World of Sport

Skiing star’s slalom hopes dashed by errant walkie-talkie on piste

The world of skiiing is in uproar after an amazing turn of events denied red-hot favourite Maria Hoefl-Riesch a likely win in a World Cup slalom race.

The German - a former Olympic, World Championship and World Cup winner - looked in blistering form in the early stages of her opening run at Courcheval in France, picking up a third of a second over the field.

But then disaster struck in the most bizarre way imaginable: a small object appeared to run under Hoefl-Riesch's skis, throwing off her timing and rhythm as she rounded one of the gates.

The 29-year-old did all she could to try and correct herself, but in slalom skiing rhythm is everything - and after a few more gates she could no longer keep up her unsustainable trajectory, smashing through a flag and falling onto the snow.

The fall put her out of the race, allowing Austria's Marlies Schild to go on and claim victory.

But what was the object? Initial reports claimed that someone at the French resort had thrown a mobile phone onto the piste and into the German's path - but later inspection showed that it was one of the course stewards' walkie-talkies which had actually been the culprit.

No official apology or explanation has yet been offered, but with the women's World Cup expected to be more closely-fought than ever this year - Hoefl-Riesch trails leader Lara Gut by just a handful of points - it's not out of the realms of possibility that whoever dropped their radio might end up costing the German star a fresh entry in the history books.