Things We Love: Street luger David Dean's picks
David Dean was first hooked on street luging after watching its icy counterpart in the 1998 Winter Olympics. He was 14, and later that year raced in his first street luge competition, breaking his wrist. He went on to win a street luge world championship in 2005, and has hopes to return to those glories this year. Dean recently won the first International Downhill Federation street luge event of the year in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The win secured his No. 1 world ranking going into the World Cup season, and he's currently pushing for season sponsors to be able to compete in the full World Cup series and bring a second World Championship back to Columbus.
OlympianLea Ann Parsley
The most inspirational person I've never met. She was a skeleton luge athlete in the Olympics. Those are the girls who race face-first down the ice luge on the bobsled course. She ended up taking silver in 2002, and it was a big deal. She's actually from Granville, just down the road from my parents' house. I had no idea someone from Ohio could make it in a Winter Olympic sport because we have no tracks here. That's what really made me follow the Olympics more. I wanted to be an ice luger.
You can really go from having experiences that you'll remember to having experiences that you can see again. I love mine, and I wear it everywhere. I used it this last weekend doing ice luge. On my first run, I put it on my helmet, go down the course, and I crash brilliantly, cussing the whole way down. I get back to the top, everyone goes, "Man, I can't wait to see the footage," and I had forgot I had a camera on. No one's ever going to experience an ice luge wreck, but I have it on film, in high-def. In 30 seconds it was on YouTube.
Devil's Grotto at Grand Cayman Island
It is the coolest place in the world, and I've been to over 30 countries, mostly for racing, so I don't get to see a lot of touristy things. I like unique places, places you'd see in a picture and be like, "I can't believe that exists." You just swim out there, it's less than 100 yards. It's only 40-to-45-feet deep so you can dive down to everything. It's one of the most otherworldly places that's also super-accessible considering you have to fly down to the island. You can dive into these lava caves and swim through these massive swarms of minnows, and they would part right around you, so you couldn't see anything but this black cloud. It was crazy.
I'm a lobster bisque aficionado. I'm not going to go to the Ugly Tuna Saloona and try their lobster bisque, but if I'm in a nice place, I'll try it anywhere and everywhere. Bon Vie is the best. To get very specific, in the fall or early winter, when it's cold but not too cold, I'll be traveling around Easton while I'm doing some Christmas shopping, pop into Bon Vie where it's warm and get lobster bisque. It's cheesier, creamier, it's not as watered down, it's not too lobster-y - it's the best lobster bisque in the world.
The first memory I have of the Olympics is from 1992, and I was born in '84, so I was pretty young at the time. I remember I had insomnia or just couldn't sleep for whatever reason, and I was young enough that school didn't matter. I remember waking up at 3:30-4 in the morning, and I would watch it for hours. I had no idea what was going on, other than I knew who the U.S. people were, and I remember watching the alpine skiing and cheering for the next person to beat the previous time. That's how I got into the Olympics. The Olympics is the one single uniting thing I think the world has, where every country can come together and support each other while they're competing against each other. The entire world stops and pauses to follow something. I should be more of a winter Olympics fan, since that was my birth into what I do for a living, but summer's the way to go. The summer's bigger, more grandiose. An Olympic moment from 20 years ago, people can remember where they were when it happened. This year, I know some of the ice luge athletes, I've met them, I've worn their uniforms before. To watch it live, you forget that everybody is watching this live. We watch the Super Bowl here and it's a big deal, but everyone else in the world could care less. You can't not get emotional when someone wins a medal, even if it's someone you've never met in a sport you've never heard of. I teared up at almost every medal ceremony I saw, our athletes or not. They're so emotional you just can't not get behind them.