SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Changes to the U.S. speed skating set-up are likely after a disastrous fortnight of many grumbles and no medals, double Olympic champion Shani Davis said on Thursday.
At the center of the Americans’ complaints have been their Mach 39 outfits for Sochi that were spectacularly dumped halfway through competition after sub-par displays by a number of multiple World Cup winners, headed by Davis.
The lauded suits were not tested in competition or on low altitude ice and Maria Lamb laid the blame at the door of U.S. Speed Skating after she finished last in the 10,000 meters on Wednesday wearing the old World Cup outfit.
Davis, 31, who finished 11th in the 1,500m, is expected to make a rare appearance in the team pursuit in a bid to get the U.S. on a first podium before the team go home to dissect what went wrong.
“I don’t think there’s any ‘Da Vinci code’ in it,” the Chicago-born skater told reporters after training at the Adler Arena.
”The results speak for themselves and something most likely will happen after the Olympics with whatever, but we’ll have to wait to see what happens.
”It’s a wake-up call. You can’t continue to squeak by getting the results we were getting, then have something like this happen.
“It’s been in the works for a long time... and now it’s up to us to try and fix it.”
The U.S. skaters had been cautious in their comments about the problems before Lamb broke rank to speak out against the U.S. body and said the “skinsuit issue is honestly just the tip of the iceberg”.
Davis said Lamb had been frustrated at her last place showing, 11 seconds slower than she managed on the same ice last year, but understood her issue.
“That’s tough, I think she was emotional and everyone wants to skate better,” Davis said.
”I think when you finish last but have potential to do better, you’re kind of angry. I can understand where she’s coming from, it’s rough to deal with.
“Maybe if you gave her five minutes to cool down and have some power bars and water, then maybe she wouldn’t have said what she said, sometimes it just needs to come out.”
Editing by Ed Osmond