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"Fastest Suits In The World" Slowing U.S. Down?; Algorithm Of Love: Dating Profile Tips; Obama Talks Strategy With Dems; GM Issues Recall For Deadly Ignition Problem

Aired February 14, 2014 - 14:30   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: So a streamlined uniform pegged as the future of speed skating is now causing some controversy in Sochi. Have you seen this commercial? Take a look.


ANNOUNCER: This is the Under Armour 39, the fastest speed skating suit ever built.


PHILLIPS: The fastest speed skating suit or maybe not. It turns out the U.S. speed skating team not doing so well in Sochi. In fact no American speed skater has finished better than seventh place. The reason? It could be a design flaw in the Under Armour uniforms.

The "Wall Street Journal" is actually reporting that three people familiar with the U.S. team say, quote, "The vents on the back of the suit are creating drag and slowing the athletes down."

Joining me now, Kevin Haley, the senior vice president of Innovation for Under Armour. So Kevin, first of all, I want to get your reaction to these accusations. In particular, the vents on the back of these suits creating drag, is slowing the athletes down. What do you say to that?

KEVIN HALEY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF INNOVATION, UNDER ARMOUR (via telephone): Well, Kyra, first of all, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. It's great to be able to with you today. The bottom line here is that Under Armour is all about trying to make athletes better and we put in an enormous amount of time and research and effort and they create the fastest suits that the world has ever seen.

We are confident in those suits as confident today as we have been. The notion that the vents in the back of the suit were a problem has been put to rest ever since the women's 1,000. Our goal is to give the athletes and the coaches what they want. They asked us to make adjustments to the suit and the one performance-related adjustment is can we get rid of that vent.

Prior to the women's 1,000, all four of the suits in that race were modified and they took out that vent panel and replaced it with the more rubber-like fabric from the front of the suit.

PHILLIPS: Was the vent an issue? Are you saying the vent was an issue then?

HALEY: The vent was not an issue. The results are the same without the vent as they were with the vent.

PHILLIPS: Hold on. You mentioned the 1,000 meters. Heather Richardson, Team U.S., is not blaming the suit, but she does rank number in the 1,000 meters and she finished more than a second slower than the winner. I am seeing her quote. She said I would like to think it's not the suit. That's interesting that she didn't win. She is concerned about the suit.

HALEY: Well, I think our job is to make the athletes as comfortable and confident as they can be. That's why we made three different suits for the athletes. They used different suits at different times during the training and they have been using the suit that we called the Mach 39. On January 31st, we have been making tweaks to those.

When athletes were as talented as we have, world class elite athletes like the U.S. Team, are not stepping up on the podium. The question is why not? Everybody is left scratching their heads and very professionally looking at every possible variable that can go into answering that question to the pillow they slept on the night before to the rest and the blades and the diet and the training and the suits.

PHILLIPS: Let me ask you.

HALEY: We will find a way to make them as comfortable in whatever suit they choose to wear.

PHILLIPS: Did the athletes test the suits? Did they skate in those suits before they competed in the Olympics?

HALEY: Of course, of course.

PHILLIPS: They did.

HALEY: This started in 2011. We agreed to a schedule in collaboration with U.S. speed skating that said the suits would be delivered on January 1. We actually had the first athlete skating in the suit in November and every step along the way it seems like it has been overwhelmingly positive. This is so fast. Get it off of me before our competition see these special features.

They all got the suits on January 1st. The team used them at various points along the way, not in competition, but in Salt Lake City and again in Italy during training in January and obviously again in Sochi while training prior to the Olympics and all throughout the feedback has been positive and we pushed and pushed hard.

PHILLIPS: Let me add to that. You just said without a doubt, they tested the suits. We reached out and asked this question directly. Did you test these suits prior to the Olympics? You are telling me yes. Here's what's interesting. They did not answer the question directly for me. What they did was released this statement.

It said, quote, "We are working with our athletes, coaches, trainers and equipment partners to figure out what we can do to produce better results for Team USA." So bottom line, Kevin, do you think it's the athlete and not the suit here?

HALEY: You know, I don't think it's the athlete or the suit. They will come right out and tell you it's not the suit. The executive director as well Jeff Carpenter is on the record saying if you think a skater loses because of a suit, you don't know about speed skating. Bottom line here is that it doesn't matter. We all want the athletes to win. They invested four years of their life and given up everything to get on the podium in Sochi and sacrifice in a way that most people cannot comprehend.

