|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Men's dual moguls final|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Xiaopeng Hanm (CHN)|
Photo: Mike Ridewood
The 11th FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships ended in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA) on Saturday. Held in great spring conditions, 26 nations participated in the eight title competitions. 11 nations won medals, five of them gold. The most medals were captured by Canada which emerged with a total of five medals (three gold, one silver and one bronze) while the Chinese team is traveling home with two World Champions.
"We were challenged all season with the snow and weather conditions, which also caused the postponement of the Freestyle FIS World Ski Championships from the original dates in January. The organizers used all their snow making capacity for the preparation of the courses, but could not find the snow for half-pipe course. The courses were challenging and in the end, the athletes were well-prepared to compete here at the very end of the season. Winning on the slopes of Campiglio required a true Freestyle champion. It is always a very special atmosphere in Italy, and local fans were able to rejoice having their first Freestyle World Championship medals in fourteen years," commented Chris Robinson, Chairman of FIS Freestyle Committee.
In the moguls event Friday night, the championships saw two surprise Canadian winners as Kristi Richards and Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau took the titles ahead of the big favorites Jennifer Heil (CAN) and Dale Begg-Smith (AUS). Defending champion Nate Roberts (USA) collected the men's bronze medal while 20-year-old Deborah Scanzio surprised before the home audience by claiming the ladies' bronze. It was only the third medal ever for an Italian female in the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships; last season, Scanzio won silver in dual moguls at the FIS Junior Freestyle World Ski Championships.
China captured double gold while Belarus won the silver both in the ladies' and men's aerials competitions. 2005 FIS World Champion Nina Li successfully defended her title. And the first-ever Chinese male to win Olympic gold in the Winter Games, Xiaopeng Han, took the men's title Saturday. He thereby became the first Chinese male to win the World Champion title in Freestyle Skiing. Dmitri Dashinski of Belarus who also won silver in Turin last year claimed the silver while Steve Omischl (CAN), defending champion and 2007 aerials World Cup winner who led after the first jump, had to be content with a bronze medal.
In an exciting finale for the 2007 Championships, the 2006 Olympic Champions and 2007 moguls and overall FIS World Cup winners Heil and Begg-Smith finally took the World Champion titles in dual moguls. Whilst Heil repeated her 2005 performance, it was the first World Championship title ever for 22-year-old Begg-Smith. The dual-moguls bronze medal surprisingly went to Ruslan Sharifulin of Russia who beat compatriot Artem Valinteev.
The next FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships will be held in Inawashiro (JPN) from March 1st - 8th, 2009.
The last of the four FIS World Ski Championships this winter concluded last weekend in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA) with the Freestyle Skiing events. Starting with the excellent FIS Snowboard World Championships in Arosa (SUI) in January, this winter has seen one highlight after another. After ¸re (SWE) staged one of the best FIS Alpine World Ski Championships ever seen in early February, the busy calendar continued with the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo (JPN), the first time the Championships were held in Asia.
A total of 138 medals were awarded in the 46 title events in the four FIS World Championships. The most medals were won by Norway that leads the winter's medals table with 19 medals, of which seven were gold, four silver and eight bronze. Norway is followed by Austria with a total of 15 medals (5/4/6) and Finland with 10 (5/2/3). Switzerland is in 4th place, with a total of 17 medals (4/6/7), followed by France in 5th with 8 medals (4/2/2) and Sweden in 6th with 9 (3/3/3). Ranked 9th, Germany collected 11 medals, of which two were gold, five silver and four bronze. A total of 18 nations won medals in this year's FIS World Championships. For the complete medals table, please click here.
|Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)|
|Adam Malysz (POL)|
Full FIS Nordic program at 2007 Lahti Ski Games
The Lahti Ski Games (FIN) last weekend provided only the second opportunity for the FIS Nordic disciplines to share the same World Cup stadium this winter as the circuits continued following the FIS World Ski Championships in Sapporo. In the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)˙secured her first World Cup overall title by taking a commanding victory in the free technique sprint on Saturday. Young talent Petter Northug (NOR) led a Norwegian sweep of the podium in the men's sprint. It was his first World Cup victory in a sprint race. In Sunday's distance races in the classical technique, double Olympic Champion from Turin, Kristina Smigun (EST) took her first World Cup win this season while Viola Bauer (GER) in 3rd celebrated the maiden World Cup podium place in her long career. Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset (NOR), the king of the 50km race at the Sapporo Worlds, continued his strong performances by taking the victory in the men's race. Tobias Angerer remains in the lead for the men's overall World Cup ranking, 378 points ahead of Alexander Legkov (RUS).
