Skeleton Olympic team event welcomed
British Skeleton’s Performance Director, Natalie Dunman, says the decision to include a mixed team event at the Milan Cortina Olympic Winter Games is a positive move for the sport.
Dunman was speaking after the International Olympic Committee announced that the same team concept that has been included at the last two editions of the IBSF World Championships will be added to the Olympic schedule in four years’ time.
One male and one female athlete from those already representing their countries at the Games will team up, with their combined times deciding their final placings, just as they do in the individual versions of the sport.
“We’re really pleased with this decision and see it as a step forward for the sport as a whole,” said Dunman.
“We saw women’s monobob added to the Olympic calendar in Beijing this year so it’s great to see another skeleton event being included for the next Games now, too, and we thank the IBSF for their efforts in getting this concept across the line with the IOC.
The team competition has been a popular addition to the World Championship schedule and it’s exciting to see it now added to what is the biggest event in our sport. The Olympics is by far the best opportunity to showcase the sport of skeleton so I think we’d all say that having another means of doing that has to be a good thing.
“It’s fun to watch as well so it should appeal to fans watching live and on TV. You generally get plenty of drama in team events and I’m sure that will add to the spectacle in Milan Cortina. It’s important we grow the sport and this is a step in the right direction.
“We’ve all seen the success of the addition of the mixed team relay formats to the Summer Games in swimming, triathlon and athletics and we’re excited that skeleton also has the opportunity to compete in a mixed team format on the biggest stage of all.”
The skeleton team event will make its Olympic debut in four years' time
The skeleton mixed team concept is a relatively new one, having only replaced the combined bobsleigh and skeleton team event that used to feature at World Championship level in 2020.
It was one of eight new events accepted by the IOC for the Milan Cortina Games from a total of 23 put forward by five of the seven Olympic Winter International Federations.
Great Britain finished fourth in each of the two instalments of team races at the World Championships in Altenberg in the years preceding the Beijing Olympics.
"We've enjoyed our experiences of the team event so far," added Dunman.
We’ve come close to a medal at each of the last two World Championships since the event was introduced in its current format so we view it as another opportunity to do well in Milan Cortina.
“We’ve got a good crop of athletes and, although we were disappointed with our results in Beijing, we’re confident we can go well in 2026. I know that the athletes themselves are delighted that they will have an extra opportunity to try and win an Olympic medal.”