Slalom star loses in court

Norwegian slalom skier Henrik Kristoffersen lost the first round of his court battle with Norway’s national skiing federation this week. He’s fighting to be able to promote a private sponsor on his helmet, but the federation won’t let him.

Henrik Kristoffersen can only have the team's sponsor, Telenor, on his helmet, not Red Bull's. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Henrik Kristoffersen can only have the team’s sponsor, Telenor, on his helmet, not Red Bull’s. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

“Henrik is disappointed,” his father Lars Kristoffersen told state broadcaster NRK after an Oslo City Court ruled against his request that he at least be allowed to ski with “Red Bull” on his helmet until his lawsuit against the federation goes to trial. He had no plans to appeal, though: “Since the season would be over before the appeal would be heard, there’s no point,” his father said.

Now the elder Kristoffersen, who also functions as the skier’s manager, fears his son will lose the lucrative sponsorship deal offered by energy drink maker Red Bull. “The signals we have had from Red Bull are that this was ‘now or never,'” he said, “so I’m afraid the whole agreement is hanging by a thread.”

Both father and son are now in Paganella in Italy, training in advance of the next World Cup grand slalom race in Alta Badia on Sunday. Kristoffersen did well last weekend after his season got off to a bad start because of the conflict with the skiing federation. Now he’s keen to win again.

“Henrik is trying to shove this conflict into the background and focus on the sports aspects of skiing now,” his father told NRK. “The victory at Val d’Isere (last weekend) shows how strong he is in his head.”

The skiing federation, which has had more than its share of problems and challenges lately, said it was “satisfied” with the court ruling and pointed out that Kristoffersen “has the opportunity to enter into a personal agreement with Red Bull, even though it doesn’t give him the opportunity to profile Red Bull on his helmet.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund