Athletes from small and emerging IBSF nations top BMW IBSF World Cup and European Championships
St. Moritz (RWH) The women's skeleton race at the BMW IBSF World Cup in St. Moritz went down in the sporting history books with the first World Cup victory for an Australian and the first European Championship title and overall World Cup victory for the Netherlands.
The result also underlines the success of the IBSF development programme of recent years: World Cup winner Jaclyn Narracott (AUS) as well as European Champion and overall winner Kimberley Bos (NED) come from nations without their own ice track and the associated training infrastructure. It is precisely such nations and their athletes that are supported by the IBSF Development Programme, whose budget increased from 150,000 euros annually to 530,000 euros per year over the last two Olympic cycles.
Kim Meylemans from Belgium was also successful in the Olympic winter. Her country's only skeleton athlete in the World Cup celebrated the first podium finish for Belgium in Innsbruck (AUT) in November 2021 in third place. The 25-year-old finished five of her six races in the top six.
Nicole Silveira from Brazil, another athlete from the circle of the so-called small and emerging nations, won the overall ranking in the IBSF North American Cup, two races to the IBSF Intercontinental Cup and finished in the top ten for the first time at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Altenberg (GER) in December 2021.
All four athletes earned a quota spot for their nation at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Less than four weeks before the Olympic race of the skeleton athletes at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, athletes from seven nations - AUS, NED, CAN, AUT, ITA, USA, GER - placed in the top ten at the World Cup final in St. Moritz. This is how international it was in women's skeleton throughout the entire Olympic season: in four of the races seven nations finished in the top ten, in four others even eight. Athletes from three different nations always made it onto the podium.
The IBSF development programme with coordinator Manfred Maier supports nations with small teams of athletes in the IBSF disciplines and without top placings. To offer these nations the best possible opportunities and to promote bobsleigh and skeleton worldwide, the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation employs a team of coaches and provides training time and financial support.
"On the one hand, our aim is to offer the athletes the best possible training conditions and, on the other, to provide them with sustainable support so that they can pass on the knowledge we have passed on to subsequent athletes," says IBSF President Ivo Ferriani, "In addition, many of the athletes benefit from the IOC Olympic Solidarity Programme, which gives them additional support on their way to the Olympics."
Ten bobsleigh teams and four skeleton athletes from a total of ten nations took part in the first event of the 2021/2022 development programme in Lake Placid (USA). The athletes from Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Denmark, Ghana, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Vietnam were accompanied by IBSF Development Coaches Bryan Berghorn and Nick Vienneau as well as Nicola Minichiello, the North American Cup and Intercontinental Cup Coordinator. ©RWH2022
IBSF | Development
Photos: IBSF/Viesturs Lacis