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ROME: Alpine skier Mirko Deflorian has been banned for 18 months by the Italian Olympic Committee following a positive test for cocaine.
The decision by CONI's anti-doping court was made on appeal Monday, after the Italian Winter Sports Federation decided in September to clear the 28-year-old skier.
Cocaine metabolites were found in Deflorian's system following a test at the Italian junior championships which is open to some overage skiers on Feb. 19 in Pozza di Fassa, a day after Deflorian won the giant slalom title.
"Somebody must have framed me," Deflorian said after the positive tests was made public. "I have never used cocaine or any other drugs."
The ban will end in August 2009, having been backdated to the date of the failed test. Deflorian's results from the time of the failed tests will also be invalidated.
Deflorian's best World Cup result was fifth in a giant slalom in Val d'Isere, France, in 2004. He could now appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
Posted: Dec 23, 2008 - 4:51 AM GMT
Edited: Dec 23, 2008 - 4:53 AM GMT
anybody notice that 17 year old Lara Gut (pronounced "goot", means "good" auf Deutsch) won the world cup super g race on saturday? I realize this thread is usually a bunch of Monday Morning links, but -- holy crap -- this is a 17 year old, a month younger than my daughters, she wins a freakin' world cup event??!!
to quote MMQB:
(sorry M, couldn't help it)
this young lady has 13 world cup starts, and of those she has 2 podiums! it's unbelievable. honestly, she could be skiing's Maria Sharapova. OK, so the course was soft, she was an early start...but I bet the check cashes just the same. We could have the start of something big happening here. It's an undeniable fact that ski racing could use some excitement to ramp things up...this Lara Gut just may be it!
Lanning misses Bormio DH
Saturday, 27 December 2008 13:32
US skier T.J. Lanning pulled out from the Men's World Cup downhill in Bormio after injuring in the opening training.
The American speedster crashed heavily in the lower section of Stelvio slope and slammed into the safety net.
Lanning sprained his right knee and bruised a rib in the crash and will return home after the speed event in the Italian venue.
The 24-year-old will undergo further medical examinations but according to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Richard Quincy, he is not expected to be out of competition for long.
Lanning could be back in action in occasion of World Cup stage in Wengen, Switzerland. Source: www.fisski.com
Zettel again best in Semmering
For full coverage, visit www.fisalpineworldcup.com
Kathrin Zettel won the giant slalom race in Semmering for the second time straight. Italian Manuela Moelgg, who led the first run, took second while rising Swiss young star Lara Gut rounded out the podium in third, up from first run 15th!
For full coverage, visit www.fisalpineworldcup.com
Christof Innerhofer, the first man on the course at the men's Bormio downhill had enough speed to hold off all others to natch his maiden World Cup win ahead of two Austrians and one of the last men on the course, Bode Miller who fought his way to fourth.
Klaus Kroell was second and Val Gardena winner Michael Walchhofer third.
Julia Mancuso put on her old ski boots and took a big step forward Sunday, producing her best outing since back problems slowed her in the fall.
The 2006 Olympic champion from Olympic Valley, Calif., turned in two solid runs that left her in sixth place at a World Cup giant slalom on the Panorama course. She was 1.27 seconds behind winner Kathrin Zettel of Austria.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia: Thousands of airline passengers stranded. Roads impassable because of snow. Power failures by the dozen.
The last two weeks have been a winter nightmare for Vancouver huge dumps of snow followed by rain, heavy slush and flooding. All over the city, people are griping about the toll storm after storm has taken on their holiday season.
They're also asking another question: What if this happens during the 2010 Winter Olympics?
Vancouver airport, transit and city officials say they're using the recent storms as a learning opportunity.
With 400,000 passengers passing through Vancouver in the last week on 5,000 flights, the current volume of airport traffic is close to what it will be during the games, said Don Ehrenholz, vice president of operations for Vancouver International Airport.
He promises improvement by the time the games start.
"In our planning for 2010 we are planning that there will be a snowstorm of a fairly large magnitude at the worst possible time either at the very first couple of days or the very last day or two, which is one of the more difficult times for getting people out on time," Ehrenholz said.
