News from the World of Skiing 

  Good conditions in weekend World Cups ... more

  New talents emerge in FIS Alpine European Cup ... more

  Ahrlin (SWE) - early dominator at FIS Marathon Cup ... more

 Member News 

  Two days to go: ¸re 2007 ... more

 Inside FIS 

  WADA Media Symposium: State of anti-doping and way forward ... more

  Sudden death of Rudi Rohregger ... more

 In Depth 

  Sapporo 2007: Three weeks to go ... more

 News from the World of Skiing 

Good conditions in weekend World Cups
Michael Uhrmann (GER)
Photo: NordicFocus
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
Photo: NordicFocus

Cross-Country in Estonia, Ski Jumping in Germany

In the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) continued her superb season with an excellent weekend in Otep„„ (EST). Following a second-place finish in the individual start, classical technique distance race on Saturday, she dominated the classical sprint on Sunday. Behind Kuitunen, Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), still a junior skier, achieved her first World Cup podium place. On Saturday, the Olympic bronze medallist and double champion at the Turin 2007 Universiade, Justyna Kowalczyk (POL), claimed her first World Cup victory and the first-ever ladies' World Cup win for Poland. Kuitunen now clearly leads the overall World Cup with 1097 points, 401 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR).

In the men's distance race, former World Champion Axel Teichmann (GER) produced a storming finish to record his first victory in two years, leading the strong German team that placed four men in the top eight. In the men's sprint, Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR) took his second season victory though he had been only 30th and the last athlete to make it to the final rounds after the qualification. Torin Koos and Andrew Newell (USA) ranked 3rd and 4th in the best U.S. men's World Cup finish since 1983. In the overall World Cup rankings, Tobias Angerer (GER) leads with 762 points ahead of Alexander Legkov (RUS, 573 points).

In the e.on ruhrgas World Cup Ski Jumping, it was finally time for another German victory as Michael Uhrmann triumphed on the large hill in Oberstdorf (GER) on Sunday. Uhrmann had also been the last German winner, more than three years ago in Zakopane (POL). Behind Uhrmann, 18-year-old Andrea Morassi (ITA) surprised with his 3rd place, becoming the first Italian on the podium since Roberto Cecon - Morassi's coach - in November 1999. On Saturday, Adam Malysz (POL) took his first season and the 30th career victory. 29-year-old Malysz is now ranked 4th in the all-time rankings for the number of World Cup victories, behind Matti Nyk„nen (FIN; 46), Jens Weissflog (GER; 33) and Janne Ahonen (FIN; 32). In the current overall World Cup standings, Anders Jacobsen (NOR; 877 points) leads 188 points ahead of Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT; 689).


Renate Goetschl (AUT)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Jens Byggmark (SWE)
Photo: Agence Zoom

Goetschl (AUT) and Byggmark (SWE) dominate the alpine scene

In the ladies' Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, Renate Goetschl (AUT) was the measure of all things at San Sicario (ITA). After having won the super-G and downhill the previous days, she missed scoring the hat trick by a scant .17 of a second in Sunday's second super-G. Whilst Lindsey Kildow (USA) won on the course where she crashed out at the 2006 Olympics, Goetschl's 2nd place provided her with her 100th career podium. In Saturday's downhill, the Austrian ladies' team celebrated its fourth podium sweep this season, this time with 23-year-old Maria Holaus in 3rd place in only her second ever World Cup downhill race. Another young Austrian talent, 23-year-old Christine Sponring, a silver medalist in the combined at the 2001 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Anton (AUT) is back after injury plagued seasons ever since, impressing with two 3rd place finishes in her first two World Cup super-Gs. After 24 of 35 races, Goetschl took the lead in the overall Word Cup rankings, 85 points ahead of teammate Marlies Schild and 98 points ahead of Julia Mancuso (USA). She is also leading the super-G and downhill rankings with two races to go in both; in super-G, 130 points ahead of Kildow and in downhill, 134 points ahead of Mancuso.

