Dutch speedskating coach: US football 'sucks'
The Netherlands' speedskating coach scoffed at the controversy surrounding the American speedskating team's weak performance and their Under Armour skating suits, telling CNBC that the overall American sports system is to blame for the U.S. skaters' dismal performance.
Jillert Anema coached his team to 21 speedskating medals in Sochi—the most a team has ever won in a single sport at the same Winter Olympics competition.
"We have found something that makes the suit very fast," Anema said. "It's the man in the suit."
(Read more: US struggling at oval, focus on high-tech suits)
The heavily favored American speedskating team was expected to win multiple medals in Sochi but has been blanked by stronger competition—especially the dominant Dutch. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that unnamed athletes on the U.S. team believed its new suit, the Mach 39, created especially for them by Under Armour with the help of defense company Lockheed Martin, was causing too much drag. U.S. speedskating and Under Armour issued a statement saying that the evidence did not suggest a problem with the suits, but the long-track team decided to return to its previous suits anyway.
Anema cited a lack of domestic competition and support for American speedskaters for the team's disastrous showing, and contrasted it with the popularity of speedskating in the Netherlands, which hosts many leagues and lots of competition.
"American speedskating depends on gifted skaters—very few," he said. "They have to work their own way and they have a lack of competition. They have a lack in support. Once in four years America will all go and watch skating and then you need to bring medals home, but in the few years before [that] they are not supported and you need the support, you need the competition, and I think that's what went wrong."
Anema drew a contrast between a lack of American support for speedskating and the huge support shown for sports like basketball.
"You don't ask why a basketball team comes and beats the [expletive] out of us in the summer Olympics," he said. "It's because you have so many teams."
Anema singled out American football for criticism. The sport isn't played anywhere else in the world and is one that he clearly doesn't care for.
"You have a lot of attention on a foolish sport like American football and you waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, on a sport that is meant to kill each other, to injure each other. ... You're so narrow-minded, and then you want to compete against the world [in other sports] when you waste a lot of time, good talent on a sport that sucks," he said.
Anema, who describes himself as "competitive as hell," said "he's been walking on a cloud."
He's convinced that the Americans won't be able to threaten the Dutch in Olympic speedskating anytime soon, no matter how much the U.S. may be favored going into the Winter Games.
"When you come every four years, and you think there's talent and a few lone wolves who are skating and that you can beat the world—there's no way you can do that," Anema said. "And you won't beat us, not in four years, not in eight years."
—By CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. Follow her on Twitter @MCaruso_Cabrera.