For 30 years, Norton Saint-Gobain in Watervliet has provided the U.S. Luge Association with donated products. Now cutting edge technology created by this company hopes to improve speed and possibly even bring home the Gold! Time Warner Cable News Reporter Karen Tararache reports.
WATERVLIET, N.Y. -- "Every athlete depends on having the sled tuned to their individual needs," said Gordy Sheer, 1998 Olympic Silver Medalist U.S. Luge Association.
Olympic Silver medalist and 30 year luge athlete, Gordy Sheer, would know.
He says the key to optimizing performance is finding a product to do that efficiently.
"We also need to do it in a way that keeps the steel cool and doesn't generate a lot of heat because if the steel is hot it's illegal the temperatures are checked at control points so it's a real engineering challenge," Sheer said.
With sled speeds moving 60 to upwards of 90 miles per hour, technology here at Saint Gobain is being pushed harder and harder to compete with that cutting edge.
"We used our metallurgical scientists to look at various types of steel that they were getting from foreign companies that they were providing material to foreign teams and we took a look at that and compared that the times they were going, the fast, compared the materials and compositions," said Brad Johnson, Saint-Gobain Abrasives Vice President.
It's a technological and financial partnership 30 years in the making - culminating in the creation of a unique steel recipe that will hopefully cruise the Olympic Luge Team into victory.
"The ability for us to use our employees expertise whether its in the science side or in the product side to help the luge team hone their performance and if some way we can just be a small part of these dedicated athletes achieve their dreams, that's a pretty rewarding experience for us," Johnson said.
Sheer added, "I think we've got as good a chance as any other team to do well in Sochi so we're looking forward to it."