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Olympic athletes using and training on equipment made in Vermont

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:59 PM EDT
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MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - Starting in 1976, brothers Peter and Dick Dreissigacker started Concept 2. At the time, it was a change in how oars were made for rowing and sculling.

“We were really the first to commercialize a carbon oar,” Peter said.

At the time, most oars were made from wood. Their carbon oars, at first, weren’t well-received.

“I think they were probably laughing at it,” Dick said.

But now these brothers are the ones laughing, as a majority of the Olympic athletes can be seen using their oars at the 2020 Olympics.

“About 93% of the oars being used are from Morrisville, right from here,” Peter said.

But it’s not just the equipment used in the competitions, it’s the training as well.

The RowErg, made to recreate the motion of rowing, has become a staple for training athletes. It evolved from there.

“We found that some skiers were taking the rower and they were standing it up against the wall,” Dick said.

So, they created the SkiErg, which probably came in handy as Dick’s daughters Hannah and Emily were training to become Olympic biathletes. But it has also been a staple for five-time “World’s Fittest Man” and fellow Vermonter Mat Fraser.

“Not only do skiers use it but it’s being used in the CrossFit world and using it in the CrossFit Games,” Dick said.

Soon after came the BikeErg, all equipment you may have used when working out or training yourself, and that wasn’t the intention.

“Our idea originally was not to make a fitness-- not to make a machine for the fitness industry but for training athletes for their particular sports,” Peter explained.

But for now, these brothers making world-class equipment in Vermont are working to improve today’s equipment and athletes.

“Lot of pride, lot of pride,” Peter said. “Both my brother and I and everyone working here.”

Talking about training for skiing, the Winter Olympics are just about 6 months away.

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