Skeleton Olympic Spirit Lives on Long Island

Smithtown man qualifies for Olympics

By Roseanne Colletti
|  Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010  |  Updated 7:30 PM EDT
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Skeleton Olympic Spirit Lives on Long Island

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WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 17: The Whistler Sliding Centre is seen on February 17, 2009 in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The Whistler Sliding Centre is a competition venue where the Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge events will take place during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games being held February 12-28, 2010. (Photo by Kim Stallknecht/Getty Images)

Heck of a moment for John Daly's cellphone service to drop out. He couldn't even call his parents in Smithtown, New York to tell them he qualified for the U.S. Olympic skeleton team.

"I tingled all over my body. I was speechless for a while. I thought it was a dream I was going to wake up from," said the 24 year-old athlete. We spoke with him via satellite in Salt Lake City, where he was grinning from ear to ear and still shaking his head in disbelief.

Daly had been booted from the U.S. World Cup team in December following poor performances in Park City, Utah, Lake Placid, New York, Italy and Germany. "I said I can do much better and I'm going to show them I belong on the Olympic team," he recounted.

Proof was in the performance and Daly won his next five races in Lake Placid and Calcary, Canada. If he wins in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup competition, he will have a perfect record for the second half of the season. He now has the number three spot on the U.S. skeleton team, joining Eric Bernotas of Avondale, Pa., and Zach Lund of Salt Lake City.

Daly's dad Jim is a retired New York City firefighter, his mother Bernice a nurse at Smithtown's St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center. He graduated from Smithtown High School and chose SUNY Plattsburgh for college so he could combine track and field with sliding.

Sliding is another word for skeleton racing and both terms mean flying down mountains face-first on a metal and fiberglass board at speeds pinning past 85-miles per hour. "I've hit 141 killometers, " said Daly.That's 87.6133 miles per hour to be exact.

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