IBSF celebrates centenary

IBSF celebrates centenary

The International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) celebrates its 100th birthday today.

Great Britain was one of the founding members of the organisation originally known as the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (FIBT) when it was established in Paris on November 23rd 1923.

Delegates from these shores were joined by those from France, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America in setting up an international federation to facilitate the introduction of bobsleigh to the 1924 Olympic Winter Games.

A century on and the next edition of the Olympics will feature seven disciplines rather than the sole 4-man Bobsleigh event staged in Chamonix a year after the formation of the FIBT. Great Britain won silver in that maiden Olympic event, with Ralph Broome, Thomas Arnold, Alexander Richardson and Rodney Soher making the podium in France, and Olympic medals have since followed across both bobsleigh and skeleton in 1928, ‘36, ‘48, ‘64, ‘98, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 (x2) and 2018 (x3).

GB athletes have tasted significant success at all levels of IBSF competition, including World and European Championships; Junior World and European Championships; individual World Cup and Overall World Cup; Intercontinental Cup; Europa Cup; North American Cup; Para World and European Championships; Para individual World Cup and Overall World Cup; Youth Olympic Winter Games; and Youth Series events across Asia, Europe and North America, with last season seeing our teams bring more than 80 medals back to the UK.

“We are delighted to celebrate today with you the 100th anniversary. This means that 100 years of sporting history are behind us,” said IBSF President, Ivo Ferriani, who is confident that the organisation will continue to thrive over the next century.

“This sport allowed me to meet people from other cultures and countries. It taught me humility and respect. A day of success can be very quickly followed by defeat, with the certainty that one must never give up, so that very soon progress will be seen again. 

“What challenges do we face? The fast pace of life and the wide range of opportunities available to young generations pose challenges for the sport in general. How do we manage to convince young people to take up sport, to keep them enthusiastic for years, to motivate them with the goal of participating in a World Championship or even the Winter Olympics? We will have to ask ourselves all these questions. But I am deeply convinced that together we will master the challenges of the next 100 years, so that many, many generations will still be able to enjoy our wonderful sports, and lifelong connections and friendships will develop beyond sports.” 

A total of 74 nations are now members of the IBSF, with six of the seven continents represented represented and more than 1,100 athletes registered.

To mark the anniversary, a 250-page book featuring stories about both sports is being published by the IBSF today, while the federation’s website and social media channels will be sharing archive footage, photos and memories throughout the coming months.