Test plans for Chinese sliding track still on, but amended

July 24, 2020 GMT

Plans to certify the new track built for bobsled, skeleton and luge at the 2022 Beijing Olympics are still on track for this fall, though only Chinese athletes will take part.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation told national federations that it was following the recommendation of Chinese organizers, because it remains unclear if foreign athletes would be allowed -- or even willing -- to go there this fall for the testing process known as homologation.

Sliding officials from the IBSF will attend and distribute video to national teams, and International Luge Federation officials are expected to do the same. A handful of U.S. sliders were invited to the homologation, which was supposed to take place in the spring but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China.

National federations around the world were told of the decision in a memo, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

A homologation event is standard for any newly built track. It must be completed before the FIL and IBSF officially approve the track as safe for racing. Typically, sliders from many nations attend to test the track and offer feedback.

For now, the World Cup bobsled-skeleton and luge seasons still have full and unchanged schedules. The world championships for bobsled and skeleton are scheduled to be held in Lake Placid, New York; the luge world championships will take place in Whistler, Britosh Columbia.

But the IBSF, which is in the process of coming up with new event guidelines to promote athlete safety and is insisting that each national federation do the same, cautioned that this season’s calendar could change.

“The overall situation on the development of the COVID-19 pandemic is being monitored very closely and the IBSF Executive Committee will announce any adjustments to the calendar (if applicable) on 15th of September 2020,” read a portion of the memo.

The World Cup sliding seasons in all three sports are scheduled to begin in late November.