USA to Sit Out First Half of 2020/2021 IBSF Season

From Lake Placid, USA

(Sept. 30, 2020) – USA Bobsled/Skeleton announced on Wednesday that they will effectively sit out of the first half of the 2020/2021 IBSF season to ensure the safety of their athletes.

Earlier in the month, the IBSF made changes to the season’s calendar due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and in doing so moved the entire schedule to Europe. In an effort to minimize the amount of traveling done by the American athletes, the US federation made the decision to both sit out of the first few races in Europe and push back their national trials dates.

USA Bobsled/Skeleton national trials will now take place in Lake Placid beginning on November 19 and 20 following a roughly two week training period. After a break for Thanksgiving, the team will head to Park City for another two weeks of training followed by another round of team trials. The USA Bobsled/Skeleton National Team will be announced on December 16.

Once announced, the World Cup team will, as the current schedule reads, head to Winterberg for the January 8-10 races before heading to St. Moritz and then Königssee prior to World Championships in Altenberg (moved from Lake Placid for COVID-reasons). From there, the team will travel to Yanqing for the final World Cup event, a test event on the 2022 Olympic track.

The IBSF World Cup season will kick off on the weekend of November 20 in Sigulda. After two weekends in Sigulda the tour will move to Igls for another two weekends prior to the Christmas break.

The USA’s Intercontinental Cup team will likely just miss the first races in Königssee before joining the tour in Pyeongchang after New Years. The ICC tour is currently scheduled to then go onto Igls. For European Cup, the pre-New Years bobsled races are scheduled for Winterberg and Sigulda in the 2020 part of the season, while the EC skeleton athletes will start in Königssee before joining their bobsled teammates in Sigulda.

As the schedule is currently written, North American Cup is a giant “TBD”.

The full USABS release is below:

USA Bobsled/Skeleton opts out of first half to ensure athlete safety

Lake Placid, N.Y. (September 30, 2020)- USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) coaches and staff have announced the team’s plan for the upcoming 2020-2021 season following the calendar update from the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF). The IBSF made adjustments to the calendar due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to protect the health of athletes and organizers. The safety of athletes, coaches, and staff are USABS’ top priority. In order to minimize travel, reduce quarantine periods, and provide the safest environment possible, the U.S. team will not be competing in Europe for the first half of the season.

The season is expected to kick off for the U.S. team on November 1st in Lake Placid, which was originally scheduled to be the host site of the 2021 World Championships. The IBSF moved the 2021 World Championships to Altenberg, Germany, and Lake Placid will now host in the lead-up to the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in 2025. 

“We are taking every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of our athletes, coaches, and staff members, which means we will not be traveling to Europe for at least the first half of the season,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “We will be utilizing our home tracks to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19. We are fortunate to have two world class facilities in our country that we can train and compete on this season.”

The tentative USABS team trials schedule is as follows, with times to be announced at a later date:

November 2-18: Training in Lake Placid
November 19: Women’s, two-man bobsled, and skeleton trials race #1 in Lake Placid
November 20: Women’s bobsled and skeleton trials race #2, and four-man bobsled race #1 in Lake Placid
November 21-28: Thanksgiving break
November 30-December 12: Training in Park City
December 13: Women’s bobsled trials race #3 in Park City
December 14: Two-man bobsled race #2, skeleton race #3, and women’s bobsled trials race #4 in Park City
December 15: Four-man bobsled race #2, skeleton trials race #4, and women’s monobob exhibition race in Park City
December 16: USABS National Team named