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Update on Cross-Country Rankings after CAS Ruling on Sundby

release by FIS XC

July 23, 2016 – By a decision of July 11, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against Norwegian cross-country skier Martin Johnsrud Sundby and the International Ski Federation (FIS) made against a decision of the FIS Doping Panel on September 4, 2015. The case concerned the inhalation of salbutamol which is a standard therapy against asthma symptoms.

The WADA accredited laboratory reported adverse analytical findings on samples taken on December 13, 2014 in Davos (SUI) and on January 8, 2015 in Toblach (ITA), which exceeded the applicable reporting limits.

As a result Sundby’s competitive results in Davos (December 13, 2014 – 15km classic) and Toblach (January 8, 2015 – 25 km free pursuit) and consequentially the FIS Tour de Ski 2015 have been disqualified, with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

CAS decision on Martin Johnsrud SundbyThe impact on the 2014/15 FIS Cross Country Cup World Cup standings and FIS Tour de Ski standings are as follows:

  • Sundby forfeits the 143 points he earned for the two races where he has been disqualified – 100 World Cup points for the victory in Davos and 43 points for his third place finish in Toblach.
  • With the Sundby disqualification on the December 13, 2014, the podium for the 15 km classic in Davos (SUI)  is now as follows: 1. Didrik Toenseth (NOR); 2. Dario Cologna (SUI); 3. Sjur Roethe (NOR).
  • With the Sundby disqualification at the January 8, 2015 in the 25km pursuit in Toblach (ITA), the podium for that race is now as follows: 1. Petter Northug JR. (NOR); 2. Calle Halfvarsson (SWE); 3. Evgeniy Belov (RUS).
  • In accordance with the Tour de Ski regulations, Sundby also forfeits his overall 2015 Tour de Ski victory and 400 World Cup points he earned for it as well as prize money of CHF 108’000. The new standings for the 2015 Tour de Ski are as follows: 1) Petter Northug JR. (NOR); 2. Evgeniy Belov (RUS); 3. Calle Halfvarsson (SWE).
  • The breakdown of prize money from the Tour de Ski 2015 that Sundby has to return for redistribution to the newly ranked athletes is as follows: CHF 90,000 or first place in the Tour de Ski, CHF 2,000 from the third place of the Tour de Ski sprint standings and the World Cup earnings for the two races, CHF 15,000 for the victory in Davos and CHF 1,000 for the third place finish in Toblach.
  • Additionally, Sundby forfeits the World Cup points and prize money from the remaining Tour de Ski races after Toblach, namely the last two stages in Val di Fiemme in which he finished 8th and 3rd. This amounts to a further 73 World Cup points and CHF 1,000 in prize money.
  • The final 2014/15 FIS Cross Country World Cup standings have also been recalculated and are as follows: 1. Dario Cologna (SUI) – 1,103 points; Petter Northug JR. (NOR) – 1,047 points; Calle Halfvarsson (SWE) – 897 points. Sundby moves down to sixth place in the overall World Cup standings with 748 points and forfeits CHF 22,275 in the overall World Cup prize money standings.
  • In total, Sundby forfeits 616 World Cup points for the 2014/15 season and CHF 131,275 in prize money. This includes all races directly and indirectly affected by the CAS decision.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    69% (at least) of Norwegian medals won in cross country skiing have been won by skiers ‘suffering’ from asthma. I am willing to bet that number is actually higher.–69-prosent-av-norske-OL-medaljer-i-langrenn-er-tatt-av-lopere-med-astma-788032_1.snd

    They’ve only counted the skiers who have admitted they are using medication against asthma. A lot of the remaing medalists have in different interviews gone public with asthma problems but never admitted using medication. They are not counted. Another interesting thing in the article is the information around heptathlete Ida Marcusson. She and her coach went public with criticism when she was screened for asthma by Olympiatoppen (Norwegian Olympic Center) in 2010 without having any problems whatsoever. She felt there was an urge from Olympiatoppen for her to show signs of asthma and thus being able to use asthma medication.

  2. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    Edit: 69% (42 out of 61) of medals since 1992.

  3. hiballer, sk, Canada says:

    Some thoughts for discussion on Salbutemol and Asthma in cross country skiing:

    “We are all asthmatics, most of us have just not encountered our trigger yet.” – Dr. G. Ford, Univ. of Calgary, GSK presentation 1998.

    All humans will react (to varying degrees) to a methacholine challenge. The reaction to this challenge, is wholly consistent with asthma, and can be treated with inhaling salbutemol (Short acting Beta Agonists) which is used to treat acute asthma symptoms. Therefore, all humans can be asthmatics.

    Undergoing aerobic and (especially) anaerobic exercise in dry freezing air is a substantial trigger for asthma.

    Having asthma, is in no way, an advantage in cross country skiing. If one is in need of repeated inhalations of short acting beta agonists (ie Ventolin) to treat acute exacerbations of asthma, then they should be considered an “uncontrolled” asthmatic. The advice to physicians: If your patient is going to their Ventolin often, then something is wrong. It is time to adjust their treatment regime.

    I would think, that having an uncontrolled asthmatic competing in a cross country ski race is, potentially, a recipe for disaster. At best, the individual would be further damaging themselves.

    In my opinion, asthma and cross country skiing are linked. If you routinely compete at cross country skiing (with training), then you have a much greater chance of having asthma. This observation is based solely on anecdotal evidence, namely, the amount of asthmatic “coughing attacks” that I see upon the completion of cross country ski races. This warrants increased study, but it makes intuitive sense; spend enough time exposing yourself to a trigger, and you will eventually develop symptoms.

    In reading the CAS decision, I am amazed at the dosing that M.Sundby was taking to combat his symptoms. He was, for sure, uncontrolled within my understanding. I feel terrible that any athlete should compete while being so sick. I firmly believe that uncontrolled asthmatics should not be allowed to race until they are healthy and in control of their asthma. This may mean that they take a few ventolin puffs prior to performance as part of a prophylactic (100-200 mgm’s) treatment strategy, but to use it up to the WADA allowed limit would certainly indicate a serious lack of control of symptoms.

    I am going to look at WADA’s stance on the use of Long acting beta agonists and corticosteroids. If they are restrictive, perhaps they have a role in this, as they may well prevent asthmatic athlete’s from gaining control over their symptoms.

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