Olympic years offer major opportunities for performance innovations. Athletes and brands alike place a premium on any edge that makes them a split-second faster. Today in Denver, Under Armour founder and CEO unveiled the Baltimore-based brand's Olympic Uniforms—outfitting the United States bobsled, skeleton, speed skating teams and the Canadian snowboard team—describing the event as a "watershed moment for the brand."
While all uniforms showcase important innovations, the technical expertise required to produced the Mach 39, UA's speedskating skin, is most impressive. Tipped as the "most disruptive" design at the Winter Games, the uniform was developed by UA in partnership with Lockheed Martin and capitalizes on comprehensive analysis of Computational Fluid Dynamics. In layman's terms: The Mach 39 is engineered for superior aerodynamics. Kevin Haley, UA's SVP of Innovation, notes, "If you keep an athlete focused on the task at hand, they are going to do better." The Mach 39 incorporates Flow Molding to disrupt air flow around the athletes body, a Soflex Zipper that stretches, Armour Vent for breathability, HeatGear for moisture wicking, and ArmourGlide in the thigh area to reduce coefficient friction. In short, the suit is designed for speed, an idea augmented by graphics created by hotrod pinstriper Steve "The Wizard" Chaszeyka.
Speed is a similar focus for bobsled and skelton. Again, Chaszeyka's famous stripes appear and the uniforms are built from UA's Coldgear compression technology.
For the Canadian Snowboard team, Under Armour draws inspiration from Canada's 1972 national hockey uniform. The exaggerated maple leaf design accents Under Armour Coldgear Infared kit that recycles body heat to keep athlete's warmer without extra bulk.
Nick Schonberger is Deputy Editor at Complex Media and a formerly a mediocre Water Polo player.