FIS at Torino 2006 - Olympic Review 

Post-Games Analysis with FIS President
Gian Franco Kasper

FIS President, Gian Franco Kasper, is satisfied with the XX Olympic Winter Games - Torino 2006: "From a sporting perspective, the Torino Games were one of the best Olympic Winter Games we have had." Mr. Kasper had high praise for the outstanding preparation of the courses, hills and other sports infrastructure, and for the tireless work the organizers, including many volunteers, performed at all times of the day and many nights to prepare the venues. Despite the numerous postponements, there was never a real risk of race cancellation due to the immense organizer engagement and rapidly changing weather conditions.

With regards to the number of medal-winning nations in the FIS disciplines, Mr. Kasper highlighted the broad distribution of FIS medals among 19 nations, even with the Austrian dominance of Alpine Skiing and grave disappointments for some, traditionally very strong skiing nations that underperformed.

"I am also very pleased about the extremely high quality of the Olympic TV production where the decision of the organizer to engage international specialists for the various disciplines really paid off," FIS President commented and added: "The ratings have been relatively high everywhere, with the exception of the USA where the focus on delayed coverage and highlights does not seem to work any longer given the current availability of modern communication technologies. Regardless, even NBC recorded a very strong average of 20 million viewers per broadcast."

Mr. Kasper concluded: "The Torino Games turned out to be excellent for us, especially compared to the expectations of some. Given the success of the new FIS events, such as snowboardcross, we also plan to submit a request to the IOC to include additional events in the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010."


FIS medals at Torino 2006: 19 nations with Olympic medals

At the XX Olympic Winter Games - Torino 2006, the FIS Disciplines of Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined, Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard staged 38 events and awarded 114 medals. The overall FIS Medal Ranking was won by Austria with eight gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals, amounting to a total of 22 medals. All in all, 19 nations won Olympic medals. Of those, Finland was the only nation whose athletes brought home Olympic medals in all the six FIS disciplines.

In Cross-Country Skiing, the medals ranking was topped by Sweden with three gold and two bronze medals. The most Cross-Country medals were won by Russia, a total of seven. Sweden was especially strong on the men's side, winning four medals (2-0-2). On the ladies' side, Estonia featured strongly due to Kristina Smigun's two Olympic golds whereas Russia went home with four Olympic medals. Altogether, 12 nations won medals in Cross-Country Skiing at Torino 2006.

In Ski Jumping, the medals were divided up between three nations: While Austria took two gold medals and a silver, the Norwegian team won a total of four medals leaving Finland with two. Austria also showed its strength in Nordic Combined where its team celebrated a total of three medals, two of which gold. The German team, too, went home with three medals, one of each color.

The Olympic Alpine Skiing events were dominated by Austria as the Alpine nation went home with an astonishing total of 14 out of 30 medals The Austrians were remarkably strong on the men's side where they won eight medals (2-3-3), followed by France and Switzerland with two each. On the ladies' side, the Austrian six medals (2-2-2) were challenged by Sweden's four. The ladies' giant slalom was the only event that did not see an Austrian on the podium, and the event in which the USA - the nation tipped to challenge the Austrian's dominance - took its second alpine skiing gold. Overall, eight nations won Olympic medals in Alpine Skiing.

A total of ten nations celebrated medals in the four Freestyle Skiing Olympic events but only Australia and China went home with two medals. In the ladies aerials competition, three continents were represented on the podium with gold to Europe (Switzerland), silver to Asia (China) and bronze to Australia.

The six Olympic Snowboard events had two dominators: while the United States won seven medals, including three gold and three silver medals, Switzerland also took home four Olympic medals, three of which gold. Nine nations won Olympic medals in the Snowboard competitions in Bardonecchia.


Olympic Highlights: The Nordic disciplines
Kristina Smigun (EST)
Golden Sprint Team from Sweden

The Olympic Winter Games - Torino 2006 provided some astonishing results. Included below is a brief summary of some of the highlights in the FIS Nordic disciplines:

In Cross-Country Skiing, great champions were born: the Olympic queen of Pragelato Plan was Estonia's Kristina Smigun who took home two Olympic gold medals, the first ever for an Estonian female. Katerina Neumannova, a four-time Olympic medalist before Turin, became the Czech Republic's first Olympic Champion in Cross-Country Skiing by winning the ladies' 30 km. Poland's Justina Kowalczyk also made history by winning the first-ever Olympic skiing medal for her country by finishing 3rd in the ladies' 30 km. The biggest surprises on the ladies' side were the victory of the young Canadian Chandra Crawford in the sprint and the fact that Norway missed the podium in the ladies' relay - for the first time since Innsbruck in 1976 - as Russia took the gold.

