Russia's Natalia Nepryaeva, second right, on her way to win the Women's Mass Start 10km Classic cross country event at the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Trento, Italy, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
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OBERHOFEN, Switzerland (AP) — The last scheduled World Cup meeting in cross-country skiing before the Beijing Olympics was canceled on Monday to protect athletes from the risk of COVID-19 infection in Slovenia.

Planica was to host events from Jan. 21-23 in cross-country skiing and Nordic combined for men and women.

“Due to the current acute development of the pandemic in Slovenia, the safety of stakeholders involved at those large-scale events could not be guaranteed,” the International Ski Federation (FIS) said.

Any athlete testing positive for COVID-19 so soon before traveling to the Winter Games that open on Feb. 4 risks being quarantined and denied entry to China.

FIS said it will look to find a replacement venue for the World Cup events in both disciplines. A men’s Nordic combined meeting is already scheduled in Austria later this month.

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