MOSCOW, February 2 (RIA Novosti)
The German luge and bobsleigh federation has categorically rejected accusations made by a top Russian luge coach that German sliders "get around the rules" and that international officials turn a blind eye to suspicious practices.
Russian national team coach Valery Silakov, an outspoken critic of the way the sport of luge is run, claimed after last week's World Cup stage in St. Moritz that "not all is clean with the Germans."
"The Germans dominate, in all the [inspection] commissions they are getting around the rules a bit," he told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"But how can you fight it? They all live in the luge Mecca of Konigssee, where you have the German luge and bobsleigh federation and the International Luge Federation. They've all known each other for decades," Silakov said.
The German federation responded Thursday by issuing an outright denial of any wrongdoing in the sport.
"We disclaim all reproaches of Mr. Silakov," the federation told RIA Novosti in emailed comments. "All German sleds are controlled by the technical commission of the FIL before they are used in international races."
"The German Federation with its experts took part in the development of the current technical regulation framework. So we are interested in a high compliance with the regulations."
Germany has dominated the sport for decades, taking 27 of all 40 Olympic gold medals since its introduction in 1964 and had similar success in the annual world championships.
Since the East German team of 1968 was stripped of their medals at the Grenoble Olympics for heating their runners to increase their track speed, German sliders have periodically suffered accusations of foul play.
"The actual dominance of our lugers results primarily from the athletic field. No one is currently faster at the start than the German athletes," the federation said.
Silakov made only one specific accusation, saying shock absorbing material was discovered in the luge of a Swiss athlete at last month's Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck. The sled itself was a hand-me-down from Vancouver 2010 gold medalist Tatjana Hufner of Germany, Silakov said.
Canada's silver medalist in the skeleton at the 2006 Turin Olympics, Jeff Pain, claimed ahead of the Vancouver 2010 games, where Germany won five of the nine available luge medals, that the country had used illegal technology in its sleds.
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