As this season’s final set of men’s World Cup races approaches this weekend, the FIS, the local organizing committee in Kranjska Gora, and the Slovenian Ministry of Health have made some tough decisions in order to protect the athletes, their staff, the media, and other entities from the coronavirus.
Notably, the Italian men’s tech team will not be participating in the event. At this time, the Italian federation has stopped all activities, including training and competition. This stoppage, however, is not expected to prevent the women from racing in Are, Sweden, according to reports.
The Slovenian Ministry of Health made a decision that all sporting events must take place without the presence of an audience. Therefore, the final men’s races of the season, where the final globes for giant slalom, slalom, and overall titles will be awarded, will be held without spectators. Currently, the presence of on-site media has not been limited. However, a set of measures will be implemented to minimize interaction between athletes, teams, and accredited personnel. Press conferences post-race and award ceremonies have already been canceled.
An email has been distributed to the press instructing them to only attend the event if they are “perfectly healthy and do not show any signs of cold or other illness.” In addition, a questionnaire was distributed by the local organizing committee and the FIS asking journalists to guarantee their medical condition is suitable and will not harm the competitors.
The FIS and the organizing committee have gone out of their way to take extra precautions to protect participants in Kranjska Gora, yet there is still disappointment surrounding the event. Sweden’s Andre Myhrer intends on returning after his final race in Kranjska Gora. After an Italian athlete, Luca de Aliprandini, took to social media to make the announcement that he would not be competing, his Norwegian colleague, Leif Nestvold-Haugen, took the opportunity to express concerns about the races going forward.
“FIS alpine, if it’s not safe for the Italians is it safe for the rest of us?” he asked in his Instagram story. “I mean, honestly I wanna race, but to get to the next race we all have to either drive or fly through the affected areas. Italy is not the only affected area in Europe anymore. And after having raced down here I most likely would have to put myself in a 14 day quarantine in a hotel when I get back home before I can see my family and friends again, according to Norwegian health authorities.”
“Why,” he continued. “I’ve been to Japan, Austria, Germany, and Norway in the last 14 days and we have staff on the team that has spent time in Italy. Not afraid to get sick myself, but I wouldn’t want to give this virus to my grandmother when I get home!”
Aside from Kranjska Gora, FIS has also canceled Europa Cup finals that were to be held in Saalbach and Reiteralm, Austria from March 16-22 due to regulations imposed by national authorities.