RIT Student Heads for World Skeleton Competition in Germany




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How do you travel more than a mile in less than a minute with no engine, no wheels and no wings? It takes a lot of ice. And courage.

Second-year software engineering student Chris Nurre is an avid skeleton competitor. He’ll be competing Feb. 2-8 on the U.S. Junior World Skeleton Team in Winterberg, Germany, one of only eight sliders representing the U.S. at this international competition.

Skelton is similar to bobsled—in that it involves sliding down an icy track at high rates of speed—with the difference being that you luge head-first, an inch off the ice on a 4-foot metal ‘sled’. Nurre describes it as “a cookie sheet with runners,” with no mechanisms other than minute body movements to control steering.

What would make a person want to get involved in such a sport?

Nurre, formerly a track runner, says he was intrigued by the skeleton competition in the 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake City. Skeleton was reinstated as an Olympic sport for the 2002 Games, with the U.S. winning gold medals in both men’s and women’s teams and women also taking the silver. So he signed up for a month-long skeleton camp in Lake Placid last January, qualifying for national championships in March and making the world team in November.

As a track runner and keen sledder, it comes naturally to him (skeleton is a mix of sprinting and sliding). Nurre grew up in Ohio with a big sledding hill behind his house. Skeleton didn’t seem that much different. “I like roller coasters. I like snow, ice and sledding,” he says. “Why not mix them together?”

Why not, indeed. And why not dream big? His goal is to compete on the U.S. Olympic team at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

NOTE: Digital photos available. E-mail sjbcom@rit.edu