International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation
The International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) (French: Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing or FIBT) is the international sports federation for bobsleigh and skeleton. Founded in 1923 in Paris, France, it acts as an umbrella organization for 14 national bobsleigh and skeleton associations as of 2007[update] and is based in Milan, Italy.
History – bobsleigh
The world's first bobsleigh club was founded in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1897. By 1914, competitions were taking place on natural ice courses. This growth led to the creation of the FIBT in 1923 with inclusion into the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the following year. At the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix, the four-man event took place. In 1930, the first FIBT World Championships took place with the four-man event in Caux-sur-Montreux, Switzerland with the first two-man event taking place in Oberhof, Germany the following year. At the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, the two-man competition debutted. In 1935, the Internationaler Schlittensportsverband (ISSV - International Sled Sport Federation in (German)), a forerunner to the Federation Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL - International Luge Federation in (French)), was absorbed into the FIBT and a Section de Luge was created. The luge section would be abolished when the FIL was split off in 1957.
Because of the growing weight issue at the 1952 Winter Olympics, the first changes occurred when weight limits were introduced. Since then, configurations to the tracks and the bobsleigh itself would be regulated for both competition and safety reasons. Also, bobsleigh was not included in the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California for cost reasons in track construction. The development of artificially refrigerated tracks in the late 1960s and early 1970s would greatly enhance speeds. World Cup competitions were first developed in the 1980s while women's competitions took place in the early 1990s. The 2-woman bobsleigh event had their first World Championships in Winterberg, Germany in 2000 and debutted at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
History – skeleton
Skeleton was also founded in Switzerland in 1884 as part of the Cresta Run. It remained a Swiss competition until 1906 when the first competitions outside Switzerland took place in Austria. At the 1926 FIBT World Congress in Paris, France, it was approved that skeleton was an official Winter Olympic sport with competition taking place at the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz. 13 competitors from five nations took part. Twenty years later, skeleton reappeared on the Olympic program when the 1948 Winter Olympics returned to St. Moritz.
At the 1954 IOC meeting in Athens, Greece, skeleton was replaced by luge on the official Olympic program. This caused skeleton to fall into obscurity until the development of a "bobsleigh skeleton" which could be used on any bobsleigh track in 1970. The development of artificial tracks would also help the rebirth of skeleton as a sport.
By 1986, the FIBT started funding skeleton and introduced training schools worldwide to grow the sport. The following year, skeleton European Championships were introduced. In 1989, skeleton World Championships were introduced with the women's championships not being formed until 2000 at Igls, Austria. The previous year, skeleton was reintroduced in the Winter Olympic program when the IOC allowed competition for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
The FIBT governs competitions on all bobsleigh and skeleton competitions at the European Championships, World Championships, World Cup, and Winter Olympic level.
The following persons have served as president of FIBT:
- Count Renaud de la Frégeolière from France (1886–1981), served 1923–1960
- Almicare Rotta from Italy (1911-1981), served 1960–1980
- Klaus Kotter from West Germany/Germany (1934–2010), served 1980–1994
- Robert H. Storey from Canada (born 1942), served 1994–2010
- Ivo Ferriano from Italy (born 1960), served since 2010