John Daly and Steve Langton at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony on Feb. 1, 2010.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — John Daly is not nearly as dumb as he appears on the YouTube video series “Your Daly Nitro.” But sitting with roommate/friend/bobsledder/YouTube-partner-in-crime Steve Langton, he’s just as funny.
Daly and Langton are the stars of “Your Daly Nitro” — Nitro being Langton’s nickname. The banter that developed when Langton explained the origin of his nickname illustrates how the two men interact in real life and in front of the camera. Bobsled teammate Justin Olsen dubbed Langton Nitro during their first week of bobsled practice back in 2007.
|Steve Langton pushes John Daly during strength training at a
U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation team camp
“We were at the push track trying to figure out how to make the (bobsled) move, and I was going top speed on every rep,” Langton explained. “He said, ‘You do everything full speed. ‘Nitro,’ that’s you.’”
Nitro — as in nitrous oxide, the gas used for explosive car acceleration in the “Fast & Furious” movie series.
“It’s also because Steve looks like an American Gladiator,” Daly taunted playfully.
Daly, 28, seems to wear a permanent smile and takes every opportunity to make a situation funny, as if he can’t help himself. Quick witted, he’s the kind of guy you’d want to sit next to at a dinner party. Or be stuck with in an elevator.
Langton, 30, is just as quick but plays more the straight man. Abbott to Daly’s Costello, or Martin to Daly’s Lewis.
The idea for the video blog was hatched in April 2013 when they were in West Hollywood at a pre-Olympic photo and video shoot. Since they are good friends and roommates, producers were asking each athlete questions about the other.
“I think they asked why this guy keeps sending them shirtless pictures of himself,” Daly said, laughing. It’s hard to tell if it was a real question or not.
When producers asked if they had any videos of their banter, they decided to try making one.
“We came up with the idea and went with it because it seemed original,” said Langton. “Two Olympians from two different sports have never done something like this. I don’t think it would work if it were two big bobsledders or two small skeleton guys.”
|Steve Langton and John Daly at the 2013 FIBT World Championships
|John Daly and Steve Langton film an episode of "Your Daly Nitro"
|Steve Langton and John Daly show off their USA hockey jerseys - and height difference - at the 2013 U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation national team camp in August 2013.
“Little guys,” Daly jumped in. “Is that what you’re trying to say?”
So was born “Your Daly Nitro.” Their humor is based on the standard straight-guy/zany fool comedic model, with their relative physical size differentials serving as a platform. Langton is 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, and one of the strongest and most powerful bobsledders on Team USA. He can jump straight up over five feet and land on a box, squat over 500 pounds, and he’s pushed Steven Holcomb’s USA-1 two-man and four-man bobsleds to two world championship gold medals.
Daly, at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, is also considered a powerful athlete with one of the fastest starts in the world, but in skeleton, not bobsled. Rather than push a 463-pound bobsled up to speed, he sprints alongside his 95-pound sled, then jumps on face first. He placed fourth in the Sochi World Cup in February, then fifth at the 2013 FIBT World Championships — thanks in part to training every day with Langton in the past year.
In the first few episodes of “Your Daly Nitro,” he insists he is Langton’s physical equivalent, then humorously shows that he’s not, flailing in a box jump that sends him maybe three feet in the air (and possibly from a springboard start), going for a basketball shot as Langton bats the ball from his hands, pushing a bobsled and falling over.
But it’s their banter, with Daly’s role as the buffoon, that steals the show. In one episode, Langton uses the word “synonymous.” Daly thinks he’s talking about “synonymous buns.” In another, Langton suggests they try a vertical test (box jump). Daly repeats “vertical,” then says he’s a Gemini, not a “Vertigo.” A “Gemini Knight.”
Then there’s Judy, a life-size blow-up doll that Langton insisted is NOT his, but then offered: “Her name’s Judy.”
Judy accompanied Daly on the world cup tour last season. He checked into hotels with her under his arm, and once she made it to the starting line. Asked if she will travel to Sochi, Daly said of course, “She’ll be in my suitcase.”
Friends and teammates liked “Your Daly Nitro” so much after watching the first video in May, they decided to keep filming. The series is currently up to eight episodes and counting.
“They have pretty good rapport,” said Holcomb. “They’re both pretty funny. It’s good entertainment. It’s nice to see the lighter side of the bobsled team.”
But Daly and Langton have yet to advertise their antics to bobsled coach Brian Shimer who claimed not to have seen “Your Daly Nitro.”
“I heard about it,” said Shimer, laughing. “I just thought it was some .... I didn’t know it had grown into this.”
Each episode takes about one hour to shoot — with an iPhone perched on a stack of books. Then Daly edits it down to the best three to four minutes. They tried to plan out episodes but said it didn’t work, so now stick with improv.
As for future episodes, Daly thinks they should film Langton trying skeleton.
“Maybe on a flat track with two turns,” said the straight man.
They talked about filming at a local Lake Placid golf course (where Daly might imitate his namesake, golfer John Daly?), or involving teammates.
“I’ve discussed with them how we want to do my episode,” said Holcomb with a straight face.
But Holcomb won’t share the idea. Because if he did, he would have to kill me?
“Yeah, and then they would kill me,” he chuckled, “and we would be out an episode.”
Peggy Shinn is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. This story was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.