In the e.on ruhrgas World Cup Ski Jumping, Andreas Kofler (AUT) had the longest jump of the day with a leap of 133 meters and led World Champion nation Austria to victory in Saturday's team event. Kofler, Martin Hoellwarth, Gregor Schlierenzauer and Thomas Morgenstern amassed 11.7 points more than Team Norway which took 2nd. Norway was the runner-up at the World Championships in Sapporo as well. In the individual event on Sunday, the first competition belonging to the Nordic Tournament, normal hill World Champion Adam Malysz mastered the fluctuating winds to win and close in on World Cup overall leader Anders Jacobsen (NOR). Martin Schmitt (GER) in 3rd earned his first podium finish since 2002. In the second Nordic Tournament competition in Kuopio (FIN) on Tuesday evening, Malysz claimed the 34th World Cup victory in his career, bringing him past Jens Weissflog (GER) in the all-time rankings and to 2nd place behind Matti Nykaenen (FIN) who had 46 victories. In the overall World Cup standings, Jacobsen still retained the lead, now 60 points ahead of Malysz.
On Friday in the Warsteiner World Cup Nordic Combined, World Championship silver medalist Bill Demong (USA) took the lead at the 8-kilometer mark in the individual Gundersen event and went on to win for the second World Cup victory of his career and the first since 2002. Germany's Sebastian Haseney delivered a strong skiing performance, moving up from the 30th to 2nd. In the premiere for the so-called "NC sprint compact', Bjorn Kircheisen (GER) won with Felix Gottwald (AUT) as the runner-up on Saturday. In the fast-paced `compact' format, the athletes start the Cross-Country race some 20 minutes after the end of the ski jumping competition. Finland's Hannu Manninen, who finished 3rd and 14th in Lahti, increased his overall World Cup lead to 119 points with two events left.
|Didier Cuche (SUI) |
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Lake Placid men's SBX final|
Tight race for large crystal globes in Alpine, Snowboard in North America
The ladies' Audi FIS Alpine World Cup returned to Zwiesel (GER) after a three-year break last weekend. In the giant slalom on Saturday, Finland's Tanja Poutiainen scorched the second run to take her first victory of the season. On Sunday, Marlies Schild (AUT) won her seventh World Cup slalom with a whopping 2.23 second margin. Slalom world champion Sarka Zahrobska (CZE) and Anna Ottosson (SWE) tied for 2nd. It was the second podium for Zahrobska this season while Ottosson, who is retiring after the season, collected her first World Cup podium finish since March 2002. By picking up 100 points for the victory, Schild jumped from third to first in the overall standings with 1,302 points. The race for the ladies' large crystal globe remains exciting as Nicole Hosp (AUT) is 2nd with 1,287 points, Julia Mancuso (USA) 3rd with 1,251 points and Renate Goetschl (AUT) is 4th with 1,200 points.
In the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup in Kvitfjell (NOR), Aksel Lund Svindal clinched the season title in the super combined on Friday by ranking 3rd in the season's final event behind Benni Raich (AUT) and Silvan Zurbriggen (SUI). On Saturday, Didier Cuche (SUI) took his first season win in the next-to-last World Cup downhill of the season to clinch his first discipline title in the event. He is the first Swiss winner of the small crystal globe for downhill in 14 years. The competition had to be stopped because of poor visibility after 11 skiers completed the course. When it was restarted an hour later, the weather was clear and the times much faster. In Sunday's super-G, Hans Grugger (AUT) claimed his fourth career victory while Mario Scheiber made it an Austrian double. Super-G ranking leader Bode Miller (USA) was 7th and held on to his lead. Cuche placed 3rd and advanced to 2nd place in the overall standings with 963 points. Raich, the defending overall champion, skied out but kept his lead with 1,055 points. Aksel Lund Svindal, skiing on his home hill, also skied out near the same spot as Raich, and dropped to third overall with 952 points.
As part of its North-American tour, the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup stopped at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid (USA) last week. Drew Neilson (CAN) and Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) were unbeatable in the two snowboardcross competitions there. Reigning World Champion Jacobellis also secured her World Cup title with the finals in Stoneham (CAN) still to go. Although 32-year-old Neilson has taken three back-to-back wins, runner-up Nate Holland (USA) still has a chance for the crystal globe in the finals. In the half-pipe event, Team USA took a double victory as Gretchen Bleiler and Steven Fisher took the top spots in the seventh competition of the season. Bleiler successfully competed against World Champion Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI) who took the World Cup lead from Holly Crawford (AUS), who finished 3rd. On the men's side, Steven Fisher led a total podium sweep for his home country.
|Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT)|
|Beat Feuz (SUI)|
The FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships 2007 concluded at Altenmarkt/Flachau/Zauchensee (AUT) on Sunday with the ladies' slalom and men's super-G. FIS Council member Milan Jirasek of the Czech Republic closed the event noting that he believed it had been the best Junior Worlds so far!
