Latvian Skeleton: A Sport on the Decline?

The article recalls that Dukurs’ father Dainis Dukurs said in the fall that the skeleton in Latvia is “on the trail of needles”.

“He is right, there is nothing to hide. It was already clear when we were still driving. At that time, there should have been young people who could compete with us in some way, but it was obvious that there were no strong talents,” confirms M. Dukurs.

“People expected that the father would develop it, but you have to understand that, first of all, he did all this for his sons. Secondly, to develop all this, you have to invest an extraordinary amount of work. If you have to think about how to compete at the highest level with two sons, and at the same time” “You have to pull the youth program – it can’t be lifted,” explains Dukurs, who after the end of his sports career works as a coach in the British skeleton team.

He emphasizes that it takes time to be able to create a system for a sport and select young people. There is also a lack of coaches in Latvia who could train young people without working elsewhere, but “the father no longer has that capacity”. Therefore, Dukurs believes that Latvian skeletonists will not be represented in the upcoming Olympic Games.

At the Youth Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, Emil Indriksson became the champion in the skeleton, while Darta Neiman and Laura Legere won silver and bronze respectively for the girls.

Dukur points out that medals in these competitions are good, but successful starts in adult competitions are a long way off.

He reminds that in the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) bobsledders play a decisive role. Skeleton races are mostly held on weekdays when there are fewer spectators, serving as a prelude to the bobsleigh races on the weekend.

Dukur says of bobsleigh and skeleton, “I’ve assumed it’s a German sport. They run everything there. “The rest of the show is just cheap actors, including us,” adding that it diminishes interest in both sports.

Dukurs, a two-time Olympic silver medallist, six-time world and twelve-time European champion and 11-time overall World Cup winner, is responsible for driving lines and technique for Great Britain.

His contract with the British national team is valid until the 2026 Olympic Games.


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