By Mitch Phillips
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The three Frenchmen who swept the podium in the Winter Olympics freestyle ski cross event will keep their medals after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Sunday dismissed a protest by officials from Canada and Slovenia.
The Canadian and Slovenian Olympic Committees had requested the disqualification of Jean Frederic Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol, alleging they wore illegal suits giving them an aerodynamic advantage in the final of the event on Thursday.
They had originally protested to the International Ski Federation (FIS) but the sport's ruling body said it could not consider the complaint because it had not been made in time.
The protest was then escalated to CAS, sporting law's highest court, which on Sunday dismissed the appeal against the FIS's decision, seemingly without considering the protest against the suits.
"The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the urgent applications filed by Alpine Canada (AC) and Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and by the Slovenian Olympic Committee (SOC), both against the decision rendered by the Competition Jury of the FIS on 21 February 2014 concerning the 20 February 2014 Ski Cross Big Final competition," CAS said in a statement.
The Canadian and Slovenian protest was based on the allegation that "just before the Big Final, French support staff changed the shaping of the lower leg suits of the riders creating an aerodynamic effect that the appellants submit is contrary to the International Freestyle Skiing Competition Rules."
Canada's Brady Leman finished fourth in the Big Final while Egor Korotkov of Russia and Filip Flisar of Slovenia led the way in the "Small" final and would have been promoted to the medal positions had the French trio been disqualified.
The clean sweep helped France to their current tally of 15 medals, their highest in a Winter Olympics.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)