Even after competing in the ’92, ’94, and ’98 Winter Olympics—and attending all Olympic games since—Croton-on-Hudson native Gordy Sheer still laughs when he recounts the family vacation that introduced him to luge as a 12-year-old.
“We were up in Lake Placid cross-country skiing,” Sheer says. “A van drove by that had a telephone number for the US Luge Association. I wrote the number down and called. Two weeks later, I was on the ice for the first time.”
His interest didn’t waver after returning home. Even with the closest track to Westchester in Lake Placid, Sheer continued competing through his 1989 Croton-Harmon High School graduation and while attending Ohio State. “I had to run through the Alps looking for fax machines to send my schoolwork back to high school,” he recalls.
Sheer won the first American Olympic luge medal at the 1998 Nagano games with a silver and the 1996-97 World Cup in doubles before ending his career at the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games.
Now, the 42-year-old Lake Placid resident serves as USA Luge’s marketing director and will be making the trip to Sochi, Russia, in early February. “It’s promoting the sport, promoting the athletes,” Sheer says. “Securing funding is a huge part of my responsibility as well.”
The United States Olympic Committee partially funds USA Luge, but there is no professional league. It’s up to Sheer to find athletes and sponsors interested in the Olympics, just as his interest in the games was piqued when the Olympic torch made its way through Croton-on-Hudson before the 1980 Lake Placid games.
“I had a candle lit off the Olympic flame, which I still have,” Sheer recalls. “And I was captivated by the whole thing.”
XXII Winter Olympics Primer
Sochi, Russia. The games are situated with a “coastal cluster” for ice events on the Black Sea’s coast, while the “mountain cluster” is located 30 minutes away by rail in the Caucasus Mountains.
How can I watch?
Sochi is nine hours ahead of East-Coast time, but NBC is expected to stick to its tape-delay formula in order to show the events on network prime-time. Yahoo! has exclusive digital video rights to live-stream the competitions online.
What’s at stake?
Ninety-eight sets of medals in 15 sports, ranging from ice hockey to snowboarding to speed skating.
Who else to watch:
New Rochelle native Kevin Shattenkirk (a defenseman for the St. Louis Blues) on the US hockey team.