So we want to get them on the podium. Whether it's the suits and the skates and the blades and what they slept on the night before, we don't care. We will get them comfortable with whatever suit they put on. If that means powering up the ventilated panel or putting them in a different suit than the one they skated in their last race, that's what we are going to do. We have confidence in all three of the suits that we delivered. Absolutely astonishing in how expensive it was.

PHILLIPS: Well, I think there is no debate that we all want Team USA in every event to bring home the gold. Kevin Haley, sure appreciate you calling in. Thanks so much.

HALEY: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: You bet. Well, happy Valentine's Day. Speaking of love, it's all about the heart, but the techies that online dating sites and OKCupid did some data crunching and it turns out there is a science of sorts to finding love online. For example, if a man said his arms and chest are his best features, said he is 10 percent more likely to meet someone on the site.

CNN Money Tech correspondent, Laurie Segall, joining us to explain this algorithm of love, but first, Laurie, you are actually at a Manhattan flower shop. The pressure is on, all those deliveries, to make it through all that snow.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: I will get to that, I promise. You are right. I'm here at JJ's Flower Shop in mid-town, a beautiful shop. It's all hands on deck. The owner himself and his wife, Peggy, they are behind me. They are actually doing these flowers arrangements now.

You know, everybody wants to get them out and because of the weather it has been difficult. They are in pretty good shape. They have been around for 38 years. We actually drove with the delivery guy earlier who was delivering these flowers. They've got tables and tables of full of flowers.

They call this essentially the Valentine's Day for Super Bowl for florists. You know, essentially, Kyra, what is happening here and what happened so far is pretty much just a rush. It's a rush ask a rush. If you look at 1-800-flowers, these guys might have been able to get this out. They might have done a decent job with it.

They called this operation love storm because it's so difficult to get some of these deliveries. You know, Pro-Flowers actually stopped taking orders in the northeast. Listen, let me tell you when we talked about the algorithm of love. This is offline, right?

But when we go online and we talk about the algorithm of love, I spoke to a analyst earlier and he was telling me that a lot does go into it. You know, when people create their profiles, Kyra, they essentially -- what he said is we don't say what they are interested in.

Maybe they don't mind what race you are or income you are, but what you actually end up clicking on is what they really actually begin to understand and they deliver results on this kind of thing. As you said earlier, the fun facts of, men who say their arms and chest are their best features are 10 percent more likely to find love.

Also women, this is a very weird one, Kyra, who say their belly button is their best feature. They end up finding love they say 16 percent more of the time. So you know, at the end of the day, that's how it goes. We are going to stay here and we'll have you updated -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: More on the belly button feature with Laurie Segall. Laurie, thank you so much. President Obama is trying to rev up his base with his new message of opportunity for all. Is this the big theme that we are going to see in the November elections? We are talking about that straight ahead.


PHILLIPS: President Obama rammed home his message of opportunity for all during a pep talk today to House Democrats. Here he is addressing the Dems' yearly retreat.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The single most important thing we have to do not just as a party, but as a country, is make sure that there is opportunity for every single person that we are focused every day in this town or in Washington on making sure if you are willing to work hard, if you are willing to take responsibility, you can get ahead.


PHILLIPS: Gloria Borger is our chief political analyst. She is with us from Washington. What do you think? Will this be the Democrat's number one theme, going into the election in November, an opportunity for all? GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. You know, the president used to spend a lot of time talking about income and equality and now that sort of shifted over because he's gotten some criticism for that and to opportunity for all. So he is going to talk about that in terms of raising the minimum wage and affordable care act in providing health coverage for people who could not get it before, in terms of your retirement with special retirement accounts.

So he is sort of lumping this all together to give the Democrats he was talking to today kind of a platform to run on in 2014 without having to directly attach themselves to the president. He hasn't been very popular lately, giving them the Democratic agenda without talking about Barack Obama if they don't want to.

PHILLIPS: Those Dems also want to know how to defend against the attacks on Obamacare as well, right?

