2020-2021 World Cup luge season to proceed without Lake Placid as FIL moves races to Oberhof
FIL officials cite uncertain travel and 14-day quarantine period as reasons for removal
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. The International Luge Federation (FIL) made it official Wednesday: there will be no World Cup racing this winter in Lake Placid.
The three days of action were set for January 15-17, 2021 on the demanding Mount Van Hoevenberg track. FIL officials cited the uncertainty of international travel and the mandatory quarantine period for foreign athletes as the reasons for removing the luge races from a village that has been an annual stop on the World Cup tour the past six years. Oberhof, Germany has been awarded Lake Placid’s races. Two weeks ago, when the FIL made a similar decision with the 2021 World Championships in Whistler, B.C., set to follow Lake Placid on the original schedule, it lessened the local community’s chances of remaining on the slate.
“A season highlight every year is hosting a World Cup event in Lake Placid with ORDA and the FIL,” said Jim Leahy, USA Luge CEO and Executive Director. “It provides great visibility in the U.S. for the sport, our athletes and organization, as well as the Adirondack region. But we have now entered different times, and must consider safety first. The coronavirus, in conjunction with the 14-day mandatory quarantine associated with it, dictated the FIL’s decision. It saddens us to lose our only home race, but we understand that we all are trying to navigate in very unprecedented times. We look forward to working with our partners to host future World Cups on U.S. soil.”
“The FIL Executive Board very much regrets the transfer of the Eberspacher World Cup from Lake Placid to Oberhof,” said Christoph Schweiger, FIL Executive Director. “Due to the legal requirements of the U.S. State of New York (two-week quarantine), a World Cup in Lake Placid is unfortunately not possible. We thank the American federation for their great efforts to make the World Cup possible. We are very happy that Oberhof has agreed to host a second event in the framework of the Eberspacher World Cup series next winter.”
The New York Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages and promotes the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic venues, was especially keen to host events this winter to introduce the world to the massive renovations and upgrades at the Olympic Sports Complex, courtesy of significant investments from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Nevertheless, USA Luge’s various teams at all levels will train at Mount Van Hoevenberg throughout the 2020-2021 winter season.
On Monday, the international federation approved a reimagined World Cup and World Championship schedule for the coming season, the result of the coronavirus. The campaign opens Thanksgiving weekend in Igls, Austria, and later in the season, returns to that site which hosted the 1964 and 1976 Olympic luge competitions. German tracks in Koenigssee and Oberhof will also see the world’s fastest athletes visiting twice. Koenigssee will host a World Cup weekend as well as the transplanted World Championships that originally belonged to Whistler. Oberhof will conduct a pair of World Cup meets.
The pre-Olympic World Cup in Beijing, which doubles as the mandatory test of the track and venue prior to a Winter Games, will close the season. World Cup athletes will spend several weeks at the Olympic site to homologate (certify) the course, and take the needed amount of training runs to get comfortable on this brand-new layout.
With this updated schedule now in place, USA Luge’s course of action will be decided in the coming weeks with input from all stakeholders. The organization’s leadership, athletes and staff will consider the safest course of action in entering competition.
For more information on the Fastest Sport on Ice®, log on to www.usaluge.org
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