Recent FIS News
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Summer, suits and Sochi: Nordic Combined SGP
Although weatherwise this summer has left a lot to be desired so far in many parts of Europe, Nordic Combined fans now have the Summer Grand Prix series to look forward to. In four locations, Sochi (RUS), Oberwiesenthal (GER), Val di Fiemme (ITA) and Oberstdorf (GER), the world’s best Nordic Combined athletes will be vying for the crown of the Summer Grand Prix champion during the months of July and August.
The upcoming weekend will see the first event take place in Sochi, which will give athletes the opportunity to test the new Olympic hills and trails for the first time. With two Individual Gundersen competitions on Saturday and Sunday, Sochi will serve as a first marker of who to watch out for this summer. This weekend’s events, and the test events to be held in Sochi in winter, will serve as important test runs for the local Organizing Committee to train the sports organization and management, volunteers and everyone who will be involved in the upcoming Games.
FIS Nordic Combined Coordinator Lasse Ottesen in particular is looking forward to using the new track for the Cross-Country event of the race: "The 2.5 km track to be used in the 2014 Games is located around the jumping hills with start and finish areas in the outrun of the hills. This will be the first time ever that this kind of set-up is used in a major event. The track has just been paved, and no one has been able to test it yet. But from site inspections and the latest photos it is looking really good and we are excited."
Another novelty to be tested will be the new equipment rules, mainly for the jumping suits. Lasse Ottesen explains: "In the upcoming season, there will be zero tolerance for the jumping suits, except for the arm length where 4 cm additional to the body size are allowed. Athletes’ feedback has been positive so far, but we will use the Summer Grand Prix series to gain more experience with the new rules."
FIS Equipment Controller Guntram Kraus adds: "It will surely be a challenge for the teams to tailor new suits which comply with the new rules and regulations at first." As can be seen from recent experience at the initial summer Ski Jumping competitions where the new rules have also been introduced, this is a learning process which takes some time.
But Kraus is optimistic: "A higher number of disqualifications after rule changes at the beginning of a season are normal. The Nordic Combined teams can now also profit from the experience gained at recent Ski Jumping competitions." To prepare for the launch of the new suit rule, Kraus attended the Ski Jumping Continental Cup opening in Stams (AUT). "This has been a good test for our own season opening. We are now prepared."