After her team failed to win a single individual medal at the 2014 Olympics, U.S. speed skater Maria Lamb unloaded on the organisation’s leadership.
In an interview with Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Lamb said the controversy around the team’s allegedly faulty suits was just “the tip of the iceberg.” She also called out managing director Finn Halvorsen by name, saying he “single-handedly, perhaps, destroyed so many good athletes.”
Overall, she paints a picture of a team in disarray.
Here are her jarring quotes from the Pioneer Press.
On internal strife:
“I think over the last several years most of us have managed to perform incredibly well in spite of a lot of the organisation rather than because of it. That adds up over the years, and, unfortunately, it came to a head that we could no longer perform well over here.
“This is my third Games, and there is so much more nonsense in general going on. You have to try to tune it out. Not having an organisation support you as it should, it becomes a lot worse.
On the suits:
“Honestly, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We came here as a team with incredible results, and I know that we’re all capable of so much more than the Games have shown.”
“(Halvorsen’s) done a lot of damage the way he has single-handedly, perhaps, destroyed so many good athletes, at these performance at the Games, due to his calls and actions. It’s fairly remarkable, actually.”
The team has been criticised for everything from their suits — which were hailed as the “fastest suits ever” but were never tested in competition before Sochi — to their decision to train at high-altitude before the games.
Now, at least according to Lamb, you can add a toxic atmosphere to the list of reasons U.S. speed skating is having its worst Olympics in decades.
The last time U.S. speed skating failed to medal was 1984 in Sarajevo. There are two more events in Sochi, the men’s and women’s team pursuits.
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