The Canadian bobsled team is dealing with a coronavirus problem, announcing Wednesday that 10 sliders and three staff members have been placed into health and safety protocols.
That announcement came two days before the start of a World Cup sliding weekend in Sigulda, Latvia. Only two Canadian sleds — one driven by Justin Kripps, the other by Christine de Bruin — have been part of training runs this week leading into that World Cup, based on results distributed by the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
Canada has typically had three women’s and two men’s bobsleds in World Cup events this season.
“The health and safety of all athletes, teams, staff and communities where we live, train and compete is always our first priority,” read a statement from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, the sport’s national governing body. ”(We have) robust health and safety protocols in place under the guidance of federal, provincial, and local public health officials that we continue to follow in our return to sport.”
The Canadian federation did not reveal names of anyone in the protocols, citing privacy concerns.
The news comes at a particularly difficult time in the schedule. Not only are the Beijing Games now about five weeks away, but countries are allocated starting spots for those Olympics — and largely pick their teams — based on the World Cup standings. Missing races this weekend could make it more challenging for some athletes to make the Canadian Olympic team.
Canada’s bobsled team had spent the holiday break in Latvia to minimize travel. The affected sliders and staff are in quarantine.
USA Bobsled and Skeleton is not believed to be dealing with virus issues entering this weekend’s resumption of the World Cup season. The only American bobsled driver who has been on the World Cup circuit this season and not competing this weekend is Kaillie Humphries, who had long planned to skip Sigulda for an extended holiday break.
Elana Meyers Taylor, Hunter Church and Codie Bascue are all driving for the U.S. this weekend, as usual.