Olympic Dreams Riding on SAIT Polytechnic’s Technical Expertise
Some might call it a slippery slope, but for two Canadian Skeleton athletes, their high speed descent down the frozen track is just the opposite. Thanks to SAIT Polytechnic’s expertise, John Fairbairn and Eric Neilson will be competing in Sochi’s 2014 Winter Olympic games with all the confidence that comes with using the best equipment available.
The two olympians have been collaborating with SAIT researchers and students in a skeleton project that began as an Own the Podium – Top Secret Project in 2008, with a partnership between SAIT Polytechnic and Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. Their goal was simple: researching and developing sleds that could compete on an international level.
Beginning with what Neilson termed “a kind of rookie sled”, the SAIT team continued to fine-tune the sleds, leading to success in competitions on the World Cup Ciruit. Using 3D scans of both the athlete and the sled, they were able to customize the sleds by form-fitting them to each athlete’s body.
Six years later, they stand on the brink of their ultimate goal. “The Olympics was always a goal, and a gold medal there — that’s the end goal” says Dr. Alex Zahavich, Director of Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) at SAIT Polytechnic.
Proud to be sporting Canadian-made equipment, Neilson and Fairbairn will be competeing in Sochi on February 14 and 15, with a chance to ride their SAIT sleds down that icy skeleton track to Olympic glory.
Schools Mentioned: SAIT Polytechnic