Sun, Dec 09, 2018 - Page 11 News List

German skier could lose first win for extra oxygen

AP, ST MORITZ, Switzerland

Days after getting his first career World Cup win, Stefan Luitz could be disqualified for breaking skiing’s doping rules by using an oxygen mask.

The International Ski Federation on Friday said it is investigating an incident that occurred on Sunday last week in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Racing in the giant slalom started at an altitude of 3,152m and the 26-year-old German won by retaining his first-run lead. The victory ended runner-up Marcel Hirscher’s five-race winning streak in the event.

Hirscher, the Olympic champion in giant slalom, could be awarded his 60th World Cup race win.

Federation anti-doping rules state that oxygen tanks cannot be brought to race venues, and “competition results achieved after the use of the equipment shall be automatically disqualified.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allows “supplemental oxygen administered by inhalation, but not intravenously,” although notes that sports bodies could choose to prohibit it.

“Athletes must check the rules that apply to supplemental oxygen use with the sporting authorities governing the events they compete in,” WADA guidelines state.

Germany team director Wolfgang Maier acknowledged that the team made a mistake, but had not cheated.

Luitz was to be eligible to race in yesterday’s giant slalom in Val d’Isere, France, pending the investigation, the federation said.

The incident could potentially add to Luitz’s reputation as an unlucky skier.

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, he was poised for the second-fastest time in the first run of the giant slalom. He then hooked a ski around the simple final gate and fell over the finish line as the ski flew away from his boot. He was disqualified for straddling the gate.

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