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After a serious accident: Swiss Bobsleigh Association demands consequences

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After a serious accident: Swiss Bobsleigh Association demands consequences

As of: February 27, 2024 9:25 a.m

The world‘s best bobsleigh pilots are in the middle of the season’s highlight. After the World Championship races in the two-man race last weekend, gold in the four-man race will be on the line on Saturday and Sunday. For the Swiss Bobsleigh Association Swiss Sliding, the World Championships are just a secondary matter.

Yes, it’s the World Cup. But that has taken a back seat for the bobsleigh team from Switzerland. Rather, the association is concerned with how sport can become safer in the future. After the serious fall of the four-man bobsleigh in Altenberg, the Swiss are calling for the establishment of a safety commission and the appointment of a safety delegate.

Independent experts for more security

“The greatest possible protection of athletes must be the highest priority for a world racing association,” said Swiss Sliding President Sepp Kubli in a press release on Monday. He calls for independent experts in this committee from various areas such as technology, materials, track construction and medicine, as well as an athlete representative. In addition, a permanent delegate for security issues should be on site. “It’s not enough for us to be assured that we’re taking care of it,” said Kubli, who suggested the former world-class pilot and materials expert Christian Reich.

According to the Swiss, who had to fear for the life of the seriously injured pusher Sandro Michel for a long time after the serious training crash on February 13th in Altenberg, the safety risks that led to the accident in Altenberg had been known “for years without the IBSF taking sufficient measures has”. The required safety commission is to be decided at the annual congress of the world association in Lake Placid in June.

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Michel back in Switzerland after three operations

Pusher Michel suffered serious injuries to his chest and pelvic area when his world-class pilot Michael Vogt fell. The 210-kilogram sled, with three crew members weighing a good 100 kilograms, slid uncontrollably back onto the track from the ascending target curve and hit Michel, who was ejected and lying down, with full force.

Michel has now been returned to Switzerland after three operations. Pilot Vogt, who was unconscious himself and barely remembered, would like to visit his pushman in the next few days. “Fortunately, I was able to talk to him on the phone once, he still had a lot of painkillers in him. It was good for me personally that he was doing well and that the worst was prevented,” said Vogt.

Lochner’s fall ends more lightly

The German pilot Johannes Lochner also made unpleasant acquaintances with the train in Altenberg. However, the Bavarian escaped lightly from his training fall; his pusher Erec Bruckert spent a night in the hospital with a mild concussion.

“That was a fall that I didn’t see coming at all,” said Lochner, describing the incident in BR. “Normally, when you realize that you are wrong, you can still react and correct it a little. But that wasn’t the case in this case.” It took Lochner a few seconds to realize: “Oh shit, we’re lying now.”

Fall like a little fight for survival

Falling in the ice rink feels similar to a car accident, says Lochner, “except that a car accident is usually over after the impact. With us, if something bad happens, it lasts for a minute.” During this time you are completely at the mercy of the ice, you have to stay in the bobsleigh, hide and make yourself as small as possible. “You’re really in a little fight for survival to stay as small as possible in the bob and somehow not get any part of your body on the ice,” said Lochner.

Bobsleigh World Cup in Winterberg Schedule Bobsleigh World Cup March 1st, 3 p.m. Two-man bobsleigh women 1st & 2nd run March 2nd, 10 a.m. Four-man bobsleigh men 1st & 2nd run March 2nd, 2.30 p.m. Two-man bobsleigh women 3rd & 4th Run March 3rd, 2 p.m. Four-man bobsleigh men 3rd & 4th run

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