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Kitt's Aspen Victory Is Overturned by Ski Federation Officials : Skiing: Controversial FIS ruling strips American of his second World Cup downhill title. Decision is blasted as "corrupt" by Colorado race organizer.

March 09, 1995|From Associated Press

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The International Ski Federation announced Wednesday that it was overturning the unanimous vote of the Aspen race jury that awarded victory to American skier AJ Kitt in Sunday's World Cup downhill race at Aspen, Colo.

The official in charge of the race immediately blasted the FIS decision, calling it an example of the corruption that dominates skiing's ruling body.

"I'm mad, I'm livid. It's unfair, it's corrupt," said Tom Anderson.

Kitt was proclaimed winner of the race after it was stopped Sunday with Kitt holding a huge lead after 31 skiers had competed.

Anderson said two FIS officials on the Aspen jury agreed the race should be counted. It's the second time in three years the FIS has canceled the Aspen America's Downhill with Kitt holding a commanding lead.

There was no immediate comment from Kitt on Wednesday's decision. He made clear on Sunday that he felt vindicated.

"I got my revenge today," he told reporters after taking the Andre Roch Cup for the victory that has now been overturned.

Anderson said heavy snow and poor visibility were a problem, but the conditions were the same for all racers.

"We checked the course after every two racers" to make sure it was safe, he said.

He said the FIS decision will put pressure on race officials to cancel virtually every race if "there's a cloud in the sky, a rut on the course or a racer's goggle is going to fog."

Anderson said FIS officials present in Aspen told him the race probably would be annulled, and their bosses probably wouldn't even ask them for their opinions.

He said he would have flown to Europe "in two seconds if I had been given a chance" to defend the decision.

France protested the decision to FIS. Austrian Armin Assinger's second place meant he overtook France's Luc Alphand in the downhill standings.

FIS headquarters did not reveal how many of its 18 board members voted in favor of holding the race again.

The FIS decision means the race will be held again next weekend in Norway.

The prize money already has been awarded, however, to Kitt, Assinger of Austria and Lasse Kjus of the Norway.

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