By Lori Brown
LIVINGSTON MANOR February 24, 2006 One of Sullivan Countys most well- known dentists, Dr. Don Simkin, recently returned from his trip to the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.
Simkin was in Torino which is Turin in English from the first day of the games, Friday, February 10, through last Friday, February 17. During that time he enjoyed watching luge, figure skating, and speed skating competitions.
Of course, he was always ready to assist the USA teams or their sponsors in any way.
Torino was an amazing city, Simkin commented. It is a great location, as it is rich in culture and history.
He added that just a few towns over, there were beautiful ski slopes.
Simkin believed that everyone should behold this radiant city.
The Manor dentist, who has hosted the Dr. Don Games for local children each summer for several years, has attended eight Olympic Games. Prior to the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Ga., he carried the Olympic torch through Mamaroneck.
Simkin was just one of three people selected to carry the torch in New York State that summer. He was chosen for that honor after being nominated through the United Ways community hero program.
Carrying the torch was such a thrill, he said.
The first time that Simkin saw the sport of luge was when he went to the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Ever since that moment, Simkin was very interested in this sport, and wanted to participate in it. He started sliding in 1986.
Simkin and his 12-year-old son Vinny are members of the Adirondack Luge Club. Vinny has been sliding for three consecutive years and has also been in various competitions. Last year, he won a bronze medal in a luge competition.
This weekend, father and son are going to be competing in the Empire State Games in Lake Placid. Dr. Simkin is hoping that Vinny will earn a spot on the development team, which will lead him to becoming an Olympic hopeful.
Accompanying Simkin on his recent trip to Torino were his wife, Ellen Singer, and two of his friends, Dmitry Feld and Gordie Sheer.
Feld was involved with sliding in his native Yugoslavia, but is currently working in marketing. He has helped many freestyle skiers and luge competitors come to the United States to receive training for the Olympics.
Three years ago, he coordinated an effort to gather a shipment of toothbrushes and dental floss to send to Iraq.
Sheer was the silver medalist in the doubles luge competition at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Simkin, Singer, Feld and Sheer enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics together.
This summer, Simkin plans to again host his Olympic-like Dr. Don Games in Livingston Manor. He has held these games for 11 years and said that he hopes he can continue them every year.