In the men's Cross-Country Skiing, two athletes returned home with two gold medals. Sweden's Björn Lind won both the sprint and team sprint, delivering his home country its first individual Cross Country gold since the Calgary Games in 1988. Giorgio di Centa (ITA) sprinted to win the gold in the final race, the 50 km mass start race, adding to the relay gold his team won for the host country Italy. His sister, Manuela di Centa, IOC Member and winner of seven Olympic medals, had the honor of presenting her younger brother with his gold medal - won by less than a second after more than 2 hours of skiing - during the Closing Ceremony in Turin in front of 35,000 spectators. Evgeni Dementiev (RUS) took home two individual Olympic medals while France's Roddy Darragon made history by becoming the first Frenchman to win a medal in Olympic Cross-Country. The biggest surprise of all, however, was that the sport's dominant nation Norway was left without a single gold medal after the twelve Olympic events in Cross-Country Skiing - it is the first time such a thing has happened since the 1988 Games in Calgary, Canada.


Team Austria

Ski Jumping

It was two Austrian youngsters who set the pace in the Ski Jumping competitions on Pragelato's large hill. The 19-year-old Thomas Morgenstern became a double Olympic gold medalist by winning both the individual and team competitions, with his 21-year-old team mate Andreas Kofler claiming the individual silver and sharing in Austria's first Olympic gold medal in the team event. At the same time, Norway's Lars Bystoel, the Olympic Champion on the normal hill, bronze medalist on the large hill and in the team event, became only the fifth jumper to win three medals at the same Olympics. For veterans such as Janne Ahonen (FIN) and Adam Malysz (POL), as well as for Simon Ammann, the double Olympic Champion of Salt Lake City, and the early season's dominator Jakub Janda (CZE), the Torino Games were a dire disappointment.


NC individual race medalists

Nordic Combined

The Nordic Combined star of the Turin Games was Felix Gottwald of Austria who won gold in the sprint, gold in the team event and silver in the Gundersen event, almost matching the historical feat of three Olympic gold medals performed by Samppa Lajunen (FIN) in Salt Lake City in 2002. The surprise of the Games was Germany's Georg Hettich who became the first Nordic Combined athlete to win three different colored medals at the same Olympic Games. Norway's Magnus Moan also returned home with two medals, a silver and a bronze, in the individual competitions as his team was forced to withdraw from the team competition due to illness. The team event bronze won by Finland is likely to be a small consolation for the season dominator and three-time World Cup champion Hannu Manninen (FIN) who again walked away from a major championship without an individual medal.


Olympic Highlights: Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard
Kostelic (CRO) & Dorfmeister (AUT)
Kjetil André Aamodt (NOR)

15 nations celebrated medals in the 20 Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard events held in Sestriere/San Sicario, Sauze D'Oulx and Bardonecchia, respectively.

Three established queens of Alpine Skiing left Torino with the much-coveted Olympic gold medals they came for: Michaela Dorfmeister (AUT) became the speed queen of the Games, adding two gold medals to her already distinguished collection of career championship medals. Janica Kostelic (CRO), who despite fighting illness clinched the gold in the ladies' combined, became the all-time Olympic medal leader in the ladies' Alpine Skiing now with six total medals, four of which gold, bypassing Vreni Schneider (SUI) who won five medals in her time. Sweden's Anja Pärson also grew her career tally of Olympic medals to five, now including the first gold that she won in the slalom. The biggest surprises of the Games on the ladies' side were seen in the giant slalom where 21-year-old Julia Mancuso won the gold medal for the USA, Tanja Poutiainen, in 2nd place, won the first-ever Alpine Skiing Olympic medal for Finland, and though there was no surprise in Sweden claiming bronze, its owner, Anna Ottosson, was unexpected.

