Alpine skiing: Brignone is World Cup champion after cancellations
(Reuters) – Italy’s Federica Brignone was confirmed as women’s Alpine skiing overall World Cup champion on Wednesday when the final races of the season in Sweden were canceled after a member of the sponsor support staff tested positive for coronavirus.
The cancellation of a parallel slalom, giant slalom and slalom in Are ended the reign of three-times champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who had hoped to return after more than a month out following the death of her father.
The governing FIS said in a statement that the cancellation came after new recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
“The races in Are will not be replaced on the World Cup calendar and the 2019-2020 season is officially finished for the women,” the FIS added.
The World Cup finals scheduled for the Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo had already been canceled due to the coronavirus.
FIS said three members of the World Cup sponsor support team in Are were in quarantine after experiencing symptoms of the virus, without coming into contact with anyone in the Swedish resort.
One member who had shown symptoms in the Norwegian resort of Kvitfjell tested positive on Wednesday.
“Thanks to the procedures in place, and quick action by the Norwegian and Swedish medical staff, it is not anticipated that persons associated with the men’s or women’s Alpine World Cup have been affected,” FIS said.
Olympic bronze medallist Brignone is the first Italian skier to win an overall World Cup title since Alberto Tomba in 1995 and the first Italian woman.
She also won the giant slalom and combined World Cup globes.
Shiffrin, whose father Jeff died in an accident at home in Colorado on Feb. 2 aged 65, had been 153 points behind Brignone in the overall standings with 300 points still to be won.
“I have some wonderful memories with my dad here during the World Cup finals and world champs, so I’ve been looking forward to returning for these races,” the double Olympic champion said on Instagram.
“I still have no real goals or expectations. I just would like to try and race again before the end of the season.”
Shiffrin also warned fans that her interactions would be limited.
“No selfies, autographs, hugs, high fives, handshakes or kiss greetings, and limited interviews if any,” she said.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)
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