Apparently, there was a split between the coaches regarding the high-altitude training camp just before the Olympics; some wanted it, others wanted to avoid it like the plague.
The Sochi track is a sea level track, meaning it is a much slower, heavier going track than one on altitude, like Salt Lake City.
It has been speculated the Dutch skaters have a huge advantage here, because their home track, in Heerenveen, offers them similar training circumstances than what they are experiencing now in Russia.
Originally Posted by rensho3
The Dutch are a pretty much happy family that trains together much of the time; they feed off each other's energy. Our skaters tend to train solo, and once the feeling of gloom set in with unexpected results, it looks like it just spiraled down hill with little obstruction by the coaches or other skaters.
This I doubt, considering that there are 50-60 professional Dutch skaters, in a whole lot of different teams. The twenty athletes that are allowed to compete at the Olympics [10 males, 10 females] normally are not team mates, as they had to compete in trials to qualify. Meaning: on some distances the best Dutch skaters do not even take part in the Olympics; they were left home because they failed at the trials late December.
Those trials were tougher in some cases than the Olympics are. Jorien ter Mors could have won the 3000 meters as well these days, but simply didn't qualify because she had had a flu in December.
Most countries only have the skaters that go to the Olympics.
Biggest one that I'd question is that there was a uniformity in preparation by the US squad.
Proven performers don't generally prep on the generic team plan. That's pretty constant throughout sports. As Low pointed out, Federations like to pat themselves on the back for funding...the reality is often different than the PR.
Though that's conjecture here
Ice changes, atmosphere indoors can change a lot (any one who's raced at Carson has seen the fast and slow days) so suit noise could be buried.
And FWIW the wind tunnel is limited to the operators. If UA tested the suit on Joe Doe it might be faster on John Doe. And slow on Bob Dole.