In the men's Alpine Skiing, Austria took advantage of the failures of the other pre-Games favorites to dominate the mountains, in addition to some unexpected winners. The first surprise was the victory in the downhill by Antoine Deneriaz who became the fifth downhill Olympic champion from France. Equally surprising was the victory by up-and-coming Ted Ligety (USA) in the men's combined with Ivica Kostelic (CRO) grabbing silver in a rare brother-and-sister medal-winning act at the same Olympic Winter Games. In the men's super-G, Kjetil André Aamodt (NOR) became just the second male skier, after Alberto Tomba (ITA), to successfully defend an Olympic gold medal while also bolstering his already comfortable lead in the all-time Olympic medal rankings for Alpine Skiing which he leads with eight total medals (4-2-2), winning three out of the six super-G races that have been staged since its introduction to the Olympic program in 1988 (Albertville 1992, Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006) and an incredible 20 medals from the Olympics and FIS World Ski Championships combined. Benjamin Raich (AUT) became the only double Olympic Champion in the men's Alpine Skiing by winning the giant slalom and slalom. It was also the first time that one country won all three medals in the men's slalom. Before the Austrian triumph in Sestriere, three other nations had managed to win all three medals in an Alpine Skiing event but never before in slalom. Japan just missed its first men's Olympic Alpine Skiing medal since Chiharu Igaya won silver in Cortina in 1956, as Kentaro Minagawa tied for fourth, just 0.03 off the slalom podium.


Three continents on ladies' aerials podium
Dale Begg-Smith (AUS)

Freestyle Skiing

In the Olympic Freestyle Skiing competitions in Sauze d'Oulx, all the finals were held under floodlights for the first time, enjoying a party atmosphere and big crowds that appreciated the sport's amazing thrills and twists. The excited audiences saw four first-time Olympic champions as well as many other `Olympic firsts': While Jennifer Hail won the first medal for Canada in ladies' freestyle skiing by claiming gold in the ladies' moguls, Evelyne Leu (SUI) also became the first Swiss Olympic Champion in Freestyle Skiing as she won the ladies' aerials. In the ladies' moguls, Kari Traa (NOR) became the first triple medal winner, with a gold in Salt Lake City, silver in Torino and bronze in Nagano.

On the men's side, Xiaopeng Han won the first Chinese Olympic gold medal on snow in the men's aerials; he also became the first Chinese male Olympic Champion in the Olympic Winter Games. In the men's moguls, Dale Begg-Smith took the gold for Australia, becoming the youngest men's Freestyle Skiing Olympic champion at the age of 21 years and 28 days.


Shaun White (USA)
The Schoch Brothers (SUI)


In Bardonecchia, where the six Olympic events in Snowboarding took place, the gold medalists all hailed from either the United States or Switzerland. In the men's parallel giant slalom, the Swiss Schoch brothers made Olympic history by taking the gold and silver in the same competition; the younger Philipp defending the title he earned in 2002. Before, only the Mahre brothers had won gold and silver in the men's slalom in 1982. In the men's half-pipe, 19-year-old Shaun White performed one of the most impressive runs ever seen in competition, taking the gold that was missing from his impressive repertoire of wins at the world's greatest snowboarding contests. Markku Koski took the first Olympic Snowboard medal for Finland by placing 3rd in half-pipe. In snowboardcross's Olympic debut, Seth Wescott (USA) earned gold with Radoslav Zidek (SVK) taking the silver, his country's first Olympic skiing medal.

On the ladies' side, Daniela Meuli (SUI) took the parallel giant slalom gold that all thought was hers, followed by 18-year-old Amelie Kober (GER) who with her silver medal became the youngest Snowboard medalist at the Torino Games. Meuli's team-mate Tanja Frieden took the gold in the first-ever Ladies' Olympic snowboardcross race while Hannah Teter (USA) amazed everyone with her second run in the ladies' half-pipe, making her the Olympic champion.


FIS World Cups continue
Benni Raich (AUT)

Current Prize Money Ranking for AUDI FIS Alpine World Cup

After the Olympic Winter Games - Torino 2006, the FIS World Cups are continuing on a broad front. The Cross-Country skiers will travel to Scandinavia to compete in the Vasaloppet that is part of the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country for the first time: The men will race the traditional distance of 90km and the ladies will be battling for World Cup points over a 45km course. The E-ON ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping will continue in Finland and Norway in the context of the Nordic Tournament and the Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined will stop in Lahti (FIN) before moving on to Oslo (NOR) for the big Nordic weekend on 11-12th March.

In Freestyle Skiing, the moguls World Cup will trek to Korea and Japan while the next aerials and snowboardcross World Cups will be held in Davos and Grindelwald (SUI). The Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup will travel to Russia for lots of evening action in parallel slalom and the big air World Cup final.

