Olympic ski cross medal changed on appeal 9 days after race

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GENEVA — Nine days after the race at the Beijing Olympics, the bronze medal in women’s ski cross was changed on appeal Saturday.

Fanny Smith of Switzerland will now be awarded the bronze medal after she was wrongly demoted to fourth in China, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said in a statement.

Smith was blamed for causing contact with other skiers during the Feb. 17 race and lost her third-place finish by a ruling of the FIS race jury. Daniela Maier of Germany was upgraded from fourth to get the bronze that she now loses.

That jury decision was wrong, FIS said after an appeal by Smith and the Swiss ski federation.

“The Appeals Commission found that the close proximity of the racers at that moment resulted in action that was neither intentional or avoidable,” FIS said.

Smith should therefore have been issued a warning rather than the yellow card judgment which required her to be demoted.

The incident did not affect gold medalist Sandra Naeslund of Sweden and silver medalist Marielle Thompson of Canada.

The appeal verdict now gives Smith, a former world champion, Olympic bronze medals in back-to-back Winter Games.

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IOC calls for no sports events in Belarus, Russia; ski World Cups in Russia canceled

2018/19 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup: ski cross
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The International Olympic Committee Executive Board urged all international federations to relocate or cancel their sports events currently planned in Russia and Belarus.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, a move supported by the government of Belarus.

The IOC board said both nations violated the Olympic Truce, which calls for peace over a period from seven days before the Olympics through seven days after the Paralympics. The Paralympics open next Friday and run through March 13.

“[Federations] should take the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarussian governments into account and give the safety and security of the athletes absolute priority,” the IOC said in a statement.

The board also urged for the Russian and Belarussian flags and anthems to be outlawed from international sports events. The Russian flag and anthem are already banned from major championships into mid-December 2022 over the nation’s doping offenses.

Earlier Friday, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said it will not hold any World Cup events in Russia for the rest of this season.

Competitions in cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and ski jumping will be relocated or canceled. Russia was scheduled to host six World Cup stops through the end of March.

The decision was made “in the interest of the safety of all participants and to maintain the integrity of the World Cup,” according to a FIS press release.

Before the decision, a World Cup ski cross event began on Friday in Sunny Valley, Russia, along the Ural Mountains. It was canceled after the qualification round, where 72 skiers from 13 nations were listed as “did not start.” The 13 skiers who did start were all Russian.

Aerials World Cups scheduled in Russia this Saturday and Sunday and the following weekend will not be held. The cross-country World Cup Finals were scheduled for Tyumen from March 18-20. Women’s ski jumping World Cups in Russia were slated for the last two weekends of March.

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U.S. Ski & Snowboard names its first female CEO, Sophie Goldschmidt

Cross-Country Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 12
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Sophie Goldschmidt was named U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s incoming president and CEO this week, making her the first woman to lead the national governing body that has existed under various names since 1905.

She replaces two-time Olympian Tiger Shaw, who held the position since March 2014. Shaw will transition to U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation Board trustee.

Though she counts herself as an avid skier, Goldschmidt is the first non-athlete to serve in the role in at least 25 years. Bill Marolt, Shaw’s longtime successor, is also an Olympic alpine skier.

Goldschmidt has a breadth of leadership and marketing experience at a handful of sports and entertainment properties including Adidas, WTA, NBA and England Rugby, though this is her first time with a U.S. Olympic organization.

Most recently, she served as CEO of the World Surf League from July 2017-February 2020. Goldschmidt will relocate from Los Angeles to the Park City, Utah, area where U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s headquarters and world-class Center of Excellence training facility are located.

When she starts on Oct. 18, Goldschmidt will have less than four months to get up to speed in time for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to start on Feb. 4.

“I am thrilled to be the next leader of U.S. Ski & Snowboard,” Goldschmidt said in a statement. “My priority is to build on the organization’s strong foundations. To take the levels of performance to new heights, to grow the number of participants and fans we engage with, in addition to creatively unlocking new value and investment. I see significant opportunities to further develop the profiles of the sports and of the athletes, who are inspirational role models.”

U.S. Ski & Snowboard oversees athletes – from grassroots to the elite level – for just over half of the Olympic Winter Games program.

In PyeongChang four years ago, 50 of the 102 events fell under the six skiing and snowboarding sport disciplines; in Beijing, that number has increased to 55 of 109.

The NGB has developed a recent tradition of excellence, accounting for 60.2% of the U.S.’ medals at the past three Games, which Goldschmidt will look to continue in Beijing and beyond.

Kikkan Randall, a five-time Olympian and 2018 gold medalist in cross-country skiing, was co-chair of the search committee that appointed Goldschmidt.

“I am particularly excited about Sophie’s experience working directly with world-class athletes across a myriad of sports; she really understands how to put athletes at the forefront,” Randall said.

Goldschmidt will be the 10th woman to currently head a U.S. Olympic or Paralympic sport, and the only one on the winter side.

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