(Reuters) – USA Luge said on Monday it will sit out four World Cup events in Europe later this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak and will resume international competition at some point in 2021.
Citing athlete and staff safety, USA Luge will forego events scheduled in Austria and Germany between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20.
“We are a group that’s geared and motivated by racing, so to take this action is disappointing,” USA Luge chief executive Jim Leahy said in a news release.
“We believe that staying in the U.S. until the end of the calendar year is our safest course of action.”
The U.S. squad will train on home ice and plans to depart for Europe in the final week of December. The season features nine World Cup events and the Jan. 29-31 world championships in Koenigssee.
“This is certainly not the schedule that we envisioned, but it’s one that has been thrust upon us,” said USA Luge head coach Robert Fegg.
“In the short term, we are anxious to return to sliding and getting as many runs in as possible prior to heading overseas.”
The decision follows a similar move by USA Bobsled and Skeleton who announced last week that they would not send athletes to Europe for at least the first half of the World Cup sliding season.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)