Stefan Luitz: Ski racer stripped of victory for oxygen use between runs

His dream moment of a first World Cup skiing victory was dashed after he was caught inhaling oxygen between runs, and now Germany’s Stefan Luitz has had his appeal dismissed by the sport’s governing body.

Luitz, 26, beat the great Marcel Hirscher to victory in the giant slalom in Beaver Creek on December 2, but was later disqualified for breathing oxygen from a tank after topping the leaderboard with his first run.

Although the use of supplemental oxygen is not prohibited under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, the International Ski Federation (FIS) has banned “certain scientific and medical equipment” at its events.

An FIS appeal hearing found that Luitz “violated” the body’s rules and confirmed his disqualification, as well as the loss of the 100 World Cup points, and reported prize money of 45,000 Swiss Francs ($46,000).

The disqualification is not a “sanction” but a “consequence of the rule violation” and therefore has no further consequences, according to the FIS statement released Thursday.

Luitz, who has scored six World Cup podium places in his career, has 21 days to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

“We’re aware of the FIS’s negative response. Stefan would like to call the CAS. The German Ski Association has full understanding for this,” the German ski federation told CNN.

Hirscher, who was second in the race, will now be awarded the victory to take his season tally to seven wins and his career mark to 65 World Cup triumphs.

The Austrian is the runaway leader in the overall World Cup standings and is on course to secure an unprecedented eighth World Cup crown.


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