The ban on the use of fluoride has already led to disqualifications and fines, and this is only the beginning of the season.
The new rules were designed to cleanse skiing of so-called technical doping, which is the use of fluoride in lubricants. The ban has been pushed for over the past few years and is finally being pushed through.
However, so far the main victims of the innovation have been the Norwegians. And at the moment, it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better for them.
If this continues, then there will simply be no one to go to the start of the races.
Immediately a scandal
Initially, they wanted to ban fluorine lubricants back in the 2019/20 season, but then there was no properly functioning ski testing device. In general, both the International Biathlon Union (IBU) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) really liked the initiative. For this reason, work on the equipment continued continuously.
The problem was that the progress of such devices remained questionable. They showed, to put it mildly, inaccurate results. For example, they determined the presence of fluoride on those pairs of skis where it was not present in principle. And vice versa. Even the same Norwegian biathlon team admitted that it is not difficult to deceive the device. Nevertheless, new rules were introduced, and from this season, detection of traces of fluoride on skis, poles and covers automatically means disqualification.
The first problems did not have to wait long. At the opening stage of the Alpine Skiing World Cup, the star athlete from Norway, Ranhild Mowinkel, a medalist at the Olympic Games and World Championships, was disqualified. The girl took sixth position after the first attempt, but she was simply not allowed to reach the second. The reason is the huge amount of fluoride in skis. The norm was exceeded ten times!
The Norwegian insisted that she did not know how this could happen. She sobbed on camera and seemed completely sincere in her pain. But the judges and organizers didn’t care much about this. The athlete was disqualified and deprived of rating points, which seriously complicated life at the next stages of the World Cup.
Ranhild Mowinkel / Photo: © NurPhoto / Contributor / NurPhoto / Gettyimages.ru
Once again the Norwegians are in trouble.
Then things got even more interesting. In the second weekend of alpine skiing in Finland, the organizers completely abandoned fluoride testing of skis. The fact is that in this country the sports leadership refused to introduce a ban on fluoride-containing ointments at domestic competitions. Apparently, they took advantage of this loophole.
After some time, the problems transferred to ski racing. According to NRK, Norwegian skier Philip Glittenberg Holt was not allowed to start the 10 km race in Beitostolen due to the use of fluoride in the preparation of skis.
“I checked my skis and I can assure you that I didn’t do anything to them.” This is just complete stupidity. I don’t even know what I can say now, I can’t find the right words. It turns out that I was the only athlete who was not allowed to start,” said Holt.
Norwegian Ski Association event manager Erik Husby spoke to NRK and said there was no doubt that Holt was not allowed to start for obvious reasons.
– Everything is very clear here – we found traces of fluorine. The skis were tested on three different devices at once, and they all showed the same result. I have to report with regret that fluoride was on a larger surface of the skis. This case was the first at the competition in Beitostolen, noted Husby.
Photo: © Pal Golberg / Getty Images Sport / Gettyimages.ru
What does all this threaten?
Here it is necessary to immediately clarify that the Norwegians purchased instruments for determining fluorine similar to those used in FIS. This was done to avoid possible errors. So there can be two explanations for what happened. Either the devices are lying, or the skier (or service crew) actually used prohibited ointments. The Norwegians will have a long time to figure this out, otherwise the chaos will be unstoppable.
At the same prestigious tournament in Beitostolen, where, in addition to the Norwegians, representatives of other countries competed, another high-profile incident occurred. Two skiers were fined for being late turning in their skis for a fluoride test. They turned out to be Norwegians Sander Lillebudale and four-time world champion Paul Golberg. So far, for them everything has been limited to a warning and a fine. But that’s it for now.
Swedish skiers are also sounding the alarm.
“Now they have introduced another rule, the violation of which will be punished. For example, if someone wants to sabotage, he will find such an opportunity. Especially now, when no one yet knows exactly how everything works,” said two-time world champion Maya Dahlqvist.
It looks like there will be a lot of sensations and scandals over fluoride in the upcoming season. At least some entertainment in the absence of normal competition.