Before the Alpine Finals and pre-WSC 2007 races in Ćre (SWE) on 15- 19th March, the men's AUDI FIS Alpine World Cup is heading to Korea and Japan for several slalom and giant slalom races. The ladies, then, will compete in Hafjell (NOR) and Levi (FIN) in five races, including the season's second super combined.

Current Prize Money Ranking - AUDI FIS Alpine World Cup

Before the final World Cup competitions, the men's prize money ranking in the FIS Alpine World Cup is led by double Olympic Champion and current overall World Cup leader Benni Raich (AUT) with total earnings of CHF 330,300. On the ladies' side, the most successful female Alpine Olympian of all times, Janica Kostelic (CRO) leads the pack with earnings of CHF 359,646.

Men: 1. Benjamin Raich (AUT) 330,300. 2. Michael Walchhofer (AUT) 258,318. 3. Hermann Maier (AUT) 192,212. 4. Giorgio Rocca (ITA) 189,273. 5. Daron Rahlves (USA) 188,228. 6. Bode Miller (USA) 170,944. 7. Kjetil André Aamodt (NOR) 121,899. 8. Fritz Strobl (AUT) 119,600. 9. Kalle Palander (FIN) 119,244. 10. Marco Büchel (LIE) 117,097.

Ladies: 1. Janica Kostelic (CRO) 359,646. 2. Anja Pärson (SWE) 318,822. 3. Michaela Dorfmeister (AUT) 252,500. 4. Marlies Schild (AUT) 228,902. 5. Kathrin Zettel (AUT) 154,610. 6. Nicole Hosp (AUT) 149,104. 7. Maria Rienda Contreras (ESP) 143,750. 8. Alexandra Meissnitzer (AUT) 141,500. 9. Lindsey Kildow (USA) 128,535. 10. Tina Maze (SLO) 83,000.


Alpine JWSC Return to Quebec, Canada

The 25th FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships will be taking place from February 28th until March 8th 2006 in Quebec, Canada. This is the second time that the region around Quebec City will be hosting these competitions in six years. Some 250 athletes coming from more than 30 nations are expected to take part in the various events that will be held at 3 different locations: The Massif de la Petite-RiviŐre St- François will be hosting the speed events (downhill and super-G) whereas the technical events (slalom and giant slalom) will be held at the Mont Sainte-Anne ski resort. The best athletes will also have the chance to compete in a special team parallel race with two male and two female skiers from the 16 most achieving nations in a high level competition that will be taking place at the Le Relais ski resort. The competitions will see the world's best young skiers aged 15 to 20 square off in their respective categories and disciplines - some of these athletes have just participated in the Olympic Winter Games and are likely stars in four year's time in Vancouver.


Krasnoe Ozero (RUS) welcomes young freestyle skiers
Moguls course
Hotel Krasnoe Ozero

The FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Freestyle Skiing will be taking place in Krasnoe Ozero (RUS) from March 3rd- 6th, 2006. 170 athletes have been entered from 20 nations, including several athletes who also participated in the Olympic Winter Games - Torino 2006. The organizers and courses are well on their way to welcome the competitors for four events (Moguls, Dual Moguls, Aerials and Ski Cross) for each gender. Approximately 30 competitors have registered for the aerials competitions, more than 40 competitors for ski cross that debuts in this year's championships, with the rest competing in moguls and/or dual moguls.

Great conditions, with up to 5m of snow in places, await the participants in Krasnoe Ozero, located 1.5 hours or circa 100 km west of St. Petersburg, that is known as one of the main ski resorts in its area and as an experienced host of Freestyle Skiing Europa Cup and many national competitions. A special feature of the resort: The roof of the Krasnoe Ozero Hotel forms the top part of the mogul slope!


FIS Court dismisses appeal by Swiss Ski Association in case of Didier Defago
On February 21st, 2006, the FIS Court dismissed the appeal from the Swiss Ski Association (Swiss-Ski) against the disqualification of Didier Defago (SUI) from the FIS Alpine World Cup men's Super Combined race in Val d'Isere (FRA) on 11th December 2005.

Swiss-Ski had submitted an appeal to the FIS Court against the decision made by the FIS Alpine Appeals Commission on 16th December, 2006. The Appeals Commission had upheld the original decision of the competition jury to disqualify Defago based on an infringement of Article B 2.1.2 of the equipment regulations.

In its decision, the FIS Court found that the appeal from Swiss-Ski cannot be examined by the FIS Court as there is no rule that grants the right to appeal against a decision of the Appeals Commission if it is acting as second instance.