"We are definitely planning for those circumstances. We have already ordered a couple of extra pieces of snow-clearing equipment for 2010 and we have already been working with the airlines to improve the deicing process . . . to improve that capacity."
The city's transit system will be different in 2010, with more buses and a new subway line that won't be affected by weather because most of it runs underground, said Ken Hardie, a spokesman for TransLink, which handles public transit in British Colombia's Lower Mainland. Car-free lanes on venue routes also mean less chance of snow-related traffic congestion.
The SkyTrain elevated rail system has been shut down in conditions far less severe than those in Vancouver the last week, Hardie said.
"I understand that the type of weather that we've had over the past week or so is a one-in-10-year event," he said. "Let's hope we've gotten it out of our system for another 10 years."
Events will be divided between the area in and around Vancouver, which is known more for rain than snow, and the ski resort of Whistler, which usually has plenty of the white stuff each winter. The communities are connected by Highway 99, also known as the Sea-to-Sky highway a narrow, winding route with plenty of steep hills.
Before the Beijing Olympics last summer, Chinese authorities were so afraid of rain disrupting the opening ceremony they experimented with cloud seeding.
Al Wallace is regional director of Meteorological Services Canada, which is providing weather services for the 2010 Olympics. He said a weather-control project is not in the works for 2010, mostly because it hasn't been proved to actually work.
Vancouver's Olympic organizing committee acknowledges that while it has command over virtually every aspect of the games, the weather is one thing it simply can't control even if it is one of the most critical elements of staging a successful Winter Olympics.
"It could either work with you or really work against you," said Tim Gayda, vice president of sport for the organizing committee, known as VANOC. "Right from the get-go, we've always planned to deal with the worst."
When the games were awarded to Vancouver in 2003, Environment Canada and Meteorological Services were immediately brought on board. Weather stations have been installed at each venue and along the Sea-to-Sky corridor to help monitor everything from wind speed to moisture.
VANOC and Environment Canada also have been putting together scenarios where they've taken the weather in past Februarys and used it to determine how the games would have been affected if they were held on those days.
In addition to possible delays, the committee found that signage and seating at outdoor venues would be severely challenged by the weight of about 15 inches of snow. Vancouver has had close to 3 feet of snow this month.
There are also the challenges of keeping volunteers' morale high when it's cold and wet and mobilizing volunteers in the middle of the night to clear snow from venues.
This winter's test events will provide the final dry (or wet) run for weather issues. All the forecasters who will work at the games will be at the test-event venues assisting judges, coaches and organizers.
But planning can go only so far. Gayda said his team has its own approach, on top of meticulous planning.
John Daly smashed one tee shot off the top of a beer can during a pro-am. At another tournament, he returned from a rain delay with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as his caddie. And his most memorable photo this year came in an orange jail suit, eyes half-closed.
Daly said Wednesday that such unwelcome publicity is why the PGA Tour suspended him for six months.
The two-time major champion confirmed his suspension to The Associated Press, calling this the low point of an 18-year career during which he has made as much news off the course as he has with his prodigious game.
"Is it fair that I got suspended?" he said. "It's not fair in reality, but it's probably fair in perception."
Daly said he wanted to go public to let fans and tournaments know that he wasn't abandoning them by taking his game to the European tour. At least until the spring, he simply didn't have much of a choice.
"I'm not sure this is the smartest thing to do, but I'd rather be honest, especially with the fans," he said. "It's hard for me not to play on the West Coast. I love it out there."
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw declined comment, even after seeing Daly's remarks, citing the tour's longtime policy of not discussing fines or suspensions.
This is the second time the tour has suspended Daly, along with at least two other times when he agreed to sit out the final few months of a season to get his life in order.
He has not played on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut Oct. 17 in Las Vegas. Ten days later, police in Winston-Salem, N.C., said he appeared intoxicated outside a Hooters restaurant, and Daly was taken to jail to sleep it off. That led to his photo in the orange jail suit, which became an Internet sensation.
