Exclusive: Olympics-Alpine Skiing-IOC awards additional places to Beijing as qualifying under review

A security guard walks past advertising boards outside the main press center ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

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  • IOC says qualifying events are under review
  • New rules set stricter quotas by gender
  • Additional places are allocated to men from Austria, France and Germany – FIS

LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded four additional places for men’s alpine skiers at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are due to start next week, with some qualifying events “under way”. revision,” the CIO told Reuters on Monday.

“The International Ski Federation (FIS) has informed the IOC that the results of certain alpine skiing qualifying events for (Beijing) that took place under the authority of the FIS are under review,” said the CIO in an emailed statement.

“The FIS has requested the IOC to increase the quota for Alpine Skiing by four. In the interest of all athletes concerned, the IOC has decided to accept FIS’s request and will grant four additional places for Alpine Skiing. .”

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New quota rules for alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics, scheduled for February 4-20, are meant to make access fairer for men and women as well as historically better and worse performing nations.

In previous Winter Games, competing nations had the option of splitting certain places between men and women based on their performance that season. In 2018, a team could send up to 14 men, this year up to 11.

If the men had better results that year, more men could be sent to the Olympics, which often happened.

This year, the total number of alpine skiers has been reduced to 306, of which a maximum of 153 men can compete. At the same time, more nations are set to compete, allowing quota spots for more countries with less or no medal history.

“The IOC has emphasized to FIS the need for a comprehensive review of relevant aspects of the Olympic qualification system in order to avoid similar issues and impacts on athletes at future Olympic Winter Games,” the IOC said. .

ALLOCATED PLACES

Of the four extra places, Austria will send two more men to Beijing while Germany and France can send one each, the FIS said.

When asked which qualifying events were under review and which nations qualified, the FIS said it could not provide details while the investigation was ongoing. He added that there was no timetable on when the probe would be completed and the results published.

Athletes can qualify for the Olympics in small events held outside of the major races of the season, such as World Cup competitions.

Such events can allow skiers who would not normally compete for World Cup or championship titles to join the Olympics to broaden the sport’s participation and appeal.

“A lot of these allocations to underperforming nations take away from the real competitors on the men’s side, who have worked their whole lives in their craft,” American skier Steven Nyman told Reuters.

“I’m all for smaller nations competing, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the competition itself.”

Among the nations currently on the list to face alpine skiers from countries like Austria and Norway in Beijing are Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, India, Brazil, Ghana, Haiti and the Philippines.

The Swedish Ski Association welcomed the decision to add quota places.

“The fact that eligible athletes are missing out on their Olympic experience, while there are serious doubts about the fairness of qualifying others, is something we cannot support,” he said.

“It does not affect us directly, but anything that affects the integrity and credibility of our sport is crucial in the long term, so we are pleased with this response from FIS and the IOC,” Sweden said.

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Reporting by Shadia Nasralla, additional reporting by Simon Jennings; Editing by Ken Ferris, Clare Fallon and Christian Radnedge

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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