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Alpine skiing: Skiing not victim of doping, rigged results - Svindal

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Alpine skiing is unlikely to be tainted by either doping or result-rigging, newly-crowned world downhill ski champion Aksel Lund Svindal said Saturday.

Cycling has been left reeling in recent months by startling revelations of a culture of systematic doping by former icon Lance Armstrong, and a further report has alleged widespread drug abuse in Australian sport.

Football, meanwhile, has been plagued by news that nearly 700 games, mainly in Europe, had been targeted by Asian-based match-fixing syndicates.

But Norwegian Svindal said alpine skiing was unlikely to feature as a sport in which racers would dope, adding that the practicalities of the winter pastime did not lend themselves to result-rigging.

"If I say no way, I'm naive," Svindal said of fixing results. "I think that's also why match fixing has gone as far as it's gone in football, because people have been naive, even in Norway we've had it.

"Here on the mountain, I have a hard time seeing how you would make money out of it. You'd have to pay off so many people to have the right guy winning."

And then, you could have a bet-heavy skier popping out of his ski and crashing at an inopportune moment or rapidly changing weather conditions putting pay to any of the best-laid plans, Svindal said, comparing the difference to simply paying off a football goalkeeper.

"If you say no immediately, you're naive, but if you think about it for five to 10 seconds then I think it's not that naive anymore because for anyone to fix something, someone has to gain from it.

"There are so many people to pay off before you can gain in skiing, so I think you can be pretty confident."

Turning to doping issues, Svindal said: "Again if we say no, we're naive.

"They only test urine here, but I think they should also test blood because that's even more stuff to test.

Svindal said it was highly improbable that substances like banned blood booster EPO would ever be used by skiers.

"As a ski racer if you take EPO, you're not guaranteed to go faster. It's like you play poker and there's no money on the table and you go all in when you bluff," he said.

"There's nothing to gain from it. Why take the biggest risk you can possibly take when the result is not guaranteed?

"I'm glad we're testing for it but the maths just don't add up for skiing."

Svindal expressed total confidence that his rivals were clean.

"The best part is that if I were fourth today, there's no reason for me to think that those three guys were probably doping so I was the right winner because you can't dope yourself to be a better skier," he contended.

"So I never have to think about whether this was a fair race, or are those guys clean, they were just the better skiers that day.

"I'm happy that I do a sport where no one has to send me a gold medal in the mail because the guy was caught for doping after."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130209/alpine-skiing-skiing-not-victim-doping-rigged-results-svindal