Canada, Slovenia accuse France of using illegal suits in men’s ski cross final

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Team France currently sits at 15 medals in these Sochi Olympics, which marks its biggest medal haul ever at a Winter Games.

Three of them came as part of a medals sweep in men’s ski cross by Jean Frederic Chapuis (gold), Arnaud Bovolenta (silver), and Jonathan Midols (bronze).

But Canadian and Slovenian officials have protested the result, saying that Chapuis, Bovolenta, and Midols were wearing illegal suits that had been changed to gain an illegal aerodynamic effect.

According to Reuters, the protest was originally made to the FIS (International Ski Federation), which said they couldn’t consider it because it wasn’t made in time.

The protest has now been escalated to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest court in all of sporting-related law.

CAS officials are meeting this evening to discuss the matter. Their findings will be released tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. ET.

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The group has released the following statement:

The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) registered two urgent applications: the first one filed by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the second by the Slovenian Olympic Committee (SOC), both against the decision rendered by the Competition Jury of the International Ski Federation (FIS) on 21 February 2014. The decision challenged is related to protests made by the CFSA, with the support of the COC, and by the SOC “regarding the actions of the French team competing on February 20, 2014 in the Men’s Ski Cross competition”. The FIS Competition Jury decided that the protests could not be entertained because they have not been filed on time after the race.

The CFSA/COC/SOC ask for the disqualification of all of the French competitors from the 20 February 2014 Ski Cross Big Final competition (Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol) and for the correction of the final rankings. They allege that, just before the Big Final, French support staff changed the shaping of the lower leg suits of the riders creating an aerodynamic effect that the Appellants submit is contrary to the International Freestyle Skiing Competition Rules.

The Respondents in this arbitration procedure are the FIS and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The French NOC (CNOSF) has been designated as interested party.

A Panel of the CAS ad hoc Division will hear this case during the night.

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

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