Utah-made skeleton sleds in Olympic competition

The following is an excerpt from an article published at ksl.com:

Men’s and women’s Olympic skeleton riders on Team U.S.A. take the track in Vancouver. In West Jordan, the man who built some of those sleds will be watching.

Randall Parker makes skeleton sleds in his own garage in West Jordan. He made the sleds that two American riders are using in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They’ll compete beginning Thursday night.

Parker, a member of the American Bobsled Club, said, “I get to be there. My work is there. My invention is there.”

Katie Uhlaender, a skeleton racer on the U.S. women’s team, will be using one of Parker’s sleds. She’s competing on the world stage — and in a way, so is Parker.

“I’m vibrating with anticipation. I couldn’t sleep last night. I’m hopping around today, just waiting,” Parker said.

Parker started building skeleton sleds back in 1996 but got good at it in 2000. Since then, he’s helped many competitors medal in World Cups and Olympic Games.

This year, the goal is the same.

“It is an amazing sled,” Parker said of Uhlaender’s competition skeleton sled. “And Zach [Lund] has one, and I think he’s going to medal with it. I really do.”

The sled he’s talking about is called “The Outlaw.”

Because the track in Vancouver has extra sharp turns, the steel blades — or runners, as they call them — are extra thin, and very accurate.

They even go faster than usual: 90 miles per hour.

Parker uses a super alloy that’s made for fighter jets for his Outlaw sled frames. He says The Outlaw controls vibrations with a spring and allows for more glide speed.

Click here to read the entire article.


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