Two skiers have received more than $5,000 in overdue prize money owed to them after the disqualification of a Russian skier for doping in 2009.
This spring, both Finland’s Sami Jauhojaervi and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Bauer confirmed to FasterSkier that they had each received some 2,200 Swiss francs apiece from the International Ski Federation (FIS), for their performances in the 2009 edition of the Tour de Ski.
Jauhojaervi and Bauer finished 10th and 11th, respectively, in the overall standings of the race, and had been elevated one position after Russian Evgeni Dementiev’s ninth place was voided due to his use of EPO, a banned blood-boosting drug.
A little-known FIS rule required that Dementiev’s prize money be confiscated and distributed retroactively to Jauhojaervi and Bauer, but the case had stalled until a FasterSkier investigation highlighted it in November.
In an interview last week, FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis acknowledged that there had been an “oversight” in her organization, which she attributed to the relative rarity of such cases, and their complexity.
“It’s such an ad hoc, unusual thing to happen—it just needs to be better followed-through,” she said. “You’ve got multiple little chains there, where there can be a breakdown. Clearly, it didn’t work as well as it should.”
Dementiev’s case was especially drawn out: because of procedural hurdles, it was more than six months before he was suspended based on the results of a drug test that occurred in January, 2009.
By that point, Bauer said, the Tour results had dropped off his radar, and it hadn’t occurred to him to ask after the prize money. In an interview in Oslo in March, he called on FIS to do a better job of overseeing the redistribution process.
“I think that they have to work on it,” he said. “It was not the first case—and I’m sure it will not be the last case.”
FIS officials had previously noted that neither Bauer nor Jauhojaervi—nor their national ski associations—had approached the federation about the missing prize money in the period following Dementiev’s disqualification. But in the interview, Lewis said that the responsibility for follow-up ultimately lay with her organization, not the skiers themselves.
“It’s not the athletes who have to initiate the process,” she said. “The athletes…should expect that the process will be managed by FIS.”
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.