Skiing: Whistleblower Cuche slates FIS over fine

An emotional Didier Cuche of Switzerland criticised race officials after he won the World Cup super-G here in Norway yesterday, following the International Ski Federation's decision to fine the defending downhill champion for threatening a referee.

To claim his first super-G victory of the season, the 36-year-old Cuche edged out two Austrians by completing the Olympiabakken course in 1min 33.05sec. Klaus Kroell was second, 0.30sec behind, with Joachim Puchner a further 0.04sec back.

It was a remarkable recovery for the veteran after the FIS announced on Saturday that it would fine him 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,350) and issue a written warning for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

"This is the first win of my career that I can't enjoy," said Cuche. "I've hardly slept the last few nights and it was really hard to focus."

Cuche, going as No 22, turned the race on its head after the Austrians Puchner, Hannes Reichelt and Michael Walchhofer, Saturday's downhill winner, had dominated the podium places. Kroell, second in Saturday's downhill, then gave the Swiss some anxious moments as he challenged his split times in his charge down the hill. Cuche's victory seemed certain after the 30 top skiers had raced, but Sweden's Hans Olsson added a late twist by almost matching the leader's split times at the top of the hill before dropping back to sixth.

According to the FIS, Cuche had phoned the race director Gunter Hujara on Thursday evening to complain about a dangerous jump and said: "If you don't take the jump down and anything happens, I will not hesitate to attack you in public."

Cuche, however, said the referee had over-reacted. As a member of the FIS Athletes Commission, the defending World Cup downhill champion said he had called Hujara to reiterate the concerns of several racers over a potentially dangerous jump at the top of the course. "He wasn't prepared to do anything," Cuche said. "I told him that if anything happened at that jump, he couldn't expect me not to say I had told him before the race what could happen.

"He completely flipped out and said I was attacking him and threatening him and I said: 'No, I'm not, I'm just telling you that if something happens, I'm going to say that I told you'."

Cuche resigned from the commission on Saturday, arguing it was pointless for him to speak out on behalf of his fellow skiers if the governing body ignored their concerns. "I was really sad yesterday, not because of my seventh place (in the downhill) but because of the way the FIS and Gunter Hujara are acting with me."

The win took Cuche past the injured Georg Streitberger of Austria in the overall super-G standings, but he threatened that he might retire after next week's World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. "I'm almost turning 37, I'm not a kid any more, and if Gunter just wants to scream at me every time I say something then I'm in the wrong place."

Ivica Kostelic may have won the overall World Cup title on Saturday, but was not resting on his laurels yesterday. Ever the competitor, the Croat let fly with an angry oath in the finishing area after coming in eighth – much to the amusement of his team.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links