sports 1 day ago

Beaver Creek winner Luitz under oxygen investigation after Germans took 'stupid' decision

AFP

Val-d'Isère (France) (AFP) -

Alpine skier Stefan Luitz is under investigation for allegedly breaking anti-doping rules by inhaling oxygen between runs during his giant slalom win at Beaver Creek last weekend.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) told AFP on Friday it was looking into the matter after Italian and Swiss journalists revealed the existence of a photograph which appeared to show the German inhaling oxygen.

The practice of using oxygen cylinders in competition is not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) but it has been banned by the FIS since June 2016, a point specified in the federation's anti-doping regulations.

The German team admitted it had made an error.

"We took, coaches and doctors, an extremely stupid decision," team manager Mathias Berthold told reporters. 

"We referred to the WADA regulations instead of the FIS rules.

"We consulted our doctors who assured us that it did not go against any regulation and so we decided to use oxygen because we had a lot of injuries at this altitude."

Luitz and the other German skiers, who are also involved in the investigation, have not been suspended from competition. 

Addressing the captains' meeting ahead of this weekend's World Cup event in Val d'Isere, FIS race director Markus Walder said that they were allowed to compete in Saturday's giant slalom. 

"No team brought a claim after the giant (slalom) at Beaver Creek," he said. "The investigation is still ongoing."

Luitz, who had just returned to the slopes after a year out with injury to claim his maiden World Cup win, now faces possible disqualification. 

If that happens, victory in Beaver Creek would pass to Austrian ace Marcel Hirscher.

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