|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Giant parallel slalom course in Arosa|
Photo: Arosa 2007 Bachmann
|Photo: Arosa 2007 Bachmann|
For almost a week now, snowboarders have dominated the scene in Arosa (SUI) where the 7th Nokia FIS Snowboard World Championships are being held in great snow conditions and beautiful sunny weather. Some 400 riders representing 47 nations are participating. After six of the nine title events have been completed, six nations have celebrated new FIS World Champions while eight nations have won medals. Performing before a frenetic home audience, Team Switzerland has won the largest number of medals, a total of six (1 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze). Several thousands of enthusiastic - both local and international - fans have made the journey along the windy road from Chur to the snow-secure resort of Arosa to cheer on their favorites. In addition, some 250 media are on-site to report on the event.
In snowboardcross, Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) defended her 2005 FIS World Championships title, taking gold in the ladies' competition. In the men's event, Xavier Delerue of France - 2003 FIS World Champion - won again, followed by Seth Wescott, the defending 2005 champion and 2006 Olympic gold medalist. In parallel giant slalom, 19-year-old Ekatarina Tudigescheva (RUS) and Rok Flander (SLO) became the new FIS World Champions, followed in second place by 2006 Olympic medalists Amelie Kober (GER) and Philipp Schoch (SUI), respectively. In today's parallel slalom, Simon Schoch (SUI) showed his strength after the binding problems he experienced in the PGS and took the gold ahead of brother Philipp. In the ladies' event, the Austrian ladies team swept the podium led by Heidi Neururer ahead of Marion Kreiner and Doresia Krings.
|Nordic Combined Mass Start in Val di Fiemme |
Photo: Mario Facchini
Ski Flying in Vikersund (NOR), Nordic Combined in Val di Fiemme
In the e.on ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping in Vikersund (NOR), it was the turn of the first of this season's Ski Flying weekends. Competing on his home ground just 30 km from his hometown Hoenefoss, Anders Jacobsen continued his winning streak that now includes the Four-Hills-Tournament and a total of seven podium places during his first World Cup season. He also grew the lead in the overall World Cup standings to 137 points ahead of Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) who decided not to compete in Norway. Behind Jacobsen, the Finnish team had a good day, placing four men in the top seven, while Austria had three jumpers in the top ten. The second competition of the weekend had to be cancelled due to high winds.
The Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined continued in Val di Fiemme (ITA), where Christoph Bieler (AUT) gained his third World Cup victory in Saturday's mass start competition. Ranking second, his teammate and double Olympic Champion Felix Gottwald ensured himself a nice 31st birthday present. With his win, Bieler also re-conquered the lead in the overall World Cup standings from Hannu Manninen (FIN). In Sunday's team competition, Team Finland delivered a strong performance on the track, winning ahead of Team Austria I that had led after the jumping while Finland was only fourth.
|Bode Miller (USA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Mancuso, Stiegler & Kildow (USA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
Weather challenges the alpine racers
In the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, it was time for a classic: the traditional Lauberhorn races in Wengen (SUI). Despite the program changes including the rescheduling the super-combined from Friday to Sunday and cancellation of the slalom, 30'000 spectators made their way to the beautiful car-free village of Wengen in the Bernese Alps. On Saturday, Bode Miller (USA) tamed the circuit's longest downhill, at 4.5 km in length, taking his 25th World Cup victory, the 4th this season and his first one in a downhill on the European continent. Miller is now just two wins short of Phil Mahre's American record of 27 World Cup victories. Switzerland's Didier Cuche was second for the fourth time this season. In Sunday's super combined, Mario Matt (AUT) went on to claim the victory despite having started with number 50 and ranking only 34th after the downhill. Behind him, the Swiss team showed remarkable team strength placing four men in the top seven. Aksel Lund Svindal was 8th and held on to his overall World Cup leader's jersey, now 52 points ahead of Cuche and 63 points ahead of Miller.
The ladies' Audi FIS Alpine World Cup competitions at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee (AUT) were plagued by a strong wind that forced the rescheduling of Friday's downhill to Saturday. Renate G”tschl brought the ladies' Team Austria its 12th season victory and the first in downhill. For her personally, it was the 41st World Cup win. Behind G”tschl, 21-year-old Dominique Gisin in 2nd and her maiden podium place led the strong showing of the Swiss ladies' team as they placed five racers in the top ten. In Sunday's super combined, Julia Mancuso improved from Saturday's third place to the top of the podium, taking the first combined victory for the USA in 25 years. Lindsey Kildow in 2nd and Resi Stiegler in 4th place added to the strong results that the Team USA has delivered this season so far. In the overall rankings after 18 of 35 races, the Austrian ladies continue their four-fold lead, with Marlies Schild (881) ahead of Nicole Hosp, Kathrin Zettel and G”tschl.
|Ski cross at Flaine (FRA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Evelyne Leu (SUI)|
Photo: Mike Ridewood
Freestyle World Cups in full action
The first Freestyle FIS World Cup ski cross competition since the event became accepted into the Olympic program for Vancouver 2010 was held last week in Flaine (FRA). After the earlier competitions planned at Les Contamines (FRA) and in Kreischberg (AUT) had to be cancelled, the ski crossers were more than pleased to compete on a great course in beautiful weather. In the ladies' race, Sweden's Magdalena Iljans prevailed ahead of last year's World Cup winner Ophelie David (FRA). 38-year-old Iljans actually retired after last season but then decided to continue her career after the event became Olympic. In the men's competition, Audun Groenvold (NOR) won, ahead of Hiroomi Takizawa (JPN) and last year's World Cup champion Tomas Kraus (CZE).
