Uni Watch: Cool gear for 2014 Games

5. And Speaking of Figure Skating: For decades figure skaters tucked their stockings or tights into their skates. But over the past decade or so, more and more of the skaters have been wearing their tights over their skates, which has created a disconcerting club-foot effect. At this month's U.S. Figure Skating Championships, however, most of the competitors had gone back to the old style. A U.S. Figure Skating spokesperson says the change isn't due to any new regulations -- just shifting fashions. Here's hoping all the skaters at Sochi follow suit.

6. We the People ... Have No Sway with the IOC: U.S. women's hockey goalie Jessie Vetter had planned to wear the famous "We the People" inscription from the U.S. Constitution's preamble on the back plate of her mask. But that ran afoul of the International Olympic Committee's rule banning any display of "political, religious, or racial propaganda," so Vetter had to change the design.

7. Head Games: If you think hockey goalie masks have some far-out paint jobs these days, check out some of the helmet designs for the Canadian skeleton team. Very cool stuff.

8. Built for Speed: Every Olympics, it seems, there's one piece of performance attire that generates a lot of buzz. At the 2000 Sydney Games, it was Cathy Freeman's Swift suit; in 2008 in Beijing, it was Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit. For Sochi, the chatter is centering around Under Armour's new suit for the U.S. speed skating team, which was produced in conjunction with the aerospace company Lockheed Martin. While past speed skating suits have stressed smoothness, this one is studded with little bumps, which supposedly create a more aerodynamic effect, much like a golf ball's dimples. Will this suit rewrite the speed skating record book? We'll all find out soon enough. (For more info on the development of this suit, look here.)

9. And Speaking of Speed Skating: Look closely and you'll see that many of the speed skaters don't wear socks because they prefer to have nothing between their feet and their skates.

10. Winner's Circle: Did you know there's a special outfit that U.S. Olympians will wear when standing on the medal podium? It's true -- and it features a jacket that looks like something an astronaut would wear. Was this surplus gear from the production of "Gravity" or what?

Honorable Mention: The triple-stripe branding of adidas can get tiresome, but you have to admit it looks pretty slick on a pair of luge shoes.

That's enough for now. We'll have additional Uni Watch coverage as the Games unfold.

Paul Lukas encourages all Olympic athletes to eschew gold and go for the silver! If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.

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