Still trying to recover from various injuries, Daly made only five cuts in 17 starts on the tour, finishing 232nd on the money list. His world ranking has plunged to No. 736.
Daly isn't even sure when the suspension began, but he hopes it ends in May. He said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem sent a letter to his agent, Bud Martin of SFX Sports, who passed along the news.
"Tim and his staff have to do what they do," Daly said. "Truly and honestly, I wish Tim would get to know the facts better before he makes a decision. I would love to sit down and have a nice talk with him, tell him what really happened. But perception is reality in the world, and sometimes they have to do what they have to do."
Martin would only say the suspension was to end in the spring, adding "it remains confidential with the PGA Tour." He said Daly wants to use 2009 to turn his career around.
"This is the last negative thing that's been gnawing at him," Martin said. "We didn't make any requests for exemptions, and John wanted to be clear with them. He wanted to play in their tournaments, but he can't. He didn't want to let his fans down. He wanted them to know the truth."
Daly said he hopes to play well enough to earn sponsor exemptions on the PGA Tour when the suspension is lifted.
"John's New Year's resolution is do everything he can to make positive things happen on the golf course," Martin said. "I hope he can walk the walk. The talk sounds great. But it's going to be him working hard and staying out of trouble, and having success on the golf course."
Daly became an overnight sensation when he won the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick as the ninth alternate, introducing his powerful "grip it and rip it" style to golf. Four years later, he won the British Open at St. Andrews. But his career has been dragged down by two trips to alcohol rehab, four marriages, gambling losses and other off-course episodes that have made him a sideshow to some and a cult figure to others.
Asked why he was suspended, Daly pointed to four incidents during the year.
After a rain delay at Innisbrook during the Florida swing, he emerged from a hospitality tent with Gruden as his caddie for the final seven holes of the round, prompting a split with swing coach Butch Harmon.
"My whole goal for him was he's got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life," Harmon said in March. "And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk."
While promoting a golf course in Missouri, Daly did a regional television interview wearing only blue jeans no shirt, no shoes while showing how to play one of the holes. Then at the Buick Open, during a pro-am that featured Kid Rock in overalls, Daly revved up the fans by hitting one drive off the top of a beer can.
He drew the most attention from the night in jail. Daly told the AP that his friends called police when they feared he had passed out, claiming they were unaware he sleeps with his eyes open when he's had too much to drink. Daly was put in jail under a state law called "Assistance to Intoxicated Persons."
"The picture didn't help," Daly said. "People think I got arrested when I didn't get arrested. It is what it is. I've got to deal with it and go on. Whatever reason the tour has, maybe a positive will come out of this."
CBS Sports analyst David Feherty, a recovering alcoholic, said after the North Carolina arrest he hoped Daly would get help.
"He's one of the most generous and one of the kindest souls," Feherty said. "The stories of his generosity to the people are legendary. The only person he has ever been unkind to is himself."
Daly has played four times overseas since the PGA Tour suspended him, tying for 17th in the Hong Kong Open and missing the cut at all three tournaments he played in Australia. In the Australian Open, he lost his patience with a fan who put a camera in his face during the round, smashing the camera against a tree.
"This is the lowest I've ever been," Daly said. "There's always light with me. Right now, my home tour is probably Europe. And I love the European tour. I always have. But my home is the United States. That's where I would rather play."
Daly said the publicity cost him his endorsements. His only deals are with Focus Golf Systems, which signed a 15-year agreement in 2006 to sell his golf clubs and apparel in Wal-Mart stores; and Fly Emirates, part of a deal that will pay his travel expenses when he plays the Abu Dhabi Championship, Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic in January.
"This has been the worst year," he said in the New Year's Eve interview. "One day left."
BORMIO, Italy: At least there's snow this year. An abundance of the fluffy white stuff from the Rockies to the Alps is helping the World Cup ski circuit weather the international economic downturn.
"Fortunately, we've had a fantastic start to the winter all over the world," said Sarah Lewis, secretary general for the International Ski Federation (FIS). "A poor winter would have made things more difficult."
The only races postponed so far this winter were due to wind or too much snow.
