Ski Jumping: Plans for new ski jumping suits
At the Sub-Committee meetings for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in Zürich on Friday and Saturday one of the most debated topics was the jumping suit which had become a topic following some well-publicized disqualifications during last season.
In the season 2011/12, a total of 1781 suits were controlled and approved for competition - 738 in the men's World Cup and Grand Prix, 428 in the ladies World and Continental Cups, 615 in the men's Continental and FIS Cups. Of the 14 disqualifications in the men's World Cup only eight were due to suit rule violations, in the men's COC the figure was 39 out of a total of 60.
"The atmosphere between the controllers and athletes is very good," tells Sepp Gratzer, who will begin his tenth season as equipment controller in the men's FIS World Cup. "The athletes themselves want many controls - the more controls, the more fairness and more equal chances."
Besides various criteria - e.g. length of arms and legs, collar, different parts and seams etc. - the current rules call for "body measures plus a tolerance of 6cm," allowing up to 6 cm of "air" between the body and the suit.
Last week a new suit was presented in Zürich. Made of five rather than seven parts, it has fewer seams and the tolerance of the suit is planned to be reduced from 6 cm to 0 cm. Hence the body size equals the suit size and the suit will practically become part of the body. Only from the knee downwards the old rule will still apply so the boot still fits under the suit.
"We tested various materials and found fabrics that are elastic enough for the different positions during a jump," Gratzer explains. Both men and ladies will benefit from the planned change.
In terms of calendar, the men's Summer Grand Prix will start with two competitions in Wisla (POL) on 20th-21st July and end in Klingenthal (GER) on 3rd October. The 2012/13 World Cup season will not start in Finland this time, but in Lillehammer (NOR) on November 24th-25th. The competitions in Kuusamo will take place one week later. With competitions in Vikersund (NOR), Harrachov (CZE), Oberstdorf (GER) and the final in Planica (SLO) in late March, four ski flying weekends are included in the calendar.
Whilst the FIS Sub-Committee agreed to the proposals that also include the calendars, nothing is decided yet. Next the National Ski Associations are requested to submit their feedback, on which basis the Jumping Committee will discuss the proposals during the FIS Congress in South Korea in late May before submitting them to the FIS Council for final decision.
Contributed by Horst Nilgen