PyeongChang, South Korea — While North Carolina may not be known for its bobsledding, when it comes to outfitting Team USA, a Tar Heel company has built a name for itself.
Hans DeBot is a graduate of North Carolina State University and owner of DeBotech. He specializes in designs with carbon fiber, the strong, lightweight material in race cars and based his company in Mooresville, in the heart of NASCAR country.
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"I had a driver come to me and ask if I’d build a bobsled for the US Olympics," he said. "Sure man. It’s the Olympics! I mean who didn’t grow up loving the Olympics!"
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DeBot applied his expertise as an elite automotive designer and a little help from Google.
"I downloaded the specs off the internet," he said.
He built his first bobsled in 2002. It served as a virtual icebreaker into the sport.
"Out of that deal, I got the phone call, and the rest, as they say, is history," he said.
DeBotech now designs all the carbon fiber composites that make Team USA’s bobsleds fly.
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In his shop, key components for Team USA’s bobsleds and skeletons are designed, polished and carefully vacuum sealed. Some of adorned with autographs from some of the world’s best bobsledders.
DeBot had learned a little bit about his work is used by Olympic athletes.
"They ride on it," he said. "It lays on the ice and they lay on this portion of it called the saddle."
DeBot’s next big challenge will take him into another industry. He’s working on designing prosthetic legs for dogs.