'Crotch Patch' Raises Eyebrows on Team USA Speed Skater Uniforms

Speed skating competitions are currently taking place at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but it seems Team USA's athletes are raising eyebrows for more than just their skating.

A question has been weighing on viewers' minds in regards to the team's uniforms, which were designed by Under Armour and consist of navy blue suits accented with a gray area over the athletes' nether regions.

Both the men and women are donning the uniforms, and the Internet has been wondering just what purpose the seemingly highlighted lower area serves, if any.

team usa speed skating
(Photo: Getty / Aris Messinis)

As it turns out, the patches are made of a special fabric called "ArmourGlide," which reportedly reduces friction by up to 65 percent. According to a 2014 Slate article, the material's slick nature allows athletes to skate faster due to the lack of friction, hopefully winning them more medals in the process.

While the reasoning stands up, it seems possible that the patches could have been made in the same color as the rest of the suit, right?

Possibly, but it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon.

“The contrasting material in the inner thigh has been commonplace for all country skins for decades, to reduce friction," Under Armour said in a statement via For The Win. "The 2014 UA skin had one panel instead of two but in testing the new skin, the addition of a second panel reduced friction even more – by 60 percent."

"The athletes love the look of the skins and how they perform and are getting compliments from other countries."

The uniform was designed after the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which saw Under Armour receive criticism for the uniform created for those games, which was ditched halfway through the games and was blamed for Team USA's lackluster performance. In Sochi, Team USA failed to medal in speed skating for the first time in 30 years.


Despite the seemingly scientific reasoning, Twitter still had plenty of opinions on the ensembles.

Photo Credit: Getty / Aris Messinis