Olympics

A love of bobsled landed this Duke IT guy in PyeongChang. How can you recognize him?

Ken Childs of Durham is in PyeongChang, South Korea covering the bobsled, luge and skeleton events while sporting Durham Bulls headwear complete with the Bulls’ snorting bull logo, during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Ken Childs of Durham is in PyeongChang, South Korea covering the bobsled, luge and skeleton events while sporting Durham Bulls headwear complete with the Bulls’ snorting bull logo, during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Submitted

Ken Childs has taken a bit of Durham with him to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Childs has been sporting Durham Bulls gear there while chasing down another passion – bobsledding or, as it’s known in official Olympic parlance, bobsleigh. He’s there for two and a half weeks to write about all the races at the sliding center.

“A few people have recognized it and asked me about it,” Childs said of the easily recognizable Bulls snorting bull logo on his winter cap. “Somebody came up and asked ‘Is that a Durham Bulls hat? My wife and I just watched that movie.’ It’s been at least a half-dozen people.”

So how does a Duke University information technology worker end up at the Winter Olympics? The bobsled bug bit him early, thanks to television, Childs said.

“I was kind of watching the Olympics as a kid, the bright colors and stuff,” Cole said. “I saw bobsled and it caught me. It was something that was cool for me. Every time it was on back in the day, I watched it when it was on Wide World of Sports.”

About 10 years ago it became a lot easier to find bobsled races on television, thanks to coverage on the now-defunct Speed cable TV network, Childs said.

“I watched those races and it kind of descended from there,” Childs said. “I was a relatively casual fan until then.”

Childs, who originally is from western Massachusetts, said he counts himself as a fan of racing in general.

Auto racing led him to start a blog about that sport. But on a whim he started looking up information about bobsledding. He said there wasn’t much to find in 2011.

“Back in 2011 I went looking for some information one day about race that was coming up and you could not really find much of anything on the internet,” Childs said. “So after looking around a little more, I was like ‘I’ve been doing this motorsports thing for a little while now, I’m sure I could do the same thing in bobsledding. It can’t be that hard right?’ I’ve always been a big race fan.”

Childs, whose day job is in information technology at Duke University, started slidingonice.com in 2011. Now Childs writes about all sliding sports, including luge and skeleton.

Usually he takes a weeklong trip to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the bobsled World Cup races there each year. But 2018 offered him a larger opportunity to cover the Winter Olympics. So far, he’s already witnessed Chris Mazdzer become the first American man to win a medal in luge and also the terrifying crash by Emily Sweeney in the women’s luge last week.

Competition in his favorite sport began on Sunday as the bobsledders hit the track, though.

“It’s a passion of mine,” Childs said. “I absolutely love it. And even if I weren’t here right now, I’d still be doing this. I’d still be watching every night or morning at weird hours. It’s what I do during the season. But yeah, it’s definitely a passion.”

Childs said covering the Olympics, especially the Opening Ceremonies, is something he’ll never forget.

“It was everything I hoped it to be,” Childs said. “The pageantry and everything that comes with the opening ceremonies. I realize that they’re made for television but I know a lot of athletes and seeing them walking past and seeing the looks on their faces made the whole trip.”

He’ll wrap up his trip this coming weekend with the end of competition.

Editor’s note: Follow Ken Childs at the 2018 Winter Olympics on Twitter at @TheKenChilds

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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