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Brazil gains Winter Olympics medal prospect after slalom champ Lucas Braathen switches from Norway | CBC Sports



Brazil has a top Winter Olympics medal prospect in Alpine skiing after the World Cup slalom champion last season, Lucas Braathen, announced on Thursday he will start to compete for his mother’s home nation.

Braathen, whose father is Norwegian, split from the Nordic nation’s ski team on the eve of the season last October in a dispute over having freedom to work with his own sponsors.

At age 23, Braathen opted out of the entire season and skipped the defence of his World Cup slalom title.

He also finished fourth in the overall World Cup standings last year and earned a reputation as one of the most flamboyant and free-spirited personalities on the ski circuit.

Braathen announced his switch of team on social media where he posted an image of himself with the Brazil flag and its signature yellow, green and blue colors.

“The time has come, Brazil. Let’s Dance,” Braathen wrote in Portuguese ahead of holding a news conference in Salzburg, Austria, hosted by one of his sponsors. The stage included a banner with his full name, including the middle name “Pinheiro.”

Skiers must comply with International Ski and Snowboard Federation rules to change national eligibility though the process is made easier if the team they are leaving agrees to the move. Braathen said on Thursday the Norwegian ski federation agreed to release his registration.

Braathen has five career World Cup race wins, three in slalom and two in giant slalom. He competed for Norway at the 2022 Beijing Olympics but did not complete either race.

Brazil sent 10 athletes to Beijing including Alpine skier Michel Macedo, though won no medals. Brazil has never won a Winter Olympics medal.

The 2026 Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics will stage men’s Alpine races at the Bormio resort in northern Italy.

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