Many of us have watched the Sochi Winter Olympics these past couple of weeks, marveling at the athletes and all they have accomplished in some amazing sports. At Wasatch Steel, we decided to take a look at how steel plays a role in the Olympics, in everything from the venues that they use to compete in each sport to the infrastructure and the equipment that athletes use. Without steel, the Olympics would look much different.
While there is not any specific data publicly available about all of the Winter Olympic venues that were built for the events in and around Sochi, we do know that steel plays a huge role in any architectural building, creating the backbone of the structure and allowing for some amazing designs to be built.
Just looking at the venues for the 2014 Winter Olympics, from the Iceberg Skating Palace to the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park and everywhere in between, steel plays a big role. It allowed for some amazingly beautiful designs in the structure that held the Olympic flame, and helped athletes perform incredible tricks in disciplines from freestyle skiing and snowboarding on the rails to the ski jumps and bobsled, skeleton, and luge track where athletes flew over 300 feet in the air or slid down a track at speeds nearing 100 mph.
Another area where steel, like what you can find at Wasatch Steel, plays a big role in any major event is the transportation. It has been reported in the media that much of the area around Sochi was undeveloped prior to the Winter Olympics, so over the past few years Russia has spent a significant amount of time and money constructing highways and roads to accommodate the vast influx of fans expected for the games. Steel is one of the most effective materials for infrastructure projects like roads and bridges because it is extremely durable and strong, but also very lightweight, making it easier to transport to building sites, and easier to build with.
The Athletes’ Equipment
Many of the athletes in the Winter Olympics also have steel as part of their equipment or uniform. Ice dancers and hockey players have skates with blades made of steel, bobsleds, skeletons, and luges rely on steel runners to get them down the ice safely and securely, with as little extra weight as possible in the equipment. In fact, USA skeleton athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace from Eagle Mountain, Utah was widely reported to be sliding on a sled made by her husband, who works for a steel fabrication company. Equipment from speed skaters’ skates to ski bindings might be made of different steel or steel alloys. The durability, strength, and lightweight nature of steel makes it a versatile choice for many different sporting applications.
Even if you’re not part of the Winter Olympics, come down to Wasatch Steel to check out our selection of steel and find whatever you might need for your next project—and Go Team USA!