Hudec allowed to race for Czech Republic at 2018 Olympics

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PRAGUE (AP) Jan Hudec, an Olympic skiing bronze medalist for Canada, can compete for the Czech Republic at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang if he qualifies.

The IOC executive board approved the participation of Hudec, who switched to the Czech Republic team this year, the Czech Olympic Committee said in a statement on Wednesday.

Czech-born cross-country skier Katerina Smutna, who raced for Austria at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, was also allowed to compete for the Czechs at the 2018 Games, the committee said.

Olympic Charter Rule 41 requires at least three years have to pass before a competitor can represent another country. But the IOC can reduce or cancel that on condition the Olympic committees of both countries as well as the international federation in the particular sport - the International Ski Federation in this case - all agree, which has happened.

Hudec, aged 35, won the downhill silver medal at the 2007 world championships. He earned super-G bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, giving Canada its first Alpine medal in 20 years. He also won two World Cup races.

The Czech-born Hudec has endured knee surgeries, and started only one World Cup race last season.

The Canadian team granted Hudec's request to join the Czechs after not selecting him in May for this season's team.