BORGER: They absolutely do. What's interesting in talking to senior Democrats is that they intend to take on the attacks funneling. They are going to say Republicans are going to attack Obamacare and say it doesn't work and the risk pool won't work. You heard the president today tout the fact that they have 3.3 million people who enrolled.

But what the Democrats are going to say in the campaign is do you want to take away benefits from people? So you tell all the people with pre-existing conditions who now they don't matter and suddenly they will matter again and all those kids who are insured until the age of 26, under their parents policies that oops you suddenly don't have that anymore.

So they are taking the gamble. Even though there have been problems with Obamacare and let's not downplay those because they have been huge, now it may be getting back on track. The government will be regarded as more confident that it was and that they can start touting the benefits and hopefully people's insurance premiums will not rise so that people get sticker shock. That's the big question out there. They are going to defend it very strongly.

PHILLIPS: Hopefully, hopefully. That's the quote of the day.

BORGER: That's the question.

PHILLIPS: Gloria Borger, thanks so much. GM is recalling a million cars and it will be hard to notify owners who have been impacted. We'll explain why next.


PHILLIPS: General Motors has a serious problem on its hands. The auto maker has issued a recall for a potentially deadly glitch in a lot of cars, 778,000 cars. But these are not new models. They are older cars and could be in the hands of owners who won't find out about the problem until it kills them.

CNN's Alison Kosik live in the New York Stock Exchange. So Alison, first of, which cars are we talking about and what exactly is the problem?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK, so the recall involves Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5. These are made between 2005 and 2007. They are not being made anymore. They are still on the road. You look at the recall. We have seen bigger. The scary part is that six people have died. There two potential problems with this.

The engine can unexpectedly just turn off because of a faulty ignition switch and what happens is the air bags don't deploy in the accidents. GM said certain things tend to trigger this to happen. Let's say when the car is off-roading or when the switch is being jarred in some sort of way.

Here's something interesting that is causing that to happen. If you have a heavy key ring and tons of key chains and they are causing this jarring action in the switch that can cause the mall function as well. What GM is saying in the cases of the fatalities, some were not wearing their seatbelts and alcohol may have been a factor. If you have one of the vehicles, GM will replace the ignition switch.

PHILLIPS: So these cars are up to nine years old, right. Some have been sold more than once. How will the owners find out about the recall?

KOSIK: Exactly. So some owners would be easy to find. Say if they bought the car at the dealer or if they registered it with the auto maker. Not everybody does. Because these cars are old, many have already probably been sold and resold from individuals or people selling them online or in the newspaper.

The reality is GM most likely won't be able to find anybody. It's something to think about when you buy a car. Used or new, you want to check the recalls with the automakers. You can go to safe Take it to the dealer and you will get it fixed -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Alison Kosik, thanks so much.

Bombshell report about the locker room culture of one NFL team. The report details alleged abuse by Miami Dolphins team members, not just one, but three. At the top of the hour we are talking to a former NFL player who can tell us what he saw and heard in the locker room.


PHILLIPS: On November, Alfred Wright called his wife to say that he was car trouble and needed someone to pick him up. When his parents called, he was nowhere to be found. They called off after only days. Wright's family said he was a victim of foul play saying his throat was cut and other parts of his body were mutilated. The sheriff will not call it a homicide. Here's CNN's Deborah Feyerick.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alfred Wright's body was found less than 150 yards from where sheriff deputies had originally set up their search command post.

LAUREN WRIGHT, ALFRED WRIGHT'S WIFE: How was he so close? We didn't find him. It's not like he was miles away. He was right there.

FEYERICK: Saying there was no foul play. Sheriff Tom Maddox called off the search after only four days leaving family and friends to find the body on their own.

DOUGLAS WRIGHT, ALFRED WRIGHT'S FATHER: His spirit spoke out to me and said, daddy, I knew you were going to find me.

FEYERICK: Just as the sheriff had foreseen, an autopsy did find drugs, three kinds, including meth. Though his family insists they had never seen Alfred do any drugs.

WRIGHT: I still know and believe wholeheartedly that someone did this to my husband.


PHILLIPS: All right, I want to bring in Deb Feyerick now. So Deb, where does this investigation in Alfred Wright's death stand right now?

FEYERICK: Well, you know, there are so many questions, Kyra, surrounding this. First of all, you know, the sheriff called off the search after four --