Using Two-Way Radios to Search for Olympic Gold
Overview: The US Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton Tea
The USA Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton Team (USABS) relies on professional-grade two-way radio equipment to optimize racing times and reduce the potential for serious injury to athletes. That’s why the team turned to Discount Two-Way Radio as their official two-way radio sponsor as they prepare for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
To really understand how much respect the USA Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton Team (USABS) garners around the world, it is important to recognize that the crew is considered a patriarch of bobsledding and skeleton racing. They have successfully achieved medal status in nearly every Winter Olympics since the 1928 competition in St. Moritz, Switzerland. To date, the team has garnered 10 Gold, 12 Silver, and 11 Bronze Winter Olympic medals.
In addition to the individual athletes, there are also many people working behind the scenes. For example, USABS also has hundreds of coaches, medical professionals, and trainers, all working in concert and directed toward competing on the Olympic world stage. It is this singular vision that runs throughout every layer of the USABS’s headquarters in Lake Placid, NY, and it was because of that tight focus on excellence and perfection that they insisted on going to Discount Two-Way Radio, North America’s exclusive distributor of RCA two-way radios and expert two-way radio communications advice.
The Challenge: Radios for Extreme Conditions & Situations
While the bobsled and the skeleton race are exciting sports to watch, they are also two of the most dangerous winter sports to participate in as an athlete. Racers travel up to 125 miles an hour pulling up to 5 Gs of gravitational force while twisting and turning over a mile-long track of ice. With such fast speeds and dangerous conditions, coaches, trainers, medical personnel, and athletes always need to have instantaneous two-way communication with crystal clear sound quality. There is no room for mistakes and every second of every practice run or international competition must be closely observed in order improve performance and prevent catastrophe.
So, the USABS came to Discount Two-Way Radio to help them find the right two-way radio solution that could accomplish several important objectives, including:
- The radios had to communicate with multiple people and throughout multiple groups with crystal clear sound.
- The radios had to seamlessly and instantly connect with any emergency services professional in case of a major incident.
- The radios had to flawlessly operate in some of the most demanding climate conditions on earth: from blizzards in Sochi, Russia to freezing rain in Calgary, Canada.
“Our choice in two-way radios had to be chosen very carefully and we had to make sure we picked the correct equipment to get the job done,” said Michael Dionne, Coach and Director of Athlete. Development for the USABS. “Having a partner like RCA Communications Systems to help us make the right choice in equipment has made a huge impact on the overall effort to bring home the gold.”
When Lenny Kasten, the USABS team General Manager, and Coach Michael Dionne personally reached out to Discount Two-Way Radio to find the best radio for Team USA. As the exclusive distributor of RCA radios, RCA Communications Systems’ technology experts immediately recommended the RPX4500 and RPX4600 radio series for the job. Not only do these RCA RPX4500/RPX4600 handheld digital radios meet all Project 25 (P25) specifications for police, fire, ambulance, and other emergency services, they also meet the highest standards of military specifications (MIL-STD-810F) for durability, droppage, shock and water resistance. In addition, each radio boasts 5W of power for maximum signal coverage and with 3000mAh Li-Ion batteries, they will last up to 11 hours on a single charge. Add in RCA’s 4 Year Warranty -the best in the industry – and Team USA was sold!
“In terms of quality, these are the best radios we’ve ever had. I’ve been on the US team doing this for more than 20 years, and so I can tell you they are the best we’ve ever had. We use them all over the world, and no matter where we go, they work perfectly. Want to know something else? They are better radios than any other nations have! When you compare them with the German radios, Italian radios, there’s no comparison. We use them in Europe, Asia, you name it, they work everywhere. Plus, Discount Two Way Radios even programmed them for us and everything,” said Kasten.
On top of everything else, the RPX4600 radios will also help keep each member of the team safer.
“Whenever there is a crash, I rely on the RCA RPX4600 radios to gain additional information immediately. The coaches are typically down lower in the track and can help me find athletes if they are ejected from the sled and if they are walking after the crash. Crashes are a very stressful time and having the additional information ensures that I can find, evaluate and ensure the best care for each athlete. I will also relay information back to the coaches and crew chief so they can start working on fixes or replacements before the athletes arrive back to the start. Without the use of our radios, this process would be chaotic and would result in poor management of many situations,” said Andrew Ernst, Athletic Trainer for the team.
The Discount Two-Way Radio System Special Donation:
Discount Two-Way Radio not only helped the USA Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton team find the perfect radio system for the team, they offered to donate the entire collection of radios, and accessories to the team as way to show its support for these young athletes.
“Unlike most nations, the United States government does not fund the US Olympic Movement. Every single athlete is 100 percent self-supported. It’s not about seeking fame and fortune for these people. Some of the athletes have slept in their cars for the opportunity to train at an Olympic Training Center. They have one goal—to be the best in the world—and they pursue that goal with every subatomic particle of their being, wearing USA on their backs. That's a journey that inspired us at RCA Communication Systems, because we too understand about being the best by doing our best. We are the leaders of the digital two-way radio world, so we wanted to help them with their communications needs. It was that simple,” said Ben Burns, CEO and Founder of Discount Two-Way Radio.