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|Polo Ralph Lauren for Team USA (Photo: Getty)|
"Despite the mixed reviews, the $595 sweaters and matching $195 pants have already sold out on Ralph Lauren’s website. For those yearning to wrap their bodies in the chunky knit, however, a select few are selling on Ebay for prices as steep as $3,000."Still, the USOC didn't learn from past mistakes. Its fundraising mittens are still made in China.
|Dream Teamer Charles Barkley|
The sports apparel companies are eager to prove their medal. This year, Under Armour apeared to have the gold all sewn up through some of the best PR money could buy. It was outfitting the men and women speedskaters in specially-designed suits that had dimples for better aerodynamics. On Christmas eve, the Washington Post quoted one athlete:
"'This is the fastest speedskating suit ever made, and it will be the fastest speedskating suit, period,'” said U.S. Olympic hopeful Patrick Meek of a suit being designed by Baltimore company Under Armour and Lockheed Martin."
|U.S. Olympic Speedskater Shani Davis In Under Armour Suit (Photo: Reuters)|
"According to three people familiar with the U.S. team, these suits—which were designed by apparel sponsor Under Armour and billed before the Games as a major advantage—have a design flaw that may be slowing the skaters down. These people said that vents on back of the suit, designed to allow heat to escape, are allowing air to enter the suit and create drag that keeps the skaters from staying in the "low" position they need to achieve maximum speed. One skater said team members felt they were fighting the suit to maintain correct form."Yikes. To its credit, Under Armour quickly made a fix to the alleged flaw, but the damage may already have been done. Frankly, I'm not sure this will have a lasting negative affect on Under Armour's excellent reputation. Like "Dan n Dave" for which Reebok invested heavily in a marketing campaign to trumpet the pair of Olympic decathletes -- until Dan didn't make the team -- this may just end up being one big (and very costly) missed PR opportunity.