USA Luge USA Luge athletes to...

USA Luge athletes to wear helmets painted by Jon Wooten for 3rd consecutive Olympics

Jan. 09, 2014, 11:20 a.m. (ET)

- When the men's singles event kicks off six days of luge competition in Sochi, Russia on February 8, 2014, the athletes of USA Luge will be wearing helmets painted by Jon Wooten.

Wooten of Williamsburg, Va., first painted the helmets worn by bobsled athletes Jean Racine and Gea Johnson at the 2002 Olympic Games. His work attracted the eye of the U.S. Luge Team and Wooten has painted every Olympic team helmet since 2006.This year's helmet designs, created by Dow Chemical and Valiant Entertainment, were chosen by the public during an online vote to determine the look of the 2014 team heading to Sochi. The helmets came to Wooten as kevlar shells with no padding or chin strapping. “Ninety percent of my time was masking and preparing for the helmets to be painted,” said Wooten, who ran his own custom paint shop prior to working for Big Top Entertainment as the company’s art director. “The process was fairly straight forward, was done all by hand using Sherwin-Williams paint and took about six hours per helmet.

”After the paint job was completed, Dan DiSalvo, a teacher at New Horizons Regional Education Center in Hampton Va., applied the protective clear coating to the helmets.“It was a coalition of many to get this done and there's no way I could have done this myself,” said Wooten. “It's always a privilege and an honor to work with the USA Luge Team.”“USA Luge is extremely proud to have Jon painting our helmets once again,” said Gordy Sheer, the organization’s director of marketing and sponsorship. “The beauty, craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail put forth are world-class and we sincerely appreciate the countless hours spent on this project.”

Jon Wooten, who continues to paint helmets, motorcycles and much more in his free time, can be reached at (575) 866-8991.