The Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung writes that several “small” ski nations have manipulated national championships to secure more Olympic places.
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– It is bitter when medal candidates, big top stars, have to watch, say the Austrian alpine comedians Matthias Mayer and Vincent Kriechmayr after it became clear that the Austrian men’s alpine team did not meet the maximum quota of eleven runners in the Olympics.
- Jamaica and Cape Verde hosted an open national championship on January 12 and 13 in Liechtenstein called the “Malbun Exotic Nations Cup”.
- There, Jamaica, Argentina and Mexico are said to have made an agreement that the lower ranked runners would beat the higher ranked runners.
The races in the championship must have secured the Olympic places.
The FIS points are calculated based on the runners’ ranking and position. Read more about the FIS points and how they qualified for the Olympics here:
Argentine Cristian Javier Simari Birkner (41) was among those who took part in the races.
The Argentine drives normally in the World Cup and is ranked much higher than the other participants who drove in Malbun. Birkner’s results (1st, 4th, 5th and 6th place) ensured that the 62-year-old Mexican is ready for the Olympics in Beijing.
Von Hohenlohe had not raced before this season.
– They make rules that no one understands. Small nations qualify, and now it’s a scandal. We never wanted to take the seats to Austria. You are the ones who made the rules. To make it very clear, Mexico was already qualified long before these races, von Hohenlohe writes on Instagram.
The Mexican has previously participated in six Olympics. He made his debut at the age of 24 at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo. His best place in the Olympics is 26th place from the slalom in his first Olympics. He is also known as a photographer, businessman and pop artist under the names Andy Himalaya and Royal Disaster.
The veteran has also been interviewed about the controversial races of it Swiss newspaper Blick. There he says that the channel could not possibly have been manipulated since it was streamed.
– You do not send directly how you rob a bank or steal from people, he argues and blames the FIS:
– The fact that the Austrian quota is directly dependent on whether Jamaica, Cape Verde or Saudi Arabia qualifies – that is the dumbest rule I have ever heard.
For several major ski nations such as Austria, Italy, France and the USA lost Olympic places after the championship in Malbun. But the Austrian alpine sports director, Toni Giger, found eleven unused places in snowboarding and skicross and asked the Olympic leaders if the unused places could be given to the alpinists.
They were granted that.
– We are pleased that the IOC and the International Ski Federation (FIS) have found a good solution. With Max Franz and Stefan Brennsteiner, two more alpinists can be registered for the Olympics, says ÖOCs (Austrian Olympic Committee) Secretary General Peter Mennel in a statement.
Before it became clear that Austria had been granted the maximum quota of eleven runners, there was a complete crisis in the national media.
– If a miracle does not happen, only nine Austrian master alpinists will start in China. The reason for this is incredible: As reported, “small” ski nations got the starting places due to manipulated races, wrote Kronen Zeitung and continued:
– Our already extremely small squad shrinks from eleven to nine. Error. There is a loophole in the regulations of the FIS that has existed for years, but has never been changed, which was now exploited.
– It is a scandal, said sports director Giger.