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According to Reuters, the protest was originally made to the FIS (International Ski Federation), which said they couldn’t consider it because it wasn’t made in time.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

Salt Lake City forms committee to weigh Olympic bid

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City has formed an exploratory committee to decide if the city will bid to host the Winter Olympics in either 2026 or 2030 — taking a key step toward trying to become a rare two-time host city.

The group made up of elected officials, business leaders and one key member of the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City said Monday that it plans to make a recommendation to state leaders by Feb. 1.

The announcement comes after the U.S. Olympic Committee board said Friday that it was moving forward with discussions about bringing the Winter Games to America for either 2026 or 2030.

Because Los Angeles was recently awarded the 2028 Summer Games, a bid for 2030 would make more sense, chairman Larry Probst said Friday.

The USOC has until next March to pick a city; those expressing interest include Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno, Nevada.

Innsbruck, Austria, said Sunday it wouldn’t bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, taking one more city out of the running. The hosting rights are set to be awarded in July 2019.

The same country hasn’t hosted back-to-back Olympics since before World War II, though when the International Olympic Committee scrapped its traditional rules and awarded 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (LA) at the same time, it indicated it was certainly open to new ideas.

Since 2012, Salt Lake City has been letting Olympic officials know the city was ready and willing to host again with a plan based on renovating and upgrading venues that have been in use since the Games ended.

The city had previously estimated it could put on a Winter Olympics for about $2 billion, but the committee will come up with a new cost estimate, said Jeff Robbins, the president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission.

Robbins is one of three co-chairs on the committee along with Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Fraser Bullock, a key player in Salt Lake City’s 2002 Olympics.

Robbins said he thinks the city has a great shot at winning a bid based on the relatively low cost and because it has demonstrated it knows how to maintain venues and keep them in use, putting the city in line with Agenda 2020, the blueprint that IOC President Thomas Bach created for future Olympics calling for less spending on new venues and infrastructure.

There’s an eight-lane interstate running from the Salt Lake airport, which was upgraded for the Olympics, to Park City, which is the home of U.S. Ski and Snowboard. Park City is the host for key U.S. training centers for freestyle skiing, speedskating and cross country skiing.

Overall, the area has hosted about 75 World Cup and world-championship events in winter sports since the Olympic cauldron was extinguished more than 15 years ago.

He said an expanded light rail train line grid around Salt Lake City and a $3 billion airport renovation already underway are two examples of how Salt Lake City is even better prepared now to host than in 2002.

But he and other organizers will also have to answer questions about a bidding scandal that marred the 2002 Games and resulted in several International Olympic Committee members losing their positions for taking bribes.

“You can’t control the past,” Robbins said. “The results of what happened I think would certainly speak volumes. While there was some challenges, we hosted arguably one of the best Olympics ever hosted.”

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Simone Biles announces new coach

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When Simone Biles begins her comeback in earnest next month, she’ll be training under a new coach — Laurent Landi — who coached one of her Olympic teammates, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Landi, a 39-year-old former French gymnast, guided Rio uneven bars silver medalist Madison Kocian at the Dallas-area gym WOGA, along with wife Cecile.

“[Landi] was in Dallas, which is not far away, and had recently left WOGA, and I had worked with alongside him and know how he is with athletes,” Biles said, according to the newspaper. “He does a good job not letting pressure get to the athletes. You can see some coaches get stressed but he doesn’t.”

Biles’ previous coach since she was 7, Aimee Boorman, left their Houston-area gym for a gymnastics job in Florida after the Rio Games.

Biles said last week she plans to return to full-time training Nov. 1 and return to competition next summer.

Kocian is now at UCLA and uncertain to return to elite gymnastics.

Two other Final Five members — Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez — have said they plan to return to training for a Tokyo 2020 run. But neither has announced a return to the gym like Biles.

The last member — 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas — has not said whether she will come back.

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