Max Storey won't be in Sochi for the Olympic Games beginning this weekend, but the Ottawa resident will be watching the sliding track he helped put together.
Storey was the project manager for the Sanki Sliding Center, the 1,500-metre-long bobsled, luge and skeleton track located about 60 km northeast of Sochi, Russia at the Alpika Service Mountain Ski Resort.
"It's been part of my life since 2006. It's really neat, I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks on television," said Storey.
Storey has the sport in his blood. His father Bob has been involved as an athlete, coach and administrator in bobsleigh for decades. Max is also involved beyond design, and is the president of the Ontario Bobsleigh Skeleton Association.
He began the work on the project eight years ago but has had a few reverses along the way. In 2009 the Sochi organizers changed the venue due to environmental concerns with the original site, forcing an overhaul in the design.
Sanki Sliding Center by the numbers
Competition length: 1,384 to 1,500 m.
Number of curves: 8.
Start elevation: 836 m.
Vertical drop: 131.9 m.
Finish elevation: 711.5 m.
(source: ISC/IBG Group)
Then, in 2010, following the death of Republic of Georgia luge racer Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Whistler sliding track, the international sporting bodies and the IOC recommended a number of extra protections.
But Storey said the shape of the mountain meant the Sanki slide was never going to produce the speeds reached at Whistler.
"It's kind of like a golf course, you can move some things around a little bit but you take what the terrain gives you," said Storey.
He's happy with the results.
"It's a very technically challenging track meaning that timing mistakes will be the difference between getting on the podium and not," he said.
While Storey won't be in Sochi for the Games, he visited the area more than 40 times as he worked with area construction crews and project managers.
He said he came away with a lot of respect for Russian construction companies and Russian people in general.
"You can't overlook the fact that what they have done over there to transform the place is incredible," said Storey.