The Strange Gray Oval Is Finally Explained

February 22, 2018

© Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a quick look at Team USA's speed skaters uniforms raises eyebrows and questions as to why the inner thigh and crotch areas are a different color than the rest of it. It turns out, the gray oval wasn't as much an aesthetic choice as a decision aimed at improving athlete performance. Under Armour, the company that designed the suits, outfitted that area with what it calls "ArmourGlide," a slick material that reduces friction. Under Armour says the gray over is a second layer of fabric that reduces friction by 60% and when split seconds mean a lot, speed skaters look for any tactical advantage. The current design is in part a reaction to the 2014 Olympics when the suits were given partial blame for the US not taking home a speed skating medal for the first time in 30 years. But why not change the gray oval to match the color of the suit?  Under Armour says they "tested a multitude of friction guard materials to find the material that reduces friction the most. Altering the color or using a material that comes in a different color would have rendered it considerably less effective." It certainly helped the women’s team to win bronze Thursday (Wednesday for us) as Ocala’s Brittany Bowe and teammates did their part to win the first medal for US women's speed skating since Jennifer Rodriguez won bronze in the 1500m back in 2002.

SOURCE: Thrillist

See and hear more from the 98.5 KTK Morning Show

98.5 KTK Morning Show Podcast