UPDATE 3-US Speedskating, Under Armour OK deal through 2022 Olympics

Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:05pm EST
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By Patrick Johnston and Susan Heavey

SOCHI, Russia/WASHINGTON Feb 21 (Reuters) - US Speedskating is renewing its partnership with Under Armour Inc through the 2022 Olympics despite recent criticism of the team's suits at the Sochi Games, the company's chief executive said on Friday.

"We doubled down with a new eight-year partnership," Kevin Plank told the CBS "This Morning" show.

The U.S. speed skating team ditched the maligned Mach 39 Under Armour suits after failing to win any medals in the first six skating events at the Winter Games. But the athletes' switch to an older model suit by the Baltimore-based sports apparel company also failed to reverse their fortunes.

A representative for US Speedskating confirmed the agreement with the company in a statement, calling it "the brand's largest and most comprehensive commitment to the sport."

The deal was announced as the U.S. speed skating team's hopes for a medal died after both the men's and women's teams failed to advance. The team will leave the Winter Olympics without a medal for the first time since 1984.

Still, the announcement was good news for Under Armour and its founder Plank, who is fighting to maintain his brand's reputation.

Shares of Under Armour rose nearly 5.7 percent to $112.85 on Friday, surpassing its year high of $110 at the start of the Sochi Games on Feb. 7.   Continued...