Slovenia Maze farewell race in doubt over sponsorship row
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) The symbolic farewell race of Slovenian ski star Tina Maze is in doubt because of her sponsorship row with the national skiing federation.
The two-time Olympic champion has quit the sport but planned one more appearance, at the World Cup giant slalom on home snow in Maribor on Jan. 7.
The Slovenian Skiing Federation on Wednesday suggested that Maze has made her final race for the national team conditional on her pocketing 90,000 euros ($95,700) in sponsorship funds.
The federation said she can appear only in the Slovenian colors with emblems of the team sponsors. Maze wants to wear a jersey with the insignia of her own sponsors.
''The use of other sponsors on the competition jersey would be in direct breach of obligations to (our) sponsors, and could seriously jeopardize cooperation and consequently the sports' financial stability,'' the federation said in a statement carried by state news agency STA.
The federation said ''once the competitor meets the standards, she will be registered'' for the race.
Maze, 33, announced her retirement in October after she took a year off from the World Cup circuit to reach a final decision. She wanted to appear one last time to say goodbye to her fans in Maribor, where she made her World Cup debut in 1999 at the age of 15.
Maze had 26 World Cup victories, 81 podium results, four world championships, and two Olympic gold medals.