding and winning.

We remain patriots first.

We want to give the athletes their best advantage.

It starts with the belief -- that they believe this can help them win.

Let us make a change.

There are two types of coaching you can do.

You stick with it.

You find consistency.

The other side is, you shuffle the deck.

We stand behind u.s. speed skating.

The dutch coach overheard a couple of speed skaters say they thought the suits were slowing them down.

Do you think they could be psyching themselves out?

Do you think they have not trained at the right altitude?

These are world-class athletes.

They do this all the time.

When you start getting into hearsay and subjectivity, and none of that has come back to us.

We have a great partnership with u.s. speed skating.

Our job is making these athletes believe they are at the best advantage to compete, and more importantly win.

We are seeing them do that through the last five or six events.

Nike did that with the suit they produced in 2010. they went back to an older model.

There is a lot of tweaking as relates to speedskating suits.

We are focused on 2014, on sochi and making sure they have got every advantage.

We have a team that has been on the ground in sochi since before the games.

It is completely set up.

Modifications, adjustments, fit tweaks.

Three suits they can wear, ones that have everything we came up with with lockheed and are designed team -- and our design team, and things that are more basic with what they have worn in the past.

The team and u.s. speed skating is going to have to make some decisions.

We stand behind whatever they choose to do.

Your plan was never to sell a ton of speedskating suits.

You are under a lot of pressure to grow internationally, even though your footprint in the u.s. is exciting.

What do you think would be the results of your international sales pressure, if things are not working out here?

This is one that we look at as a great marketing platform, for us to tell our story about our own competency and expertise, taking the world's fastest product.

This race is far from over.

I think everyone should take a deep rift and see how everything turns out.

We have got a huge push in global.

We are going to grow.

I do not see a parallel between what is happening now and what is happening on the global stage.

There is a lot more to talk about them a lot more to come.

Like some people are saying this could be your lulu lemon moment.

Come on.

You will have days that you face adversity.

We are talking about the u.s. speed skating team.

We are talking about them having to go to win.

Let us let the athletes get out there and see what happens.

Is there any gear being worn by olympic athletes who are getting medals, maybe not in speedskating?

We have the skeleton and the bobsled team still out there.

We have outfitted bobsled the last several olympics.

There are a lot more athletes competing, and we are really excited.

You are a man, good or bad,

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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