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Recent FIS News
Below you will find a listing of recent FIS News
Season Review Nordic Combined with Uli Wehling
Three-time Olympic Champion Ulrich Wehling has been serving as the International Ski Federation as the Race Director for Nordic Combined since 1992. But when he looks back at the 2011/12 season, even he has to search desperately for the right superlatives.
Was the 2011/12 DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season the best ever?
Uli Wehling: Well, it is always difficult to compare different winters. There are World Championships or Olympic Winter Games that leave their marks in history or there are very fascinating World Cup duels with superstars of the sport, such as Ronny Ackermann or Hannu Manninen. What can we say about the 2011/12 season? Only the best! We have rarely had as many competitions as this. We welcomed a new organizer with Almaty, Kazakhstan. The fight for the overall continued until the very last competition. And we introduced a new format, the penalty race, with success. If Nordic Combined was a country and rated by agencies, then I would award this discipline - after last winter's performance - for sure a Triple A. Anyhow, looking back and then ahead, we have to remain humble, analyze our work and improve where it is possible and necessary. Nobody's perfect!
Looking back, what makes you especially proud?
Uli Wehling: There are quite a lot of things. First of all, I want to mention our athletes. They represent Nordic Combined at its best. Frenchman Jason Lamy Chappuis showed that he is also able to fight when things do not go that easily. Akito Watabe, the overall runner-up from Japan, never gave up in the hunt for the crystal globe, and third placed Mikko Kokslien from Norway built up momentum after -- let's say -- a poor start. But we don't have to just focus on a few individuals, but should consider the numbers in total. In 23 individual competitions, 11 different winners were crowned. Six of them - Magnus Krog, Haavard Klemetsen, Jan Schmid, Alessandro Pittin, Akito Watabe, Bryan Fletcher - won their first race at World Cup level!
However, we also have to mention our great Organizers. The people in Almaty did an excellent job. As did Oberstdorf, which substituted Schonach where warm weather made it impossible to compete. And, of course, the Organizers at Chaux-Neuve and Val di Fiemme stepped up and took additional events. These few examples show us that we are still a big family in which everybody can support each other after all.
Last but not least, Nordic Combined fought its way back to a variety of competition formats. The last three years were characterized by one format - one jump, 10 km - and some Team Events. Last winter, we showed the fans what Nordic Combined can be again, with the team sprint and the penalty race.
The FIS professional staff was increased; Lasse Ottesen joined as Nordic Combined Coordinator.
Uli Wehling: Lasse Ottesen, like the new Race Director Assistant Jan Rune Grave, did an excellent job. His support of the host broadcasters and television stations was particularly valuable. Of course, Lasse's work has no beginning and no end, and it is important for the whole scene to back him whenever it is possible.
In a few days, the FIS Nordic Combined Executive Committee and the Sub-Committee for Rules will meet in Zürich. What will be the major discussion topics?
Uli Wehling: It is important for Nordic Combined to maintain communication and discussion on a very high level. We have had a great season, but this is already the past and the future is ahead of us. I expect a discussion about the penalty race format, which probably needs some adaptations to its rules, and I hope that we'll find ideas and proposals how to integrate Nordic Combined in the bigger picture of Nordic Skiing. We all know that Ski Jumping, Cross-Country and Nordic Combined have to stand together to survive in the cutthroat competition that is the global world of sport. But we all know also that we will succeed!
Contributed by Egon Theiner