WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Austrian skier Benjamin Raich will miss the super-combined at the Sochi Olympics unless the sport's ruling body makes an exception and lets the 2006 two-time gold medalist compete despite having failed to qualify.
The Austrian ski team said Wednesday it will ask the International Ski Federation for the exception for Raich on medical grounds.
Persistent back problems have forced Raich to pull out of Friday's World Cup super-combined in Wengen — his last chance of meeting the Olympic qualifying criteria set by FIS.
"It was a very tough decision but it would be useless (to start)," Raich said.
Competitors need at least three World Cup downhill results since 2012 to be allowed to start, but Raich has just two — at Lake Louise in 2012 and at the Wengen super-combined last year.
Raich also raced the downhill portion of the super-combined at last year's world championships in Schladming, but that doesn't count as an official result as he failed to finish the following slalom run.
"Unfortunately, he is not able to get a super-combined start," Austria men's head coach Mathias Berthold told The Associated Press. "He actually had three downhill results but one didn't count ... That's the problem we have."
The Austrian ski federation had already anticipated the issue and organized a national super-combined championship earlier this month. However, Raich had to skip that event as well because of his injury.