Sport Bobsleigh racism scandal: A manufacturer refuses to sell sledges...

Bobsleigh racism scandal: A manufacturer refuses to sell sledges to black athletes


Last week, a US athlete published an open letter on the team’s website about how she faces racism in everyday life and sports. Meyer-Taylor once thought that her achievements in sports would put an end to her skin color, but her experience in bobsleigh has given her new, unpleasant challenges.

“There are only a few manufacturers in Bobsleigh whose sledges may be among the fastest in the world. The US has BMW and other partners who help build sledges, but without them we would have to buy sledges from other builders,” writes Bobsleigh.

She emphasizes that building a bobsleigh sled is a complicated process, and athletes are always looking for the fastest bobsleigh.

“As a black pilot, I can buy sledges from all manufacturers except one that makes some of the fastest bobs in the World Cup. But I wouldn’t do it even if I could,” Meiers-Taylor continues.

The unnamed manufacturer refuses to sell the sled to black pilots, and its representative has made gross racist comments.

“One of those sledges is currently in the US national team’s garage, reminding me every time of a place in this sport for people like me,” says Meyer-Taylor.

A few days after the bobsleighing letter, the IBSF announced that the organisation’s Executive Committee had taken note of the content published therein.

“We approached Ms Meiers-Taylor immediately for more information on the bobsleigh incident. The IBSF has set up a task force to investigate the matter further,” the IBSF said in a statement.

The IBSF emphasizes that it condemns and will not tolerate any form of discrimination. Pending further information from the Working Party, the World Bobsleigh Roof Organization refuses to comment on any of the producers involved.

The name of the producer has not been made public anywhere, but the British bobsleigh player Andrew Matthews on Twitter points out that the German Hanness Wallner, who is one of the best-known sledge builders, has been racist.

Bobsleigh sledge builders include companies in North America, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Japan and elsewhere in the world. Automotive companies BMW and Ferrari also participate in the development of the sled.

Meiers-Taylor, 35, did not start last season due to pregnancy. She is a two-time world champion and has won two silver and bronze medals. The American also has the silver awards of the last two Olympic Games, as well as the bronze won in Vancouver ten years ago.

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Meiers-Taylor has won 18 competitions in the World Cup and is the overall winner of the 2014/2015 season.

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