KUSA - Shani Davis is headed to his fourth and likely final Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as the anchor to what is possibly the strongest U.S. long-track speedskating team in more than a decade.
The 2002 men's and women's teams won three golds among its eight total medals in the Salt Lake City Games. The women have been held off the podium since but now have Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe, who are ranked 1-2 in the World.
Joining Davis among the nine on the men's team announced after the U.S. Olympic trials at the Utah Olympic Oval are Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck, who won silver medals in 2010's team pursuit.
Also on the team are Joey Mantia, a 27-year-old inline convert, and two-time Olympian Tucker Fredricks. Both of them are World Cup gold medalists this season. Rounding out the group are Jonathan Garcia, Mitch Whitmore, a U.S. record holder in the 500, Patrick Meek, who likes to focus on the 5,000 meter, 10,000 meter and team pursuit races, and 17-year-old Emery Lehman.
"We have a strong team and I'm sure we're only going to continue to get stronger and improve leading up to Sochi," said four-time Olympic medalist Davis, who also captured the 1,500 at the trials. The Team USA speedskaters will be sporting a new suit when Sochi gets underway.
Two companies - Under Armour and Lockheed Martin have poured millions of dollars into the suit which is more aerodynamic and faster than ever previously seen in the sport.
The suit, named "Mach 39," is the result of more than 100 textiles tested by Under Armour, know for athletic apparel, and Lockheed, the aeronautics and defense giant that typically develops massive objects that reach tremendous speeds, such as fighter jets and missile systems.
In the end, the companies settled on a suit that utilizes five fabrics, with each serving a specific function. For example, the suits feature an special air vent along the spine that will allow the body to release heat during racing or training. Discovering the right combination turned out to be a two-year project.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)