Sigulda (RWH) Oskars Melbārdis from Latvia, Olympic Champion in 4-man bobsleigh, is ending his career as an athlete. The 33-year-old announced the decision on his Instagram account. During training in the summer, the bobsleigh pilot had suffered a severe slipped disc. After the necessary surgery, doctors advised him to give up the sport, according to a report by the Latvian Bobsleigh Federation.
Oskars Melbārdis was born in February 1988, a few days before compatriot Jānis Ķipurs, then still competing for the former Soviet Union, won Olympic gold in the 2-man bobsleigh in Calgary. Melbārdis himself won the overall combined rankings in the Bobsleigh World Cup in 2013 and 2015 and took the first World Championships gold in 4-man bobsleigh for Latvia in 2016. He competed in the first of his 162 World Cup races in 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh as push athlete in 2006, stood on the podium 42 times until 2021 and celebrated two victories in the small and twelve in the large sled.
His 4-man bobsleigh gold from Sochi 2014 was presented to Oskars Melbārdis six years later after the disqualification of the then winner - at the 2020 World Cup final in Sigulda and with a festive ceremony in front of several thousand home fans. In addition to his push athletes, coaches and family, the bobsleigh pilot also dedicated his words of farewell to the sport to them: "Dear fans! This decision was not made easily and quickly, but the moment has come when I have to hang up my professional sports shoes. I had a great opportunity to do what I love, to enjoy the sweet taste of victory together with you, but also to experience painful defeats."
"The Latvian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation expresses its greatest appreciation and gratitude to Oskars Melbārdis for dedicating more than half of his life to the sport of bobsleigh!" reads bobslejs.lv. ©RWH2021
>> Press Release bobslejs.lv
Photos: IBSF / Charlie Booker and IBSF / Viesturs Lacis