Women's World Cup final:

Reaction to U.S. suit switch

Reuters

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee allowed the United States speed skating team to switch uniforms for the remaining six races of the Sochi Games earlier on Saturday.

The United States had failed to win a medal in the first six events at the Adler Arena despite wearing a much lauded Under Armour suit which had been billed as the "fastest ever".

Four U.S. skaters wore a skinsuit outfit they had previously used in World Cup races during the men's 1,500 meters on Saturday but could only manage a best placed finish of seventh as the wait for a medal goes on.

Following is reaction from skaters and coaches on the switch.

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Brian Hansen (U.S.) after racing in the 1,500m on Saturday with his old World Cup suit.

"I wanted to switch more because I felt like this was a safer bet for me confidence-wise.

"It was partly psychological and knowing that this skinsuit is comfortable with me and it is possible for me to finish in the top three.

"The other suit may be faster but part of the problem is that we have not had the chance to race In it and we haven't had the results to know that it is the fastest suit in the world."

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Shani Davis (U.S.) after racing in the 1,500m on Saturday with his old World Cup suit.

"We will have to test the suit against all the other suits to see if it really made that big of a difference.

"There were too many factors going on. The energy was really bad. I try not to make excuses for my performance, but if we could eliminate all those distractions and I could have put that energy into performing and skating, it would have been a totally different outcome."

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Jonathan Kuck (U.S.) after racing in the 1,500m on Saturday with his old World Cup suit.

"I've been skating in this suit all season and I feel more comfortable in it. Whether it is faster or slower is impossible to say after one race."

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Taro Kondo (Japan) on the 'Mach 39' U.S. suits.

"The age of when uniforms had an influence on the athlete's racing has ended."

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Haralds Silovs (Latvia) on the U.S. wearing the 'Mach 39' despite limited testing.

"It's risky to change before the Olympics. They wore these suits without any practice. I thought Shani or Brian would have gotten a medal by now, but what can I say, I come from a small country."

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Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands) on the U.S. performance so far in Sochi.

"We thought it was striking how they skated, especially Shani, but I don't think the suit would make a difference of seconds.

"The most astonishing thing for me was that they were skating at the Olympics with the new suit. Normally, you would test them for two months."

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Tian Guojun (China) on the U.S. switch.

"I felt very curious about the change. Because of my limited English, I could not ask them about it. So I'm still wondering why they made the change."

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Gabriele Hirschbichler (Germany) on the 'Mach 39' suit.

"They kept saying it's the fastest suit ever. I was a bit disappointed when I first saw the suit. I think it looks weird with the zip and netting on the back.

"I think it's a mixture of the athletes being not in shape and the suit that is not as good. Not being able to test the suits before makes a difference. It is important - it's like trying out a pair of new jeans."

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Artur Was (Poland) on the U.S. complaints.

"I have been in many competitions and worn many suits and I've never complained about it.

"It's strange that USA is not doing as well as expected, maybe that's why. I wouldn't want all this commotion ahead of a race, it can make the situation worse. They need to keep it out of their heads now."

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Jillert Anema (Dutch coach) on the U.S. switch.

"We had a problem with our suits (during 2006 European all-round championships), which was not important. What was important was that the skaters lost confidence in the suit.

"If you don't have a good suit and skaters complain about the suits then you will not win medals.

"If they have confidence, they will be dangerous again because they are good skaters.

"I think they should have done it right away. Skaters are not allowed to have doubts. If they have doubts about the material, then change it. If three skaters say they do not like the suits, then gather everyone together and change it."

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Monique Angermueller (Germany) on the U.S. switch.

"I think they have put more pressure on themselves."

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Carien Kleibeuker (Netherlands) on the U.S. switch.

"It doesn't matter to me, I have a suit that is perfect for me. I hope it helps them by changing their suits."

(Compiled by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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