At the traditional Kitzbuehel (AUT) races in the men's circuit, 21-year-old Jens Byggmark of Sweden surprised the field to win both of the World Cup slaloms on the Ganslern course last weekend. He followed this feat by a second-place finish at The Night Race in Schladming (AUT) Tuesday. Byggmark, a native of Tarnaby just like Ingemar Stenmark and Anja Paerson, is racing in his first World Cup season and has been in the top ten in all the slalom races this season. He is the third Swedish winner in this season's slalom World Cup after Markus Larsson and Andre Myhrer. For the Swedes, who placed four men in the top 12 in Schladming, the script for the upcoming FIS Alpine World Ski Championships could not have been written any better for the huge interest in Sweden! The winner in front of record 50'000 spectators in Schladming was, for the fourth time, Benni Raich (AUT). With his third season victory, Raich moved up to 2nd place in the overall FIS World Cup standings, 75 points behind leading Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR). Mario Matt of Austria, who took 2nd place in both Kitzbuehel slaloms and a 3rd in Schladming, now has a run of five consecutive podiums since Adelboden. Byggmark leads the slalom standings with 423 points, ahead of Raich with 365 and Matt with 320.

The Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup continued in Nendaz (SUI) with a first parallel slalom after the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Arosa (SUI). Selina Joerg (GER) took a surprise victory only four days after her 19th birthday ahead of the reigning parallel slalom World Champion Heidi Neururer (AUT) while the World Cup leader, Doresia Krings (AUT), came in 3rd. On the men's side, World Champion Simon Schoch took the season's third victory, having been on the podium in all the six races so far. Schoch also leads the event World Cup rankings ahead of Sigi Grabner (AUT) who ranked 4th in Nendaz.


New talents emerge in FIS Alpine European Cup
Marcus Sandell (FIN)
Photo: Agence Zoom

In the ladies' FIS Alpine European Cup, 17 races have already been held in excellent conditions while, due to the very warm weather, nine races had to be cancelled including six downhill and two super combined races. Geilo (NOR) and Kaunertal (AUT) replaced the planned events in Aal (NOR) and Nauders (AUT). Efforts are underway to reschedule the downhill races cancelled in Tarvisio (ITA) and Haus im Ennstal (AUT) for February.

In terms of the athletes, it is notable how young racers are making their mark in this year's Cup. 17-year-old Anna Fenninger (AUT; 524 points) and 18-year-old Marusa Ferk (SLO; 474 points) lead the overall Cup standings at present. Both of them have already reached the 400-point limit, which means that they have the chance to start in 16th position in all disciplines this and next season. They are followed by such talents as Celina Hangl (SUI; second in slalom), Olivia Bertrand (FRA; lead in giant slalom), and Eva Maria Brem (AUT; second in giant slalom). Remarkable is also the performance of 15-year-old Lara Gut (SUI), who finished 4th in the only downhill so far held in St. Moritz (SUI) despite having started in the last position with bib #66.

On the men's side, all the European Cup technical events have been held in solid conditions and according to the schedule, with the exception of the rescheduling of the races initially planned in Valloire (FRA) to Serre Chevalier (FRA). The speed season has yet to start due to the warm temperatures and a lack of snow. However things have taken a turn for the better and the first super-G races are now scheduled to be held next weekend in Tignes (FRA), replacing the races initially scheduled in Chamonix (FRA), and the first downhill will follow in Sarntal (ITA) the following week.

The early season has brought to the fore several new talents as many of the previous year's stars, such as last weekend's double winner Jens Byggmark (SWE), have moved on to the World Cup level. The current field is very broad and extremely talented, and racing to the limit. As a result, the winners have changed almost daily, and unfortunately some athletes have been forced to take a break due to injury, including the current leader in the overall standings, Philipp Schoerghofer (AUT). In slalom, the standings are led by Julien Lizeroux (FRA) while several World Cup slalom specialists, for example Manfred Pranger (AUT), have made guest appearances in the European Cup races to maintain their competition routine. In giant slalom, one of the new talents includes Marcus Sandell of Finland, currently first in the giant slalom standings and second overall, who has impressed with his technical skills and speed.

