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Why a Norwegian world champion skier has switched his allegiance to Brazil

AFP
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Why a Norwegian world champion skier has switched his allegiance to Brazil
Lucas Braathen has switched his allegiance to Brazil after a dispute with the Norwegian federation. File photo: Norway's Lucas Braathen kisses his globe after winning the Men's Slalom general standing of the FIS Ski World Cup Finals in El Tarter, Andorra on March 19, 2023. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

Norwegian skier Lucas Braathen, last season's World Cup slalom champion, revealed Thursday he will represent his mother's country Brazil next season after a dispute with his national federation.

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Braathen announced his shock retirement last October aged just 23 following a long-running conflict with the Norwegian federation over athlete image rights, which escalated when he took part in a photo shoot for a clothing brand that was unauthorised.

"I'm going to come back and ski for Brazil. I'm very proud of it," Braathen, who has five World Cup victories in his career, told a press
conference organised by his sponsor in Salzburg, Austria.

Braathen also posted a message in Portuguese on social media: "The time has come, Brazil: let's dance."

He said the Norwegian federation had agreed to allow him to "transfer his points" acquired in the World Cup under his new sporting nationality, adding he was relieved to finally part ways on good terms after the long-running dispute.

Braathen, who made his World Cup debut in December 2018, won three World Cup slalom races and two giant slaloms. He finished on the podium seven times last season and went on to claim the slalom crystal globe, but has not competed this season.

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Braathen's transfer represents an unprecedented chance for Brazil to secure its first podiums in the Alpine Ski World Cup, as well as at the 2025 world championships in Saalbach, Austria and the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

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