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Recent FIS News
Below you will find a listing of recent FIS News
Eight new FIS events at the YOG 2012
The first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) not only saw aspiring young athletes competing against their counterparts from around the world, but also marked the introduction of new Olympic events. Innsbruck 2012 concluded on Sunday 22nd January, the same day as the inaugural FIS World Snow Day. During nine days of competitions, 20 events in FIS disciplines were staged, and a total of 78 medals were handed out to athletes from 21 different nations.
In the FIS Nordic disciplines, three new events were staged in Seefeld. First out was the ladies' Ski Jumping which has now also been included on the Olympic Winter Games program for Sochi 2014. Sara Takanashi (JPN) took the win ahead of Katharina Althaus (GER) and Ursa Bogataj (SLO) and can now proudly call herself the first Youth Olympic Games gold medallist. The other new Nordic event was a Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined mixed team competition, where one male Ski Jumper, one female Ski Jumper and one Nordic Combined athlete competed as a team. By including three athletes from the same nation, the event received a lot of positive feedback from spectators and teams, especially because the focus on participating became more important than the medals. In addition to the FIS disciplines, the Biathlon competitions were held in Seefeld and on the last day of snow competitions, the Cross-Country/Biathlon mixed team event was carried out. The first round saw a female biathlete with two visits to the shooting range, followed by a second round from the female Cross-Country skier, with the third round by a male biathlete and the responsibility of racing the final round was with the male Cross-Country skier. Germany secured the win with more than a one minute gap to silver medallist Russia, while USA captured the bronze medal.
Kühtai, a beautiful resort just under an hour west of Innsbruck, was home to the Freestyle Ski and Snowboard events. The first competition was held on the first Sunday January 15th, as Austria's Elisabeth Gram claimed the first ever Olympic gold medal for Freestyle ski halfpipe. Just moments later on the men's side, 13 different nations fought in the final for the inaugural Olympic medal which ended up in the hands of Switzerland's talent Kai Mahler, 16. The weather was perfect, as was the atmosphere and a light of inspiration shone foreshadowing great things to come in this new Olympic event.
A short four days later, due to some threatening weather forecasts, the schedule was amended and Kühtai was ready to host its second new Olympic event, Snowboard slopestyle. At the end of the day, Canada's young stars Michael Ciccarelli and Andrey MacManiman finished on top winning gold medals in the men's and ladies' competitions respectively. With a gold and silver already under their belt from the Snowboard halfpipe competition, Ben Ferguson and Arielle Gold from the USA landed huge runs to secure their country Olympic silver medals in slopestyle. On the men's side Switzerland s David Habluetzel rounded the podium off with the bronze and Alexandra Fitch from Australia claimed third for the ladies.
As the first three events in Kühtai snuck by with nearly perfect weather, the fourth event, Freestyle ski cross was not as lucky. The finals were planned for Friday January 20th but due to heavy snowfalls, strong winds and road closures the decision had to be made to cancel the final round. Since the qualifications were run as scheduled the afternoon before the anticipated finals, the results were determined on the qualification results and medals could be awarded. Michaela Heider of Austria and Niki Lehikoinen of Finland were thrilled about their gold medal success.
At Patscherkofel, the venue for Alpine Skiing, a total of 7 medals events were carried out including a mixed parallel team event which was a new event at the Youth Olympic Games. With two girls and two boys in a team, teams fought head to head against each other. The rules are simple: the fastest athlete down the hill wins the heat, and if one nation won 3 out of 4 heats they're qualified for the next round. What might have come as the biggest surprise this day, was team Norway that competed with 2 boys and only 1 girl due to an injury and through sheer determination they managed to secure the silver medal after an exciting final with Austria which took gold to the delight of the home fans. France completed the podium after having beaten Italy in the bronze medal final. The athletes and spectators alike appeared to thoroughly enjoy this dynamic competition format, which will be up for consideration for the Olympic program in Pyeongchang 2018 - maybe some of these pioneers at the Youth Olympics will be there too!
The Organizing Committee in Innsbruck has now handed over the torch to the next Youth Olympic Games Organizers: Lillehammer 2016.
Contributed by Mari Mathews and Sofie Torlei Olsen
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