The European Cup Finals are scheduled in Madesimo-Campodolcino-Caspoggio (ITA) from 12th-18th March, 2007.


Ahrlin (SWE) - early dominator at FIS Marathon Cup
Marcialonga winners

In this FIS Marathon Cup, Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) is showing early signs that he is the man to beat this season. At last weekend's Marcialonga, he proved his versatility by also winning in the classic technique and following up on his Stage 1 victory at La Sgambeda held in the free technique. With two wins and 200 points, Ahrlin already holds a significant lead over Jorgen Auckland of Norway (130 points) and last year's FIS Marathon Cup Champion Marco Cattaneo (ITA) in 3rd (89 points). With 145 points, 2006 ladies' champion Lara Peyrot (ITA) maintained the leader's jersey after finishing 5th at Marcialonga, ahead of Jenny Hansson and Elin Ek (SWE) who are tied for 2nd. The ladies' Marcialonga was won by legendary World Cup racer Hilde G. Pederson (NOR).

The popular racers now charge headlong into five more marathons over the course of the next six weekends, beginning with Germany's 40km Koenig-Ludwig-Lauf (shortened from its traditional 50km distance because of the snow conditions). Over 300km remain before the final stage at the Engadin Skimarathon in Switzerland in March.


 Member News 

Two days to go: ¸re 2007

It is just two days now until the 39th FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will be opened in ¸re (SWE). At the Opening Ceremony, His Majesty The King will deliver an opening speech, followed by welcome words by˙President of Swedish Ski Association˙Carl Eric St†lberg. FIS President Gian Franco Kasper will officially open the event on Friday, 2nd February at 19 CET at the ¸re Town Square (Medal Plaza). The Opening Ceremony will also include various performances, spectacular video shows and "jojk" opera. H.M. The King and H.M. The Queen will also attend the first World Championships races in super-G over the weekend as well as later on.

Altogether, athletes representing 62 nations will be participating at the second FIS Alpine World Ski Championships ever held in Sweden; the first ones took place in 1954. A total of 33 FIS World Championships medals will be awarded as the competition schedule includes five ladies' and five men's events as well as the co-ed nations' team event. The nations' team event will be staged for the second time at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in ¸re whilst the super combined (DH and one-run slalom) will replace the traditional combined format for the first time. Up to 100'000 spectators and several hundred million television viewers are expected to follow the Championships.


 Inside FIS 

WADA Media Symposium: State of anti-doping and way forward

More than 80 representatives of the international media and the international sports movement gathered last week at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (SUI) to examine media and communications issues surrounding the fight against doping in sport. The specific goal of the WADA-hosted Symposium was to allow the media to learn more about the advances made to-date in anti-doping as well as about current opportunities and challenges. Following an introductory address by Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, the participants heard Richard Pound, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, to discuss the state of anti-doping. Then, David Howman, Director General, and Dr. Olivier Rabin, Science Director of WADA, discussed the organization's priorities and specific role in science and research.

Inevitably, much of the discussion centered on the review & consultation process currently underway for the World Anti-Doping Code (The Code), expected to culminate at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport taking place in Madrid, Spain, in November 2007. The presentations also highlighted the importance WADA is placing on intelligent, targeted doping testing and championing the so-called Athlete's Passport project for longitudinal follow-up of certain individual blood and urine parameters in addition to doping test results. The continued, enhanced cooperation between the sports movement and government agencies in investigating doping cases, as well as the role of governments in ratifying the Code and amending their national legislation on doping, was also highlighted. For more details, please see here .


