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According to Reuters, the protest was originally made to the FIS (International Ski Federation), which said they couldn’t consider it because it wasn’t made in time.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

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

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