The myth of the blue sleds, today dt, tells Yanqing on the eve of the start of the World Cup, amid a thousand doubts and restrictions related to Covid
Let’s go. The Olympic luge season begins on Saturday with the first World Cup race: at 9.30 Italian the double, at 12.25 the single, while at 10.55 there will be the women’s single and at 16.35 the relay. It competes in Yanqing, on the same track that will host the Beijing Olympic Games in February. Track of mysteries for everyone, because Covid has prevented, in the last two years, athletes from all over the world from seeing and testing it, and now for this first, fundamental test-event it has imposed very strict security measures, with athletes forced to arrive in China with charters from Frankfurt organized by the IOC and, having arrived there, forced to live between the hotel and the track, with no other possibilities.
Armin Zoeggeler, world sledding legend, today blue dt, arrived in China a week later than the athletes, who have been on site since November 2nd. It was three weeks of training ahead of this weekend’s races. A “Bignami” that all nations have exploited to acquire as much news as possible towards the Olympics. “It is a beautiful, unique track – explains the 47-year-old carabiniere from Foiana -, even pompous, as only the Chinese can do. Technically interesting, it has aspects that make it resemble the one in Vancouver. It is not easy to go fast in all sections. It is beautiful but for athletes it is not easy, because it is different from all the others. But everyone has the problem of adapting ”.
For the debut of the World Cup, Italy will field the pairs Emanuel Rieder-Simon Kainzwaldner and Ivan Nagler-Fabian Malleier in the doubles; in single Dominik Fischnaller – struggling with shoulder discomfort -, his cousin Kevin as well as Lukas Gufler (born in 1999) and Leon Felderer (2000), promoted by the Nations Cup; among the women on Sunday Nina Zoeggeler, Marion Oberhofer and Verena Hofer, all qualified, will join Andrea Voetter. “Dominik and Kevin made a good impression in the first tests – explains the Italian Olympian -, while the doubles struggled, with Nagler-Malleier still faster. It is a track to be studied, there are those who love these situations and those who do not. Austrians and Germans, from this point of view, have adapted better. It is very long, 1600 meters, and we must also adapt to the cold and hard ice that will be felt now as in February. A factor that we may potentially like, but who knows. The athletes are all a bit agitated and we are curious. ”
A bit of agitation, perhaps, is linked to what happened to the Pole Mateusz Sochowicz, who in one of the first training sessions got injured by bumping into a barrier along the track that had to be open but was instead closed. “From what I understand there was a misunderstanding among the staff on which was the start from which the athlete started – says Zoeggeler -. These are things that must not happen and it even went well. The boy broke his leg, he was going about 30-40 km / h, he could have been much worse. And he was good at anticipating the impact and preparing for it. “
November 19, 2021 (change November 19, 2021 | 19:02)
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Tobogganing, season at the start. Zoeggeler: “I’ll tell you about the Olympic track”