Lake Placid will not play host to any major international sliding events this winter, after the International Luge Federation said Wednesday it will not hold a World Cup competition there because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The upstate New York village was supposed to host a luge World Cup in mid-January. It will now be held in Oberhof, Germany, meaning the entire sliding-sports season will be held in Europe and Asia — skipping North America entirely.
The FIL’s decision came one day after Lake Placid lost this winter’s bobsled and skeleton world championships amid the same worries. They were moved to Altenberg, Germany, and Lake Placid will be awarded the championships in 2025 instead.
The primary issue in both situations was the likelihood that athletes coming into the U.S. would be forced to quarantine for 14 days because of New York’s policies for minimizing risk of the coronavirus.
“We have now entered different times, and must consider safety first,” USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy said. “The coronavirus, in conjunction with the 14-day mandatory quarantine associated with it, dictated the FIL’s decision. It saddens us to lose our only home race, but we understand that we all are trying to navigate in very unprecedented times.”
Other concerns for organizers included whether athletes from other countries would be able — or even willing — to come to the U.S. this winter, and if fans would be allowed at Mount Van Hoevenberg, the site of Lake Placid’s track.
Park City, Utah, also lost a World Cup bobsled and skeleton race this season, and Canada was to have played host to the luge world championships in February. Those events have since been moved or scrubbed over coronavirus concerns, as were alpine skiing and speed skating events in both the U.S. and Canada.
Lake Placid will likely be a candidate to play host to World Cups again in the 2021-22 season, one that will lead to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.