Alpine skier Luitz faces losing World Cup title over oxygen use

The FIS opened an investigation after Luitz, 26, was pictured inhaling oxygen between runs during the December 2 race, which saw him claim his maiden World Cup title.

If Luitz — who had only just returned to the slopes after a year out with injury — is deprived of the win, victory in Beaver Creek would pass to Austrian ace Marcel Hirscher.   -  AP

Alpine skier Stefan Luitz stands to be stripped of his giant slalom win at Beaver Creek after the International Ski Federation (FIS) recommended he be disqualified for using an oxygen mask, the German Ski Federation said Friday.

The FIS opened an investigation after Luitz, 26, was pictured inhaling oxygen between runs during the December 2 race, which saw him claim his maiden World Cup title.

The German Ski Federation (DSV) said it had been informed of the decision to disqualify Luitz in an email on Thursday evening. It has 15 days to respond to the move.

“We have two options. Either we accept it, or we appeal,” DSV's Alpine director Wolfgang Maier said in comments to AFP's sports subsidiary SID.

The practice of using oxygen cylinders in competition is not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) but it has been banned by the FIS since June 2016, a point specified in the federation's anti-doping regulations.

The German team has admitted it made an error in allowing Luitz to use oxygen.

“We took, coaches and doctors, an extremely stupid decision,” team manager Mathias Berthold told reporters in early December.

If Luitz — who had only just returned to the slopes after a year out with injury — is deprived of the win, victory in Beaver Creek would pass to Austrian ace Marcel Hirscher.