Gloversville man makes sure skeleton athletes follow the rules
The athletes and coaches are not the only people living an Olympic dream.
It's also an honor for the officials -- including a Fulton county man who's overseeing the skeleton events.
He works full time at Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady, but now he's in Sochi.
Face down, head first -- skeleton athletes descend the icy track at speeds approaching 80 miles per hour -steering the sled with the spikes on their shoes.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Skeleton: Meet the United States' Olympic competition
Keeping watch is Gloversville’s Ken DeLong -- a skeleton jury assistant who ensures the equipment is safe and legal, and that the athletes are following the rules.
"I get to live out my dream alongside theirs, and it's just really, really amazing to think of where they came from -- where we all came from -- and here we're all going to be on the same stage,” said DeLong.
A teenage powerlifting champion back home in Virginia, DeLong always dreamed of going to the *Summer* Olympics. That’s until he took a job at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid in 1984 and fell in love with winter sports.
DeLong competed in the U.S. Bobsled National Championship, The U.S. Team Trials, and several local races.
Then he moved into officiating: travelling to bobsled and skeleton events around the world.
“I've been to Germany several times, St. Moritz, Switzerland, Inglis, Australia, and I'm in Canada quite a bit as well,” he explains.
DeLong volunteered at the Winter Olympic Games in the 2002 Salt Lake Games. Now, he's serving in the official capacity of jury assistant in Sochi.
DeLong says he knows the competitors so well, he often forgets he's working side-by-side with world class athletes.
“I'll see one of the athletes we've just worked with doing a commercial for one of the sponsors or something like that, and I forget, 'Hey, this really is a major deal,’” he said.
A major deal on a worldwide stage.