U.S. Para Bobsled Team awaits 2026 Paralympics decision

International Paralympic Committee could add para bobsled to program of games in Milano Cortina, Italy

An athlete waits for his monobob to get released at the start of the Mount Van Hoevenberg track in Lake Placid during the 2019 Para Bobsled World Championships. (News photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — Officials from USA Bobsled and Skeleton’s Para National Team are keeping a lookout this week for news on whether para bobsled will be added to the winter Paralympics program for the first time in 2026 as the games are held in Milano Cortina, Italy.

“This is a very exciting week for us because our vote to become an international Paralympic sport should happen this week,” said Kim Seevers, chairperson of the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Para Sliding Sports Committee. Seevers was in Lake Placid this week as five para bobsledders trained at the Olympic Sports Complex’s combined track at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the International Paralympic Committee announced that its 86th IPC Governing Board meeting will take place on Dec. 9-10 and 14-15, with all board members participating via video conference.

“With regards to Milano Cortina 2026, the IPC Governing Board will look to approve the sport programme for the Paralympic Winter Games,” stated a press release. “Seven sports are in contention for inclusion in the Games: Para alpine skiing, Para biathlon, Para bobsleigh, Para cross-country skiing, Para ice hockey, Para snowboard and wheelchair curling.”

In August, the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation announced that it was applying for the inclusion of para bobsled in the program of the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games in Milan/Cortina. A decision was originally expected by the end of September.

Para bobsled athletes take a track walk in February 2020 during a World Cup para bobsled event in Lake Placid.(Provided photo — IBSF)

“Following a six-month stakeholder engagement programme, an updated venue masterplan for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will also be presented for approval,” stated the IPC’s Dec. 8 press release. “This optimised concept allows for budget savings, improved sustainability and adds even greater value to the Paralympic sport programme.”

The IPC said it will “communicate key outcomes from the meeting following its conclusion” on Dec. 15.

The Para Sport World Cup for athletes with disabilities was established at the 2015-16 season. Lonnie Bissonnette of Canada became first para bobsled World Champion in 2016, and Eric Eierdam of the U.S. won in para skeleton.

In IBSF Para Sport, female and male athletes compete on equal terms. The first female World Cup winner in para bobsled was Annija Krumina of Latvia in November 2017. In 2018, Norwegian para bobsled pilot Guro Fronsdal was the first woman to win a World Championships medal, finishing with bronze in Lillehammer.