The aerials and moguls Freestyle FIS World Cups continued with the Chevrolet Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort (USA). In the men's aerials, local hero Jeret "Speedy" Peterson stuck his famous `Hurricane' jump twice, winning both of the two events while also setting a new record point score for his first win in sixteen months. This feat was enough for Peterson also to take over the World Cup aerials points lead from Steve Omischl (CAN). In the ladies' first competition, Jacqui Cooper of Australia won her 19th World Cup event - also a record - while in the second competition, 2006 Olympic champion Evelyne Leu of Switzerland won with defending World Cup champion Nina Li of China repeating her second place from the day before. Cooper - who finished fourth - hung on to the yellow jersey of the FIS aerials World Cup leader.
In the moguls event held in steady snowfall, hometown favorite and reigning moguls FIS World Champion Nate Roberts and Shannon Bahrke (both USA) who also won last week in the World Cup opener at Mount Gabriel (CAN) took the victories. For Roberts, it was the third World Cup victory of his career while Bahrke is back atop the World Cup moguls points for the first time since her World Cup title in 2003. In the first dual moguls event this season, Guilbaut Colas of France and Kristi Richards of Canada each won their first World Cups in very cold temperatures on a tough course that included big bumps and icy surface and is known to be one of the longest and steepest courses on the World Cup tour. Overall, Team Canada had a remarkable showing, taking four of the six podium places in dual moguls.
The 23rd Winter Universiade will be taking place in Turin (ITA) from 17th to 27th January. Originally an idea inspired by the late Primo Nebiolo, the first Universiade took place in Torino in 1959. Designed for university students practicing a variety of sports, the name `Universiade' combines several concepts including university, sport, and universality; in short, all that is meant by sports at university. Today the Universiade is a cultural and sports event held every two years under the auspices of FISU (International University Sports Federation) and today constitutes one the most important international events after the Olympic Games. In memory of Primo Nebiolo, the event now returns to Turin for the fourth time and Giovanna Cappellano Nebiolo, Nebiolo's widow, is serving as President of the organizing committee.
The Summer Universiade consists of thirteen standard sports while the Winter Universiade consists of seven standard sports. The 2005 Winter Universiade held in Innsbruck (AUT) recorded the largest number of participants so far (2223, of whom 1449 athletes) and nations (50). Of the FIS disciplines, Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined, Alpine Skiing and Snowboard are represented with extensive programs each. The competitions in these disciplines will be held according to the FIS rules and are being guided by FIS appointed and trained Technical Delegates. For more information and for competition results in the upcoming 10 days, please visit www.universiadetorino2007.org
Even in mid-January, the winter continues to have difficulty to settle in. The men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races scheduled to take place in Chamonix (FRA) on 20th - 21st January had to be moved to Val d'Isere (FRA) due to the difficult snow situation. As a side note, FIS Technical Delegate Lluis Roig (SPA) will undertake his 500th assignment as a FIS TD at this weekend's competitions in Val d'IsŠre! The final decision on the classic Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbuehel (AUT), scheduled for 26th - 28th January, will be taken on Thursday, 18th January.
The ladies' World Cup weekend in Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA), including a downhill, a super-G und a giant slalom, will be staged according to the plan. The super-G race that had to be cancelled last Friday at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee (AUT) will now be held in San Sicario (ITA) the week before the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships begin in Are (SWE).
In the Freestyle FIS World Cup, the moguls competition scheduled in Lake Placid (USA) for 19th January as well as the aerials competitions scheduled for 18th and 20th January were cancelled due to mild temperatures which prevented snow making. One of the aerials competitions was rescheduled and held in Deer Valley (USA) on 11th January. The ski cross and half pipe events scheduled in Les Contamines (FRA) were also cancelled due to the lack of snow. Efforts are currently underway to find replacements.
In the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup, the snowboardcross competitions planned to be held in Leysin (SUI) on 25th - 26th January were the last World Cup events to be cancelled so far.
In the FIS Marathon Cup, though the 50-km Jizersk pades tka in the Czech Republic had to be cancelled, the 70-km Marcialonga in the valleys of Fiemme and Fassa has been confirmed and will take place as planned on 28th January, 2007. The forecast for the 39th Engadin Ski Marathon in Switzerland in early March is highly positive, too.
Sochi (RUS), Salzburg (AUT) and PyeongChang (KOR) - the three official Candidate Cities bidding to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014 - all delivered their final Candidature Files to the International Olympic Committee last week.
