The Executive Board of the International Luge Federation, with the support of the Canadian Luge Association, has decided to cancel the 2021 World Championships scheduled for the Whistler Sliding Centre February 5-7.
The decision was made during a video conference call with executives from each of the two organizations and the Whistler Sliding Centre while following the direction of Canadian medical and government leaders, as well as continued international travel restrictions into the country.
The FIL Executive Board will decide on an alternative venue in the coming weeks.
“On behalf of the FIL Executive Board, I would like to thank the Canadian Luge Association for the enormous commitment in planning and fulfilling legal requirements for our anniversary World Championships. Unfortunately, a proper realization of this major event is not possible under the given conditions and regulations,” said FIL Executive Director Christoph Schweiger, who very much regrets the cancellation.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler are world-leaders in event hosting. The Whistler Sliding Centre previously hosted the Luge World Championships in 2013 where Canadian athletes combined to post four, top-five finishes including a silver and bronze medal in front of the home crowd.
“The Whistler Sliding Centre is known by sliding fans as one of the best tracks in the world. We were excited to bring the best in our sport back to Western Canada. However, over the past few weeks, we have had extensive meetings with all of our key stakeholders, and after weighing all of our options, it has been decided to press pause on hosting the FIL World Championships here in Canada,” said Tim Farstad, Executive Director, Canadian Luge Association.
“The biggest challenge we currently face is a 14-day quarantine for all foreign athletes coming into Canada, which we cannot guarantee will be lifted by February. As a result, the FIL informed us it will not be possible to host the event this year.”
The world-leading sliding sport venue has also played host to multiple luge, bobsleigh and skeleton World Cups events and international development level races. It also hosted 2019 World Championships for bobsleigh and skeleton.
“This is very unfortunate news for our extremely passionate staff and volunteers who have worked so hard on this event, in addition to the entire Canadian Luge Team of athletes and coaches who were looking forward to having a World Championships in our own backyard. While our focus now is on doing our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19, it is our sincere hope that when our borders open for international travel, Canada will host a World Championships in Whistler where the fastest athletes on ice can once again put on an impressive display of sliding in front of a full track of spectators,” added Farstad.