LAKE PLACID - World championship bobsled and skeleton racing is coming to Lake Placid one year sooner than expected.
Lake Placid and the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex track were awarded the 2013 Worlds during the FIBT's 2009 Congress, but switched races with St. Moritz, Switzerland which was scheduled to host the 2012 event.
"The change was primarily made because of team travel to Sochi, Russia for international training in 2013," said Jim Goff, New York State Olympic Regional Development (ORDA) director of events, who attended a meeting in Calgary, Alberta where the decision was made. "The FIBT and its nations felt that it would be easier for the teams to travel to Sochi for Olympic training from St. Moritz rather than from Lake Placid."
As a concession for changing the races, the FIBT awarded Lake Placid World Cup events for 2013 and 2014.
"That was an important part to this change, and the FIBT did everything that they could to make that happen. I applaud them for that," said ORDA president/CEO Ted Blazer. "We wanted to be sure that Lake Placid remained on the World Cup calendar. This organization and everyone at the track is committed to providing the world's best venue for international bobsled and skeleton racing and the international governing body recognizes that."
While the exact dates for the 2012 world championships have not been set, the race is expected to be held in mid-February, 2012 on the 1,455-meter long course. The race's slate will include men's two-man and four-man bobsled events, women's two-person bobsled and men's and women's skeleton action.
Lake Placid has had a long history of hosting world championship bobsled and skeleton racing, dating back to 1949 when the two-time Olympic village hosted the first world championship race held outside of Europe. Most recently, the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex track hosted the 2009 World Championships where U.S. pilot Steve Holcomb claimed the United States first four-man crown since 1959.
"Lake Placid continues to play a major role in the international bobsled community," said Tony Carlino, the venue's general manager. "Year after year these athletes want to return to this track and truly test every ounce of their skills. Although the event is just a year away, everyone at the track is up for the challenge and we'll be ready to host the world again."
Race fans won't have to wait until 2012 to watch these athletes try to tame one of the world's most technically demanding tracks. Instead, the world's best bobsled and skeleton athletes will be in Lake Placid, Dec. 17-19, competing in the Viessmann FIBT World Cup bobsled/skeleton Lake Placid presented by Conceptum Logistics.
The event on the 20-curve course is the final stop on the four-race North American leg that has also taken the athletes back to the 2010 Olympic course in Whistler, British Columbia; Calgary, Canada and Park City, Utah. This event is also the final race before the holiday break and the start of the European swing.
The action begins Friday, Dec. 17, with the men's and women's skeleton events, followed by Saturday's two-man and women's bobsled races. The four-man race is slated for Sunday, Dec. 19.
Daily tickets are available for $8 for adults and $6 juniors and senior citizens. Anyone who brings a non-perishable food item for the Lake Placid Ecumenical food pantry will receive free entry. For tickets call the Olympic Sports Complex at 518-523-4436 or pick them up at the gate on event days.