Matt breaks record as doping hits Sochi
By Dave James ,AFP February 24, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
SOCHI, Russia -- Mario Matt became the oldest Olympic skiing champion on Saturday when he won a chaotic men's slalom while the penultimate day of the Sochi Games saw a fourth positive dope test.
The 34-year-old Matt, a two-time slalom world champion, proved unbeatable over the two runs, finishing with a combined time of 1minute 41.84 seconds to close the skiing competition.
His Austrian compatriot Marcel Hirscher, the reigning world champion, finished second at 0.28 seconds, with young Norwegian sensation Henrik Kristoffersen taking bronze at 0.83 seconds.
While Matt beat Norwegian legend Kjetil Andre Aamodt for the mantle of oldest winner, 19-year-old Kristoffersen became the youngest Olympic medalist in men's alpine skiing.
"You can tell yourself this is just a training run but when it works out like this it is incredible," said Matt, who won his first world championship gold in 2001.
A legion of favorites failed to finish the second run including Felix Neureuther, Alexis Pinturault and newly crowned giant slalom champion Ted Ligety.
"(It's) borderline unsportsmanlike to set those kinds of courses on these kinds of hills," complained Ligety.
Away from the slopes, the Olympics were hit by two more doping cases.
Ukrainian cross country skier Marina Lisogor tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine.
The Ukrainian Olympic Committee said Lisogor, 30, told a disciplinary hearing that she had unwittingly consumed the substance in a medicine.
"I ask forgiveness from those who will see this and be disappointed or upset. But there was no intent or desire to take a banned substance," she said.
Later Saturday, the International Olympic Committee said that Latvian ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs had been kicked out of the Games for testing positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine.
The cases came a day after news of failed tests for German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsleigh athlete William Frullani.
The last day on Sunday will determine who tops the medals table. Hosts Russia are on top of the medals table with 11 golds and 29 medals, with Norway also on 11 gold with a total of 26.
Saturday was also a day of protests with the Korean Skating Union asking the International Skating Union to review the judging that saw women's figure skate gold go to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova rather than Kim Yu-na.
France's podium sweep in the freestyle ski cross was also in jeopardy after Canada and Slovenia protested to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that the winners had altered the aerodynamic features of the competitors' trousers.
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