20-year-old Beat Feuz of Switzerland went on to win his third gold in the men's super-G. After claiming the downhill title on Tuesday and in the combined on Saturday, as well as the bronze medal in slalom, Feuz completed his collection of four medals on Sunday. With that, Feuz became the most decorated young male at the 2007 Junior Worlds. The most successful female athlete was Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria who won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze. While Ilka Stuhec from Slovenia also returned home with two gold medals Tina Weirather (LIE) collected one gold and two silver medals. On the young men's side, Marcel Hirscher (AUT) won two medals (one gold and silver each) and Bernhard Graf (AUT) a total of three (one silver and two bronze). The host nation Austria won the most medals, a total of 13 (3 gold/4 silver/6 bronze), followed by Switzerland with five (3 gold/1 silver/1 bronze) and Slovenia also with five (3 gold/0 silver/2 bronze). Seven nations won medals. The coveted Marc-Hodler-Trophy, for which the best two racers from each nation score points, was also won by Austria with 153 points. Slovenia took 2nd with 102 points, followed by Switzerland (67 points), Germany (31) and the one-person team from Liechtenstein in 5th (28 points).
|Ladies' sprint podium|
The FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships and U-23 Cross-Country World Ski Championships in Tarvisio (ITA) were officially opened on Monday evening. The ceremony was held on a main square in the Tarvisio city center full of young athletes, flags of the participating nations and general public. FIS Council Member Peter Schroecksnadel of Austria officially opened the event and wished the young participants good luck. The ceremony concluded with the first prize giving ceremony for the successful athletes in the opening event, the Cross-Country sprint race.
The first competition was won by Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), the sprint World Champion at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo just two weeks ago. In the men's sprint race, Ivan Ivanov of Russia took the honors. In the U-23 category, the ladies' sprint victory went to Alena Prochazkova of Slovakia while in the men's race, Sweden claimed a double victory as Robin Bryntesson took the top spot, followed by Marcus Hellner. Today Wednesday, it was a Nordic day in Tarvisio as Finland took gold in the men's 10km free technique race and in Nordic Combined Gundersen event through Martti Jylhae and Anssi Koivuranta, respectively,˙and Sweden in the ladies' 5km race through Charlotte Kalla.
The 3rd official FIS Freestyle Junior World Ski Championships 2007 will be taking place this week in Airolo, Ticino (SUI). From Friday 16th March - Monday 19th March, the schedule includes ski cross, aerials, half-pipe, moguls and dual moguls competitions for both the ladies and men. Organized by Ticino Freestyle, the competitions will be held at the ski resort of Centro Turistico San Gottardo. More than 200 athletes representing 19 nations will be competing. Besides the sports schedule, the organizers have also planned an extensive night side events program.
There have been good snow conditions pretty much all season in Airolo, located near the Swiss-Italian border at the Southern exit of the Gotthard Tunnel. The aerials events will be held under the lights at night, on a course prepared by Mich Roth SUI, one of the top aerials coaches in the world. The ski cross course has been designed to properly test the junior skiers' skills while the moguls / dual moguls courses provide a World Cup-like challenge. Airolo has hosted many Freestyle FIS European Cups over the years and also a Freestyle FIS World Cup moguls event in March 2004.
Joe Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator, remarked: "There is a great group of friends that are working very hard to stage these Junior Worlds. The enthusiasm they bring to the freestyle is very contagious. The weather looks to be cooperating, the entries are numerous and the courses in great shape. Everyone is especially excited since Deborah Scanzio who hails from Airolo, won a medal last week in Madonna di Campiglio." For more information, visit the event's web site here.
|Ladies' FIS Marathon Cup winners|
|Start at Maloja|
Excellent tactical planning and special focus on succeeding in Switzerland's largest ski race gave the Swiss-Ski team five of six podium places at the Engadin Ski Marathon on Sunday, as the FIS Marathon Cup concluded for the 2007 season. 21-year-old Dario Cologna became the youngest-ever winner of the Engadin, taking the victory in a sprint finish just ahead of Davos World Cup-winner Toni Livers. In the ladies race, Laurence Rochat won by 1.2 seconds over Sweden's Elin Ek, the only non-Swiss racer to reach the podium in this year's race. A total of 9,600 competitors from 33 different nations took part in the final stage of the FIS Marathon Cup, held under blue, sunny skies yet made challenging by considerable headwind for most of the course. (Note from the FIS Secretary General: the FIS Newsflash Editor, Riikka Rakic drove through the night from the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships to participate in the Engadin Marathon which she completed successfully - she still has the sore muscles to prove it!)
