Athletes deliberately slowed down: sledders changed rules at short notice after the weather chaos

Athletes deliberately slowed down
Tobogganers change rules at short notice due to weather chaos

Because of the worsening track due to the weather, it was recently worth deliberately driving poorly in the Toboggan World Cup. The world association wants to prevent this from happening again. Therefore, the usual starting order will be changed once.

After the capricious weather of the past few weeks, the World Luge Federation (FIL) has reacted and adapted the procedure for the upcoming World Cup in Oberhof. Softer ice had repeatedly caused chaotic shifts in the rankings and significant disadvantages for the strongest athletes. “In view of the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday and the associated uncertainty regarding consistently fair track conditions,” “the starting order will be adjusted once,” says the FIL statement.

In Oberhof, where racing took place last weekend, two measures are intended to remedy the situation: the seeded group no longer starts at the end of the first run, they form the middle of this round. In addition, only 20 starters will take part in the second run instead of the previous 30. Both changes are intended to ensure that the best participants in both runs can get onto the track earlier, which is likely to become slower as time goes on. In Oberhof, temperatures are forecast to be well above freezing.

Last weekend, the rainy weather there caused a particularly severe distortion of competition. Already in the first run, the top tobogganers around world champion Max Langenhan noticed that the track was getting slower by the minute and responded to this with an unusual measure: They slowed down so that they could start as early as possible in the second run. The second round is always completed in reverse order, with the leader entering the lane last.

With this braking tactic, Langenhan ultimately came second last weekend; the victory went to someone who had been even slower in the first run: Kristers Aparjods won from 17th place. “I don’t often criticize, but today you should have thought about it. Whether you don’t let the seeded drivers drive at the front,” Felix Loch had said immediately after the race, he had finished seventh: “It’s a bit ridiculous if you have to brake in the first run in order to have a good one in the second run to have a starting position.”

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