Maria Lamb blasts U.S. Speedskating after poor Olympic showing

Maria LambMaria Lamb didn’t perform how she wanted to at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and afterwards she unleashed a tirade against U.S. Speedskating as an organization.

Lamb finished in last place (16th) in the 5,000 meters and did not hold back on the U.S. team’s leadership after the American skaters have failed to medal in Sochi. Most of the focus has been on the failure of the high-tech Under Armour skinsuits that were trashed midway through the games, but Lamb said there was more to it.

She was clearly frustrated as she aired her grievances:

The skinsuit issue is honestly the tip of the iceberg. Over the last few years, a few of us have raced better in spite of the organization rather than because of it.

The organization could have done a lot of things differently. We have lost a lot of staff and we’ve had to deal with a huge amount of controversy. That definitely affects you.

That sh*t adds up over the years, and unfortunately it came to a head that we could no longer perform well.

Yikes, that’s certainly a lot to process.

The U.S. arrived at the Olympics expecting to bring home a solid medal haul in speedskating after an excellent season on the World Cup circuit. The new Under Armour uniforms were supposed to only help those efforts. With a roster that included Shani Davis, Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe, big things were expected. Instead, the Americans have been left empty-handed.

U.S. Speedskating executive director Tom Morris has only been in his position since September, and he came to the defense of Lamb, claiming she was put on the spot after a tough race and a disappointing finish. Still, there is almost no doubt that Lamb truly feels that way and had been waiting for the chance to unload it.

On Thursday Lamb did express regret about the tone of her comments, but that doesn’t change the fact that she said them and they’re now out there.

Clearly something has to change for U.S. Speedskating. The awful showing at the Olympics needs to spur some kind of reexamination of the way the team is structured and how it trains, supports and outfits its athletes.

About Ryan Phillips


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