Sudden death of Rudi Rohregger
Rudolf 'Rudi' Rohregger

FIS sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Rudolf 'Rudi' Rohregger who died suddenly on Wednesday, 24th January. Mr. Rohregger, a great friend and colleague to many in the extended FIS family, was Vice President of the Austrian Ski Association and Chairman (Obmann) of the Ski Club Raika Hinterstoder. He served as Member of the FIS Sub-Committee for Alpine Courses as well as Course Inspector and Alpine Technical Delegate for several years.


 In Depth 

Sapporo 2007: Three weeks to go
Sapporo Dome

In just 22 days, the Nordic skiing world will converge upon Sapporo for the 2007 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships to be held there from February 22nd to March 4th. This will be the first time the championships have been held in Asia. With an impressive r‚sum‚ as host for large sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup in 2002, Sapporo is hoping to set an example throughout the region for staging modern winter sporting events. More than 530 athletes representing 46 nations have been preliminarily entered to compete in the championships, to be accompanied by at least the same number of team officials along with at least 1150 international media who to-date have registered for accreditation.

One of the specialties of the Sapporo Championships will undoubtedly be the events held at the Sapporo Dome, including the Opening Ceremony and the ladies' and men's Cross-Country sprint and team sprint competitions as well as the skiing part of the Nordic Combined sprint competition. The Sapporo Dome - with a stadium capacity of 30,000 - normally hosts the Sapporo football and highly successful baseball clubs. For the championships, the Dome will be showcasing the first ever "turf conversion hovering system" to facilitate the snow making process for the skiing competitions. At the Opening Ceremony, a myriad of performances will pay tribute to the local traditions. These will include a performance by Maki Ohguro, an artist hailing from Sapporo, a Japanese drum performance to create a special Japanese atmosphere, Yosakoi Soran dances and mass calisthenics by local children, just to mention a few highlights.

The Organizing Committee for the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships has put countless hours into the preparation of the competitions to ensure that they will be the absolute highlight of an unforgettable event: "I am convinced that the Championships - held in Asia for the first time - will provide many children and young people, our future leaders, with lofty dreams and great hopes, and will enable everyone around the globe to share the emotions of this event, thus contributing to the pursuit of world peace," said Fumio Ueda, the President of the Organizing Committee and Mayor of Sapporo.

"It is a great honor and privilege that Sapporo was chosen as the host city of the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Sapporo has gained experience through holding the Olympic Winter Games in 1972 and since then, taken pride in hosting numerous international competitions, including several FIS World Cups in Ski Jumping, Cross Country and Nordic Combined. Having been awarded an opportunity to stage the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Asia for the first time, we are greatly honored to create a bright new page in our history," said Yoshiro Ito, Vice-President of the Organizing Committee and President of the Ski Association of Japan.

Throughout the World Championships, Sapporo will be showcasing many of the regional culinary delights to the spectators with traditional Japanese hospitality. In the center of Sapporo there will be a large Nordic Village which will allow local vendors to display their goods and services. In addition to nightly on-stage performances, there will be a special Citizens' Concert featuring the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra at the Kitaro Concert Hall on February 21st to celebrate the spirit of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

The reigning 2005 World Champions from Oberstdorf (GER)

Cross-Country Skiing
10km Free Technique: Katerina Neumannova (CZE)
30km Classic Technique: Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
Pursuit: Julija Tchepalova (RUS)
Sprint: Emelie Oehrstig (SWE)
Relay: Norway
Team Sprint: Norway

15km Free Technique: Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA)
50km Classic Technique: Frode Estil (NOR)
Pursuit: Vincent Vittoz (FRA)
Sprint: Vassili Rotchev (RUS)
Relay: Norway
Team Sprint: Norway

Ski Jumping
Normal Hill: Rok Benkovic (SLO)
Large Hill: Janne Ahonen (FIN)
Team Normal Hill: Austria
Team Large Hill: Austria

Nordic Combined
Gundersen: Ronny Ackermann (GER)
Sprint: Ronny Ackermann (GER)
Team: Norway