Still, with the financial crisis joining global warming as skiing's biggest concerns, there are worries for a sport that has huge logistical expenses and relies on industry sponsors.
"It's definitely becoming harder for ski companies now. Skiing is one of those disposable-income activities," said Ted Ligety, the Olympic combined champion from Park City, Utah. "For individual racers it's harder to get sponsors."
Organizers at most of the traditional stops on the circuit have contracts with sponsors signed several years in advance.
Lewis said that all the sponsorship contracts for the World Championships in Val d'Isere, France, in February, have also been signed.
"Of course we have to be ready to react, but we haven't had any specific organizers forced to pull out of events because the contracts have already been signed for this season," Lewis said.
But if the crisis continues, some companies may not be able to hold up their agreements.
Amer Sports, owner of the Salomon and Atomic ski brands, recently announced slow sales over the last two months, and Canada's Whistler ski resort, which will host the Winter Olympics in just over a year, said spending there is down by about 10 percent this season compared to last winter.
Veteran downhiller Marco Buechel said he heard that three companies wanted to sign on as bib sponsors for races in Switzerland but couldn't afford to.
"I was talking to the guy who makes these deals," Buechel said. "Everything was done and they just needed to sign and at the last moment they said no. They simply don't have the money anymore."
While he trains with the Swiss team, Buechel comes from Liechtenstein and races essentially as a one-man squad. He proposed a ban on summer training in the southern hemisphere.
"If nobody goes, we would all save a lot of money," he said. "We would train in Europe on the glaciers, it would be no problem at all.
"The ski companies would save a lot of money. For me alone, for the training in South America I had 60 pairs of skis. I paid more than $10,000 in extra luggage fees, and that was just one way."
However, as Buechel noted, the ban would not work well for the U.S. and Canadian ski teams.
"We would be screwed," Ligety said.
Organizers of the year-ending downhill in Bormio held Sunday said it costs them between $2.1 and $2.8 million to stage their race considered the most costly of the season because it is only one race in the most expensive discipline.
This season's World Cup calendar for men and women includes 72 races in 14 countries. The season had its traditional opener on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, in October, then moved to Levi, Finland, in November before a stretch of races in Canada and the United States.
The traditional races in the European Alps dominate January and February, with men's races in Kvitjfell, Norway, in March before the season's finals in Are, Sweden.
"We try to be attentive to travel. It's not like we're jumping right and left across the world," Lewis said. "When we have races in North America they are all grouped together, and the same for central Europe and Scandinavia. The finals in Are follow races in Norway. It's all based on logical travel arrangements."
There are also women's World Cup races scheduled for Bulgaria this season, and many of the circuit's top skiers including Ligety, Bode Miller, Aksel Lund Svindal and Hermann Maier were spending New Year's in Russia for a promotional parallel slalom on a huge scaffolding structure in downtown Moscow.
The event scheduled for Friday night was jointly organized by the FIS and the Russian federation as part of the buildup for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
"I think they should do more big city, dual stuff like that. It's cool for us the athletes and good for the sport, showing more people," Ligety said. "You can see Russia being a huge ski industry once it comes together."
Ligety has gotten an inside look at the industry through his startup goggle and sunglasses company Shred Optics.
"It doesn't help us that we're in the economy we're in, but we're still in the growth stage where it's still OK in this kind of market," he said.
In Val Gardena last week, FIS officials invited five top skiers Maier, Miller, Svindal, Didier Cuche and Erik Guay to a meeting where the athletes could make recommendations and express their worries in a formal setting for the first time.
"The guys were definitely discussing a few of our marketing rules that they were wondering why they existed," FIS official Mike Kertesz said. "In such a tough economic time they need to be as marketable as possible, and they had some good points.
"Bode was definitely at the forefront of creating a marketable product, and really working toward getting a package so we can sell it to the federations and sell it to sponsors and try to really work on getting a global plan."
Miller had been asking the FIS for years to listen to his recommendations.
"I've talked to those guys lots of times. This was more official, starting up a dialogue," Miller said. "I think it's a really positive step. If things get done, I don't know, we'll have to wait and see."