Around four hours after the end of the Super-G, which the Swiss local hero Marko Odermatt had won, the good news for Austrian ski fans arrived. Kriechmayr, so far the last Austrian downhill winner in Wengen in 2019, is allowed to start in the shortened downhill run on Friday and in the classic over 4,480 meters length due to a special permission from the jury. The longest downhill in the world is making a comeback after the 2021 Lauberhorn races could not take place in Wengen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 30-year-old only arrived in Wengen on Wednesday evening after his coronavirus quarantine and had therefore missed the downhill training runs on Tuesday and Wednesday. Normally it would not be possible to start on the slopes. However, FIS race director Markus Waldner stated in the team captains’ meeting on Thursday evening that Kriechmayr was allowed to start on the basis of a jury decision.
There is no rule according to which a racer has to complete full training runs, said Waldner. The athlete only has to be on the list and drive out of the start house, then he can stop the run immediately. Kriechmayr will take to the track on Friday at 9.45 a.m. from the original start of the Lauberhorn descent, Waldner said. After that, the Upper Austrian will stop immediately and then contest the first of the two planned races.
“FIS has decided in favor of the sport”
Waldner resolutely opposed critical voices that accused the FIS of preferring the Austrian over other drivers in the same situations. “We didn’t make the decision because it’s Mr. Kriechmayr who is a world champion and has won here. We would make the same decision for every runner because we are living in very complicated times of the Covid pandemic, “said the South Tyrolean in the direction of some coaches from other nations. “We want to avoid that a runner cannot start because of this damn Covid.”
ÖSV racing director Andreas Puelacher said that it was not a matter of a special permit for Austria. “It’s a rule that the jury can make. It is compliant, ”he affirmed. The coronavirus problem needs “special decisions”. Although there was a brief heated discussion in the team captains’ meeting and the French representatives, among others, openly criticized Waldner, according to Puelacher, no nation has initially protested the jury’s decision: “The FIS decided in favor of the sport and the athlete. Something like that can happen all the time now. “
Mild course, big impact
Kriechmayr had tested positive for the corona virus over the weekend. The 30-year-old went through an extremely mild course and had no symptoms. “I was very healthy,” said the Upper Austrian. “I was very surprised by my positive test result.” After he had received a negative result on Sunday and felt in top shape, the desire was great to travel to Wengen on Monday, as originally planned.
After uploading a negative test in the online system of the Ski World Association FIS, his accreditation was ready for collection in the Bernese Oberland. However, it was not possible for Kriechmayr to end his quarantine prematurely due to the current legal situation in Austria. Countless phone calls in the past few days did nothing to change that.
“Of course I hoped. But I already understand the authorities that they are no exception for me. That is a good and right thing to do, ”said Kriechmayr. “There are so many in Austria who are in quarantine and miss important events in life because of this. I understand that no exception is made for me. I was able to test myself yesterday and was happy that I was allowed to drive the Super-G in some cases. “
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Alpine skiing: FIS is an exception at Kriechmayr