Königssee in Germany has replaced Sochi as host of the 2017 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships, it has been confirmed.
The decision was announced by the IBSF today following the Russian coastal resort being stripped of the flagship event last week amid the McLaren report’s evidence of state sponsored doping in the country.
Königssee will play host from February 13 to 26, the same time frame initially proposed for the event in the 2014 Winter Olympic host.
A World Cup leg is still scheduled to also take place there the previous month, from January 27 to 29.
The Bavarian resort hosted the flagship World Championships event in 1979, 1986, 1990 – for men’s skeleton events only – 2004 and 2011, when they stepped-in to replace initial choice Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy.
Four “critical factors” were taken into consideration by the IBSF when making the decision.
These were “minimal financial impact on teams regarding travel and organization,” “keep the dates and timing of the original schedule,” “experience on the operational and logistic level to host a two-week event at such a short notice” and “availability of the track during the two-week time period.”
The governing body added: “The IBSF was very impressed by the solidarity and commitment shown immediately by the IBSF race organizers to support this effort in any possible way and would like to express its gratitude for it.
“Most of the teams will be racing in Europe on the BMW IBSF World Cup Series just prior to participating in the BMW IBSF World Championships.
“Therefore, a European track was prioritized.”
Evidence published in the McLaren report suggests more than 1,000 Russian athletes are implicated, including medal winners in sliding sports at Sochi 2014.
The IBSF Executive Committee duly felt that “during this difficult time it is prudent not to organize such an event in Russia.”
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Moscow Laboratory who has since left Russia and worked with McLaren investigators to expose wrongdoing, told the New York Times in May that those whose samples were illegally manipulated at Sochi 2014 included gold medal winning bobsledder Alexander Zubkov and skeleton star Alexander Tretiakov.
Zubkov claimed two and four-man bobsleigh titles at his home Games and has since been elected head of the Russian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (RBSF).
Tretiakov won the men’s skeleton World Cup event in Lake Placid on Saturday (December 17) and the Olympic title in Sochi.
The RBSF claimed to have “accepted” the decision to strip them of the event but criticism has since grown elsewhere within the country.
Zubkov, however, has promised that they will not consider boycotting the event in Germany.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.