February 9, 2015 / 8:50 PM / 4 years ago

Pyeongchang Olympic test events in doubt, FIS chief

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - It is “almost impossible” that ski and snowboard test events for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics scheduled for next year will go ahead as planned, the president of the International Ski Federation (FIS) told Reuters on Monday.

Gian Franco-Kasper, the longtime (FIS) president and influential International Olympic Committee member, said political squabbling and proposed venue changes could result in the postponement of a number of test events.

“We had them here, a big delegation (Pyeongchang organizers) and now they think about changing snowboard, freestyle, everything, although it is almost finished,” Kasper said during a break in competition at the alpine ski world championships.

“The new places make test events almost impossible, next year, particularly the alpine.”

Pyeongchang’s preparations for the first Asian winter Olympics outside Japan have been hit by budget problems and delays in some venues.

The FIS has tentatively penciled in a men’s downhill and Super-G for the South Korea winter resort on next year’s World Cup schedule.

A snowboard halfpipe and parallel slalom World Cup scheduled for next season in Pyeongchang and a freestyle test event at Phoenix Park are also in jeopardy, Kasper said.

In December, Reuters reported that Pyeongchang organisers and two international federations were discussing the possibility of moving some sliding competitions from the South Korean city to Japan.

“We had all the promises but nothing happens,” charged Kasper. “There is a political background, a battle between who is paying the government of the province or the state.

“They have extreme delays and still a lot of unanswered questions, problems which are not solved and as it looks (now) not solved within the next year. So we all have serious doubts.

“It will work out but right now it doesn’t look too good.”

Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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