World Alpine Skiing Championships

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

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GENEVA — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

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Cortina requests to postpone Alpine skiing worlds from 2021 to 2022

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The Italian Winter Sports Federation was making a formal request on Monday to postpone next year’s world Alpine skiing championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò revealed the plans during an interview with RAI state TV on Sunday night.

Considering the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic, Malagò said “this is the best solution” in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened.

“It’s a decision in which we both lose but we realize this is the best — or maybe the only thing — to do,” Malago said.

The Italian federation confirmed that the proposal would be presented during an International Ski Federation (FIS) board meeting Monday. The Italian federation added that the decision to make the proposal was made jointly by the organizing committee in Cortina, the Veneto region and the Italian government.

It will be up to FIS to decide on any postponement.

Cortina was already forced to cancel the World Cup Finals in March this year due to the advancing virus, which has now accounted for more than 30,000 deaths in Italy.

Moving the worlds to March 2022 would put the event one month after the Beijing Olympics and likely force FIS to cancel that season’s finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

The Cortina worlds are currently scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021.

Worlds are usually held every other winter, in odd years.

Cortina is also slated to host Alpine events during the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.

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World Alpine Skiing Championships add event

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Mikaela Shiffrin will have a new opportunity to take gold at the world championships starting in 2021.

A parallel race will debut on the Alpine skiing worlds program in 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced Friday.

Parallel events, where skiers go head-to-head on the same course but on different sets of gates in a bracket-style elimination format, have dotted the annual World Cup schedule in recent years. They count as slaloms and giant slaloms in World Cup standings.

Shiffrin, who owns Olympic golds in both slalom and giant slalom, won all three of her World Cup starts in parallel races over the previous two seasons.

Parallel racing is already held at worlds (and the Olympics starting this year) in a mixed-gender team event.

Last year, FIS said it discussed adding more individual parallel races to the World Cup schedule and cutting combined events (races with one run of downhill or super-G and one run of slalom) altogether starting in 2020-21.

Austrian media reported last year that the combined would be taken off the world championships schedule starting in 2021, but FIS did not mention the combined in Friday’s press release.

The FIS congress also approved new world championships mixed-gender team events in freestyle skiing (aerials), snowboarding (parallel), plus the first women’s Nordic combined event at worlds and a women’s ski jumping team event, all in 2021.

FIS hopes the mixed team events will be added to the Olympics in Beijing in 2022 by the IOC, as well as ski big air and a snowboard cross team event.

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