Russian skier waits for Olympic invite in clean Alpine team
WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Placing second in a World Cup race on Friday, unheralded Russian skier Pavel Trikhichev looked a candidate for an Olympic medal next month.
Now he needs the International Olympic Committee to let him try.
Four weeks before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games, an IOC panel is assessing which Russians to invite that have not been tainted by doping and the 2014 Sochi Olympic scandal.
Trikhichev said after his career-best result he will be good to go to South Korea.
“It’s not possible to have doping in Alpine skiing,” Trikhichev said in English at a news conference after being runner-up in an Alpine combined event at storied Swiss venue Wengen.
He meant that technical skills demanded by his sport could not be gained with chemical help.
“So I am sure Russian (Alpine) athletes are totally clear,” said Trikhichev, whose more famous teammate Alexander Khoroshilov has been an elite slalom racer for four years.
The Sochi scandal led the IOC to disqualify 43 Russian athletes for links to a state-backed doping program for their home Winter Games. No Alpine skier has been implicated, and 42 appeal cases are being processed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport this month.
Still, the weight of cases in cross-country skiing, biathlon, bobsled, luge, skeleton, women’s ice hockey and speed skating has left Alpine skiers like Trikhichev at risk of missing the Olympics.
The IOC panel has not detailed every criteria for joining the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” team.
Trikhichev suggested Friday each athlete should have passed at least five doping controls in the past year.
“I have for the last half-year (done) eight doping tests so it’s no question for me,” said the 25-year-old racer, who joined the international World Cup circuit in 2013. “We should wait for (a) decision from IOC.”
The IOC has promised to publish the official OAR team list before the Jan. 28 entry deadline.
Raising his sights after Friday’s race, won by Frenchman Victor Muffat-Jeandet, Trikhichev said he will now target top-10 finishes instead of top 15.
His previous best World Cup result was 16th, in giant slalom, and his best in four Sochi Olympic events was 24th in super-combined.
“I do my job,” he told international media. “I am concentrating on World Cup and not Olympics because Olympics is so far (away) still.”
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