- Speed Skating
Road to speed skating gold runs through Coxsackie
When you watch speed skating, make sure to look at what the competitors are wearing on their feet. A majority of the athletes in Sochi are wearing skates that were hand made in Greene County. They come from an unassuming shop in little old West Coxsackie; with a worldwide reputation.
From the looks on the outside you'd never know that inside this workshop the speed skating boots for almost the entire U.S. Olympic team and 60-75 percent of the speed skaters from 30 other countries are built.
Embedded video_content_type: Road to speed skating gold runs through Coxsackie
Paul Marchese used to skate himself and started out making skates for his own use.
“They were crude and ugly but worked pretty good,” said Marchese.
When teammates asked him to make theirs, he did, and the money funded his skating career.
Marchese then stopped skating professionally, but his company continued to grow. Twenty-five years later, a pair of Marchese skates goes for between $2,000 and $3,000 and there is a one-year waiting list for orders.
“It certainly kept me involved in the sport. I would have been long gone in my career had I not had a business connection with it,” he explained.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Meet the U.S. speed skating Olympic team
The work shop is small. Only three people work there.
While the technique hasn't changed much during the years, the technology most definitely has. It takes about a month to complete a pair that is unique to each athlete. Boots are created from a plaster casting and built individually to fit every foot contour.
“Even if they are off by a millimeter it can be excruciating,” said Marchese.
It's that firsthand knowledge of the sport that contributes to the skaters' success which, in turn, makes Marchese successful too.
“When I see a lot of other friends and athletes pass through the sport, come and go, certainly my business has allowed me to stay in touch with a sport I absolutely love,” he said.
Marchese is in the middle of all the action. He’s spending the Olympics as a coach in Sochi.