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Sochi Olympics: 3 North Carolina Connections

Charleston Forge table featured on Sochi Olympic set
Charleston Forge

Do the Olympics seem far away? N0t many North Carolinians are competing. (Before the games, we told you about speed skater Heather Richardson, but her games were a bust.) And with no hometown heroes to cheer on, well, humph.

But then, with the swell of the Olympic theme...seemingly from nowhere....we find these three local connections to the world-wide games.

1. Handmade in Boone, NC-Made Table Dresses Up Set

"Just think, of all the furniture that is made in this world and posted on the worldwide web, our simple round table was selected, and shows up on the Olympics coverage every single night. Pretty amazing!"

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Art Barber, co-owner and president of Charleston Forge had no idea that the table would be featured until he saw it himself on TV. He says he jumped up, grabbed his Ipad and started taking pictures of the screen. He needn't have worried. The table has been a fixture on the set throughout the games. He told the paper: “Small company in North Carolina mountains lands American-made table in the Olympics. It just goes to show the huge amount of support there is out there for American-made products."

2. Mooresville Company Delivers Carbon Fiber Technology To U.S. Bobsled And Skeleton Racers

Hans Debot started his company daBotech, in his garage. He adapts carbon fiber technology for NASCAR and the military. He built his first bobsled in 2002. The Charlotte Observer writes that the Olympians have been very happy with their new gear:

“For 24 years I’ve been in the sport, and we always felt like we were always behind,” Mike Kohn, assistant coach for Team USA’s men’s bobsled team, said in a phone interview from Sochi. “We had to hope the Germans made a mistake.” Now it’s different, said Kohn, a former Olympic bobsledder. “For the first time, I had one of the German (guys) I used to compete with say, ‘You guys are the team to beat. ... You have superior equipment. We have to hope you make a mistake.’ ”

3. Bum, Bum, Bah-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum... Olympic Theme Composer

The composer of the well-known Olympic theme spent his final years in Yadkin County. Leon Arnaud was born in France, and emigrated to the U.S. in the 1930's. Arnaud worked in Hollywood, before composing the song which would become the basis of the Olympic Medley, "Bugler's Dream." Here's how IMDb tells the story of the song:

In 1958, conductor Felix Slatkin commissioned him to compose a piece for Slatkin's 1958 album, "Charge!" As a result of this commission, he composed "The Charge Suite," which includes "Bugler's Dream." In 1968, representatives from ABC heard "Bugler's Dream," and they wanted to use this piece for the ABC TV coverage of the Olympics. The composer and music publisher agreed, and ABC - and later - NBC network broadcasts of the Olympics have used the piece ever since. Consequently, this piece has been known by its original name ("Bugler's Dream") and its nickname ("Olympic Fanfare").

Arnaud's wife was a North Carolina native. He is reportedly buried at Asbury United Methodist Church in Hamptonville, North Carolina.

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
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