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FIS tweaks Olympic qualification rules

Ted Ligety is one racer who will benefit from the rule change. (GEPA/ Christian Walgram)

Ted Ligety is one racer who will benefit from the rule change. (GEPA/ Christian Walgram)

At the urging of several national ski federations, the FIS has modified some of the Olympic qualification rules it had previously revamped earlier this season to better accommodate smaller alpine nations.

In order to qualify for each discipline at the Winter Olympic Games, the rules required athletes to compete in at least three separate races per discipline over the course of this season and last. The problem was there were just three combined races held for each gender last season, and none have been held this season. Ironically, the world champion in combined, American Ted Ligety, was among the skiers who could not meet this criteria.

The FIS addressed the issue Tuesday by making downhill races sufficient to qualify for the combined, allowing Ligety to compete in Sochi, as well as Austrian stars Anna Fenninger and Kathrin Zettel.

There are still skiers missing the criteria, notably Austrian Benjamin Raich and American Bode Miller, who had been sidelined by injury. The FIS said a separate eligibility panel of specialists will decide injury cases.

In the technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, five results are required.

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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