Workers and scientists in Watervliet have been working for years to develop the fastest steel blades in the world. Last month, they were able to see the success of their product in Sochi. Innae Park has more on Olympic medalist Erin Hamlin's visit to the Capital Region.
WATERVLIET, N.Y. -- A warm welcome for New Yorker Erin Hamlin, whose shiny accessory from Sochi – that is, her bronze medal in individual luge - is part of a team effort from those at Saint-Gobain Abrasives.
“I can share this with you guys knowing that you are a part of it. So thank you,” said Hamlin.
“We work with the contour of the steel, the painting of the steel, the aerodynamic of the steel, and the smoothing of it,” said Matt Medeksza, the vice-president of Saint-Gobain Coated Abrasives. “So we're very much involved in the construction of that sled.”
Norton, a brand of Saint-Gobain Abrasives, has sponsored the U.S.A Luge Team since 2009. In the end, it was a sled they helped to develop that led Hamlin to the United States' first ever individual luge medal.
Regarding her sled, the 27-year-old from Remsen said, “I know how it runs, and I know how it works and it works pretty well right now so I probably won't play around with it too much.”
Based on her words, the bond with her sled is unbreakable. “It's definitely my own personal sled and I don't foresee them taking that away from me,” she said. “They better not!” Hamlin then joked.
Before the Olympics began, Saint-Gobain Abrasives North America Vice-President Brad Johnson admitted, “If in some way we can just be a small part of these dedicated athletes achieve their dreams, that's a pretty rewarding experience for us."
Now, no one can take away the pride of these men and women who saw their work become a winner.
Hamlin won't be competing again until next season.
As for whether she'll be competing in the next Olympics, she says it's too early to know.