Germany’s Stefan Luitz wins appeal, reclaims Birds of Prey giant slalom crown
BEAVER CREEK — This has got to be the longest World Cup giant slalom ever.
As you might recall, Germany’s Stefan Luitz won the Birds of Prey giant slalom back in December, upsetting Austria’s Marcel Hirscher. It was Luitz’ first World Cup win and a feel-good story after he had overcome multiple injuries.
As you also might recall, Luitz was stripped of that win after photos of the German using oxygen, which is against International Ski Federation rules, between the two runs surfaced. That gave the win to Austrian Marcel Hirscher.
On Friday, the Court for Arbitration of Sport granted Luitz’ appeal, which means, that the German actually did win his first World Cup victory back in December along with a check for $45,000.
FIS said in a statement Friday that it accepts the decision, so this is final. Luitz really did win.
So that increases Luitz’ career win total to one, while Hirscher’s total plummets to 67. Switzerland’s Thomas Tumler’s first podium finish is still a podium, but it’s gone from third to second to third.
You will be quizzed on this later.
FIS’ Anti-Doping Rules, or more specifically Article 20.4, prohibits the use of oxygen. It may not seem like much, but Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey does have the highest elevation of any racecourse on the World Cup circuit.
Luitz’ legal team argued successfully that Article 20.4 of FIS’ ADR says that the World Anti-Doping Code is to overrule the skiing federation’s regulations, and World Anti-Doping Code does not consider oxygen a doping agent.
This is a lot of alphabet soup, but it’s probably not going to be a good idea to be seen anywhere near an oxygen mask during the 2019 Birds of Prey races.
Where are they now?
What made Luitz’ initial win such a big deal was that his career had been marred by injuries. He had done his left ACL in 2013 and his right one in 2017. While he does get the win, this entire process has to have taken some of the shine off the occasion.
Since Birds of Prey, Luitz finished fifth in a parallel giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, and fourth in a slalom in Saalbach, Austria. However, he crashed in the Adelboden, Switzerland, slalom, injuring his shoulder. He had surgery last month, according to Ski Racing Magazine.
Hirscher drops to second place, but the loss of 20 points does no harm to him. He has already clinched the GS World Cup championship for the fifth straight season. He’s also clinched an unprecedented eighth consecutive overall World Cup crown, going into this weekend’s tech races at the World Cup finals Soldeu, Andorra.
Tumler has scuffled for most of the season. His best result since Beaver Creek was ninth in the Alta Badia GS.
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