Despite the Swiss domination in their home-field competition, the big winners of the weekend were Swedes Elin Ek and Jerry Ahrlin, who were awarded the crystal trophies as the overall FIS Marathon Cup winners. Ahrlin and Ek each won three of the six competitions that were held this season, and wrested the championship away from the Italian ski team, who have dominated the overall classification for the past several seasons. Ahrlin finished in 9th place at the Engadin Ski Marathon.
For more details and final results please visit here.
|Pablo Rosenkjer (ARG)|
This week we feature some questions and answers with the South-American representative on the FIS Council, Pablo Rosenkjer (ARG).
Q. What is the significance of skiing in the Southern hemisphere?
A. The sport of skiing has been developing in Argentina since 1930, largely focused on promoting tourism in the Cordillera de los Andes. The Argentinean Ski Association currently has 16 affiliated ski clubs, some in Buenos Aires and the others along the mountains from Mendoza to Tierra del Fuego, spanning a distance of a little more than 3,000 km. From the government's point of view - including the national, provincial and municipal levels - skiing is only important for tourism and there is little support for skiing as a competitive sport. In Chile, the situation is similar, although perhaps surprisingly, in Brazil it is also possible to find sponsors for competitive skiing. In Argentina, we have been able to reach a long-term TV broadcasting agreement with ESPN+ for the transmission of six races each winter. For preparation and participation in the Olympic Winter Games, we normally receive economic support from our National Olympic Committee every four years.
Q. Many teams from the Northern hemisphere now travel to South America to train during the Southern winter. How important this training and competition opportunity for the local skiers and for the region as a host?
A. Since the end of the 1960's, many teams from the Northern hemisphere have come to train in Argentina and Chile. Given this, we started to organize an international circuit between the two countries and were able to convince most of the foreign skiers to participate in these races. This is very important for our own racers so that they can compete and compare themselves with the best in the world and are able to improve their rankings in the FIS points list. For our National Ski Associations, it is also important to be in touch with all the coaches and trainers, and to learn from them.
Q. Termas de Chillan will stage the 2010 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships, the first ones in South America. What will this mean for you?
A. The FIS Council decided, in principle, that the Junior Alpine World Ski Championships will be organized in Termas de Chillan, Chile, in 2010. This event will be the highlight for South American skiers in the next three years, and we plan to take advantage of it in various ways that serve to promote skiing in our region in the time leading up to the event.
Last week, during the visit in Vancouver by the IOC's Coordination Commission for the XXI Olympic Winter Games that coincided with the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA), VANOC - the Vancouver Organizing Committee - provided an official confirmation for the addition of ski cross to the program for 2010.
"This is great news as ski cross is an event that will undoubtedly capture the energy and imagination of spectators worldwide," said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. "As we saw in Madonna di Campiglio, interest in ski cross is rapidly growing among the public and athletes alike due to its dynamic format and exciting competitions."
Under the auspices of the FIS Solidarity program, the first FIS Junior Alpine Race Camp was held in India from 14th February to 1st March, 2007. 30 participants included athletes and coaches from Uzbekistan, Iran and India. Led by J”rg Roten, FIS-nominated ski expert from Leukerbad (SUI), the camp took place in Gulmarg, 65 km west of Srinagar, the capital of Kaschmir that lies at an altitude of 2700m near the Indian-Pakistani border. The local ski area has been built on the slopes of Apharwat and reaches up to the altitude of 4300m (summit at 4390m). During the camp, the participants were able to train slalom and giant slalom on slopes specially prepared for them with the help of the local ski resort's staff. Due to the lack of a shorter lift, the snow cat also helped to pull the skiers up to the start after each run. Besides on-the-slope training, the camp also included technique training and video analysis & evaluation as well as sessions on course selection, setting and preparation, training principles, FIS rules and race organization. The camp culminated with the `Gulmarg Cup' races on 24th-25th February.
"The athletes, coaches and officials demonstrated tremendous interest in learning and there is great willingness to develop the local skiing scene in the long term. The interest by the media was also quite remarkable: six TV-stations (local and national) and many other media representatives visited us and covered the camp in the local media. Our special thanks go to President S.S. Pangtey, General Secretary R.K. Gupta und Treasurer Shabir S. Wani from the Winter Games Federation of India for their hospitality and assistance with the camp's organization," said J”rg Roten.