SALZBURG, Austria – Dwight Bell was elected General Secretary of the International Luge Federation (FIL) last Friday, Nov. 20, at the organization’s 68th Congress held virtually in Salzburg, Austria.
Bell, of Atlanta, was a former USA Luge racer who served several lengthy stints as president of its board of directors, then later as member of the board. His resume also includes USA Chef de Mission for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, member of the 2014, 2018 and 2022 IOC Evaluation Commissions, and most recently, FIL Executive Board member. Bell’s term began at the conclusion of the Congress.
“I am honored to be elected by my peers to the prestigious position of Secretary General,” said Bell. “Given the coronavirus, it’s a challenging time for sports, but in fact, this is a time when we most need international sports.”
The election also saw Einars Fogelis, of Latvia, succeed Josef Fendt, of Germany, as FIL President. Fendt announced his retirement last winter, effective at this meeting. The Olympic silver medalist and two-time World Champion served as president for 26 years.
“I was very happy to participate in the development of the new FIL strategy under Einars’ leadership,” continued Bell, whose new post is second only to Fogelis. “The new strategy contains courageous recommendations that can show the FIL the way into the future.”
With COVID-19 dominating all aspects of life, sports included, the new Fogelis-Bell tandem takes over in arguably the FIL’s most demanding and crucial period in its history. To accommodate the health and safety of all member nations as well as the communities that host international racing, the FIL, this season, has been forced to re-tool competitive schedules, and in some cases, relocate several events while canceling many youth and junior competitions.
Yet in Bell’s view, the long-term mission of the FIL must remain the same.
“Along with my colleagues, we will persevere, to continue to cultivate the sport of luge, which is sled racing, as the most basic of winter sports. We can’t wait to start seeing snow hit the ground for all sledding enthusiasts.”