Sports minister apologizes to Kristoffersen for snowballs

Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen, second placed, right, and Austria's Marcel Hirscher, the winner embrace at finish line after an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom in Schladming, Austria, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen competes during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom in Schladming, Austria, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Shinichiro Tanaka)
Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen reacts at finish line after somebody in the attendance threw him a snowball during his second run of an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom in Schladming, Austria, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

VIENNA — The Austrian minister of sports has apologized to Henrik Kristoffersen, a day after the Norwegian skier had snowballs thrown at him during a race in Schladming.

Heinz-Christian Strache called the incident "deeply unfair behavior, which harms the image of Austria."

Kristoffersen was competing with favorite Marcel Hirscher for victory in the night slalom when spectators, who had lined up alongside the course, threw snowballs during the Norwegian's final run. The projectiles didn't hit him but Kristoffersen said he was distracted.

Strache said in a statement: "To Henrik Kristofferson (sic) I apologize on behalf of all Austrians, who care about fairness in sports."

Hirscher won the race by 0.39 seconds, but Kristoffersen said the incident had not affected the result because the Austrian would have beaten him anyway.

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