German ski crosser Daniela Maier has been stripped of her third place at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The FIS announced on Saturday morning that an independent appeals commission had upheld the appeal of Switzerland’s Fanny Smith.

Drama in the aftermath of Beijing: Daniela Maier was disqualified from third place in the women’s ski cross event. In the final on 17 February, the 25-year-old, who was in fourth and thus last place in the race, had been run in front of by the Swiss Fanny Smith after the final jump, which meant that the German lacked speed and could no longer pass her competitors. After the race, the Swiss was given a time penalty in a controversial decision by the race jury, so Maier ended up on the podium after all.

After the race, Smith had announced her intention to lodge a protest, but her coach did not see much chance of success. The appeal commission of the FIS ski federation justified the decision against Maier after several video evaluations with the fact that the proximity of the two racers at the decisive moment was responsible for the German being obstructed. The Swiss could not have prevented the contact. Thus, the appeal of the Swiss ski cross team was upheld.

The German Ski Federation, in turn, does not want to accept this decision. “We are currently examining the legal steps – either to the Fis Court or, if necessary, to the International Sports Court Cas,” said President Franz Steinle when asked by dpa.

Smith “hurts it” for Maier

Smith expressed sympathy for her German competitor after the decision. “Of course I am relieved about this decision,” Smith said. “Because I was always convinced that I had not made a mistake. But at the same time it hurts me for Daniela Maier, who is now the one who suffers from the situation,” said the 29-year-old from Aigle in Switzerland.