Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton Wins Bid to Host 2019 World Championships in Whistler
Ghent/Belgium: Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton will reunite the world in Whistler once again as the FIBT awarded the Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games with the 2019 World Championships.
“The Whistler Sliding Centre is known by sliding fans as one of the best tracks in the world and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the premiere sliding sport event on the international race calendar in Canada,” said Sarah Storey, president, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, who added the last time Canada hosted the World Championships was in 2005 at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
The announcement was made following a vote held during the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s annual Congress Tuesday in Ghent, Belgium. The Whistler Sliding Centre was up against two of the world’s most historic tracks – St. Moritz, Switzerland and Altenberg, Germany – on the ballet. Canada and Germany’s bids advanced to a second ballet where Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton won with a 20-19 vote.
Storey made the athlete-driven presentation to member nations of the IBSF alongside Roger Soane, president and CEO of Whistler Sport Legacies.
“This high calibre event is exactly what the Whistler Sliding Centre was built for and we are delighted to welcome the world back to Whistler in 2019,” said Soane. “Canada continues to be the model by which the world measures Olympic legacies. Those legacies are only effective if the facilities are being used for training and competition purposes. Working with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, we are going to immediately provide more nations with more access to our track for training preparation to ensure a level playing field in 2019.”
The Canadian bid was backed by the support of the Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia and Resort Municipality of Whistler and all of Canada’s sliding sport athletes including British Columbia natives: two-time Olympic bobsledder Justin Kripps (Summerland, B.C.), and Jane Channell (North Vancouver) who both helped announce Canada’s intent to bid in March.
“Whistler really is a great place to host major international events. From the facilities and services available for athletes, to the track itself and the support of the entire community, it is truly world-leading,” said Kripps, who pushed Pierre Lueders at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and learned to drive on the Whistler track.
The relationship between the Whistler Sliding Centre and skeleton athlete Jane Channell is proof that hosting major international events at home is important for developing unique Olympic sports, which often fly under the radar in Canada. Channell not only made Canada’s World Cup Team this year, but nearly slid onto the podium at the World Championships.
“The 2010 Games inspired me to pursue skeleton. Hosting World Cups and the World Championships here in Whistler will do the same for the next generation of skeleton and bobsleigh athletes,” said Channell. “It’s a great opportunity to share the excitement of racing with Whistler’s truly international community. Be it the Olympics, or an international race at any level, the residents and visitors have showed incredible support of this venue by lining the track each time we race here. The thought of hitting the start line in front of my friends and family, and even potentially winning a medal at home, will be a dream come true.”
In addition to hosting the 2010 Olympics, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton has brought the World Cup to the Whistler Sliding Centre in 2012 and 2011. The venue has also played host to multiple luge World Cups events, the 2013 Luge World Championships and international development level races. The venue is now a medal-generating factory for Canada’s sliding sport athletes at all levels.
It was also made official that Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton will also play host to a World Cup at the Whistler Sliding Centre this season when they welcome the world, February 19-24, 2016.
The Bidding and Hosting Plans department at the Canadian Olympic Committee provided the critical investment required to support Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s bid plan.