The IOC Evaluation Commission, chaired by IOC Vice-President Mr Chiharu Igaya, will now analyze the Files and visit the Candidate Cities in the next two months. The Commission will then prepare a report that will be submitted to IOC members no later than one month before the election of the Host City on 4 July 2007 during the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City.
|Źre finish area on January 16th|
The official snow control for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Źre takes place on 19th January. Svein Mundal (NOR), Technical Delegate for the men's events at the championships, will undertake this important task and the situation looks very positive with new snow falling yesterday as well as the production of artificial snow on-going. The temperatures are forecast to drop to minus 10 degrees as of today. Lake Źresj”n, previous planned for parking, is frozen. However the organizers, Źre 2007 AB, decided during the summer to locate all the parking areas on land in the town of Źre during the competitions.
The Finnish Ski Association, especially its Cross-Country Skiing department, has worked closely with the Finnish Paralympic Committee since 2002. Since this season, the Paralympic Cross-Country Skiers have been integrated into the national teams and their training has been coordinated by Vesa M„kip„„, Coach of the National B Team known as SkiCats supported by Mikko Virtanen, Coach of the St-1 Junior National Team.
The long-term cooperation celebrated another important milestone last weekend as the Finnish Ski Association together with the Vuokatti Sports Institute staged the season's first IPC Cross-Country World Cup at Vuokatti, Sotkamo (FIN). The competitions were held in the three official categories in the middle and long distances. Pleased about the mutually beneficial cooperation, Jyri Pelkonen, Chief of Competition commented: "We had great feedback on the event and the organization by VuokattiSport. As a next step, we will consider applying to host similar or larger IPC events in the future."
|FIS 2006 Ski Flying WSC at Kulm|
Photo: Agence Zoom
Photo: Agence Zoom
Ski Flying is the most spectacular event in Ski Jumping. If it's already difficult to describe a normal jump to a non-ski jumper, it is almost impossible to do that for Ski Flying.
By Kurt Henauer
In Ski Flying, tthe parameters of the hill are greater, such as the K-point at 185 and the hill size (HS) at over 200. But the easiest way to get a basic understanding is to look at the athletes and listen to what they have to say after the flight: ,Uff, I was really scared about the inrun", said the 19-year-old Norwegian Tom Hilde in Vikersund (NOR) after his first training jump. The Ski Flying inrun has a gradient of 42 degrees so it feels close to a vertical fall. This feeling was even more pronounced because the athletes arrived from Bischofshofen, where the inrun is relatively ,flat" (only 30 degrees...).
When the athletes are sitting on the start bar, their pulse is already increasing. In fact, research has shown that their heart beats up to 180 times per minute then. Just before the take-off, when the speed accelerates from 0 to 105 km/h in less than 5 seconds, their pulse decreases a little before increasing again after the landing when they get the real kick: at that point their heart is working at full speed, adrenalin flows around the body and their pulse can increase to over 200 beats a minute.
It is also possible to observe differences among the athletes: While some are pale and others calm, most of them are crazy about the special feeling of flying. Even if in Ski Flying the athletes do not have to work hard like an endurance runner, they get equally tired. The psychological stress really wears down the body and it takes considerably longer to recover from a Ski Flying competition than from a normal Ski Jumping event where inrun speeds are only up to 95 km/h and the jumps are shorter.
During the four days of the Ski Flying World Cup competitions held in Vikersund (NOR) last weekend, there were no less than 25 jumps over 200 m. The winner, Anders Jacobsen (NOR), increased his personal best from 176 to 210.5 m (in the training). The longest regular flight during the three days was performed by Michael Uhrmann (GER) with 214.5 m as Martin Koch (AUT) struggled after landing at 220.5 m.
Apart from Vikersund, there are Ski Flying hills in Bad Mitterndorf/Kulm (AUT), Harrachov (CZE), Oberstdorf (GER) and Planica (SLO). In the last few years, the organizers have all invested significantly to renew the facilities in order to host even better events. At this time, the facility in Vikersund is the only one with permanent lighting. In the future, Ski Flying will become even more important in the FIS calendar as one additional competition per season is being planned.
The next, large renovation project is currently underway in Planica, the annual ,Mecca" for the World Cup finals. The local authorities there plan to build a real stadium for over 30'000 spectators at the bottom of the ,Letalnica" hill for the FIS Ski Flying World Championships in 2010. However, already from 22nd to 24th March 2007, the enthusiastic public may hope for a new record. The longest flight there so far was performed by Bjoern Einar Romoeren (NOR) with 239 m in the final round on 20th March, 2005.
Unfortunately, the second FIS Ski Flying World Cup competition planned in Oberstdorf as a general test for the FIS Ski Flying World Championships 2008 had to be reduced to a regular competition on the "Erdinger Arena" large hill due to warm weather conditions. There, the World Cup distance record, realized by Sigurd Pettersen (NOR) on 29th December 2005 is 143.5 m. The record on the famous ,Heini Klopfer Skiflugschanze" is currently held by Roar Ljoekelsoey (NOR), who landed at the 223-m-mark on 7th February, 2003.
Statistics source: ORF Sports Archive