Great Britain bobsleigh performance director Gary Anderson has welcomed the decision to extend the four-man competition to include women in the team, believing it could pave the way for a new Olympic discipline.
Under current rules, only men are allowed to compete as a team of four at the Winter Olympics, with pilot John Jackson guiding GBR1 to a fifth-place finish at this year’s Games in Sochi, while GBR2, led by Lamin Deen, finished 19th.
However on Thursday the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation announced that it would be opening up the four-man bobsleigh competition to mixed gender teams in support of equal opportunities.
It means that from this season onwards, mixed teams can take part in FIBT events, including the Europa Cup Series, North American Cup Series as well as the World Cup Series and World Championships.
And, while qualification criteria for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea are still under discussion and yet to be finalised, Anderson believes this week’s announcement will only be good for the sport.
“It's an obvious and natural progression from the FIBT and as a federation we welcome and support this rule change,” he said.
"It can only do good for the sport. How this will now evolve remains to be seen, but hopefully we may see a new Olympic discipline in the future."
© Sportsbeat 2014