Mid-Missourian Makes Mark on Olympic Speed Skating

4 years 7 months 6 days ago Wednesday, February 12 2014 Feb 12, 2014 Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:31:00 AM CST February 12, 2014 in News
By: Eric Hilt, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

ROCKY MOUNT - People all over the world are focused on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but one mid-Missourian is watching the games more intently than most.

Bruce Kohen's two car garage sits at the end of a gravel road on the shore of the Lake of the Ozarks. It has a car and a workbench, but there's one thing that sets his garage apart: Olympic-quality speed skates.

"Basically I design and invent sporting goods for feet," Kohen said.

For more than a decade Kohen has made speed skating equipment and it wasn't long until his unique system caught the eye of other athletes.

"I started in '98 in Colorado building boots for myself in the basement, building them for myself, but by word of mouth people saw me on them skating good, so I started building a few pairs one after another," Kohen said.

Word of Kohen's boots made it to the most decorated American speed skater in Olympic history.

"I get a call from Apolo Ohno in the middle of summer and I thought it was one of my friends jerking my chain from Jeff City Speed skating so I actually hung up on him." Kohen said. "The next thing I know he calls back and says, 'no this is Apolo Ohno.'"

Ohno wore Kohen's boots in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics and won six Olympic medals with the Missouri-made skates.

Kohen makes all of his skates by himself, a huge difference from Kohen's biggest competitor.

"I am the last of the one man shows," Kohen said. "Most of the industry, they'll crank out 400-500 boots a year. Well I've only made like 500 boots here in 15 years."

Kohen said working as a one man band give him a unique challenge.

"One day I'm doing plaster work, the next day I'm cutting materials, the next day I'm an aerospace engineer over here laying up some composite work."

It's not just the fact that Kohen works alone that sets his boots apart, it's what goes into the boots. Kohen uses a method and materials he pioneered to make some of the most durable skates in the sport, lasting years longer than other companies' skates.

"I put very high end aerospace materials in the boots so they won't stretch and they don't wear out. The skaters can get the same feeling year after year after year out of their boots," Kohen said. "The reason Apolo was able to skate more than one or two years on the same pair of boots was that they're just indestructible."

Eight athletes in the Sochi Olympics are wearing Kohen's skates, including American Chris Creveling.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - After being inactive for nearly a year, the Missouri Board of Education is launching a search for... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:06:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, is changing the way she is fundraising after an ethics complaint and... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:17:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department was on the scene of a double shooting Wednesday afternoon. Police... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Some people living in Columbia's southside neighborhoods say thieves, using creative technology, are stealing from cars. Haley... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As Welcome Home marks the first anniversary of its new shelter, a once drug-addicted veteran is artfully finding... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:19:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON- After the State Auditor's report that more local money could go to domestic violence shelters, one survivor reiterated the... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Wednesday morning firefighters burned a simulated dorm room burn on the MU campus to show students how quickly... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:13:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY – Cole County ended its economic development contract with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. The... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she will oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. McCaskill's... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former prosecutor and chairman of Missouri's Democratic Party has been sentenced to two years and... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department ruled a Wednesday morning fire as suspicious. There were no injuries, but the... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As rivers are still rising in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, donations are also flooding in. However,... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A Kansas City man has pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of another man at a trailer... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:51:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The search for Missouri's next top education official has begun. The State Board of Education... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:24:10 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON - UPDATE: Police have found the two boys who escaped from the Division of Youth Services. Police said... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:38:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
HOWARD COUNTY - Two people are dead and two others injured after a crash on Highway 87 Tuesday afternoon. ... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:51:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Anthony Martin died in a crash in Cooper County on Sunday after losing control of his motorcycle.... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:57:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A Columbia woman was taken to the Lake Regional Hospital on Sunday after a crash involving a... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:39:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 77°
1am 78°
2am 78°
3am 76°
4am 75°