Worcester, Mass. – Invigorated by a USA Luge silver medal World Cup team relay win in November and poised with a range of planned activities, Saint-Gobain Abrasives—primary sponsor of the USA Luge Team—is prepared for competition at the Games in Beijing next month.
As Norton | Saint-Gobain celebrates the 40th anniversary of its partnership with the USA Luge Team, a range of activities sponsored by Norton are slated to take place. Planned events include 20 company watch parties that will take place during the games, an Adopt-a-Luge athlete program and a Luge Challenge event at a New England ski area.
“Our 40-year partnership with the USA Luge Team is a tremendous, continually evolving collaboration that enables employee engagement opportunities and innovative results in research and development,” said Norton | Saint-Gobain’s Abby Marschke, executive director of marketing, DIY, system components and customer service, abrasives, North America and face of the USA Luge partnership. “It’s also a unique experience to see our products in action while supporting the fastest sport on ice, and we are excited to host and sponsor the first-ever USA Luge Watch Parties. These parties will give the families of the athletes and our employees an opportunity to come together in Lake Placid, N.Y., to watch and celebrate not only the sport of luge, but the athletes behind the sleds and their families. We are ready through a host of events to celebrate what we hope will be the most medals yet for USA Luge at the ’22 Winter Games.”
Norton | Saint-Gobain’s relationship with USA Luge “is so much more than just a partnership,” Marschke continued. “We consider ourselves a family. In addition to sponsoring the weeklong Watch Parties, Norton | Saint-Gobain will provide monetary support for the athletes’ families to attend.” Norton is also sponsoring its Norton Luge Challenge contest Jan. 22 and 23 at Wachusett Mountain Ski area in Princeton, Mass., where the USA Luge Team allows the public to try the sport using recreational luge sleds while simultaneously searching for promising young sliders to join the team.
In addition, Norton is continuing its “Adopt an Athlete Program,” adopting 15 USA Luge athletes. These athletes are supported by generous donations by Norton | Saint-Gobain employees from 11 Norton locations. The goal of the support is to help alleviate some of the cost burdens the athletes face and help them focus on their training and competitions. Throughout the year there are opportunities for the athletes to visit Norton sites and meet the employees who are providing support.
“The success of our athletes is directly tied to the support of Norton | Saint-Gobain,” said Gordy Sheer, director of sponsorship and marketing for USA Luge. “This season, we’ve seen our athletes win medals at several World Cup events in multiple disciplines, showing our potential for the big race in February.”
USA Luge athletes Ashley Farquharson of Park City, Utah; Tucker West of Ridgefield, Conn.; Chris Mazdzer of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Jayson Terdiman of Berwick, Pa., were thrilled to win a silver medal in the season-opening World Cup team relay on Nov. 21 in what proved to be a superb dress rehearsal for the team in Beijing.
The relationship between Norton, a brand of Saint-Gobain, and USA Luge, dates back to 1980 when the company began donating Norton sandpaper products for USA Luge athletes to shape and polish runners on the sleds. Today’s USA Luge athletes are very familiar with Norton abrasive products, using them extensively each day to prepare their sleds for racing and sliding on steels made up of a special composition that was identified through the expertise of Norton engineers.
“Our primary focus for helping the USA Luge team is finding the most meaningful ways to reduce sled friction in a wide variety of sliding conditions, fully utilizing our best abrasive products, grinding technology and application experts,” said Anne Bonner, Norton | Saint-Gobain’s senior product manager for coated abrasives and leader of the Norton Technical Development collaboration with USA Luge.