|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)|
|Tobias Angerer (GER) |
The Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country 2006/2007 came to an end in Sweden last week. At the Royal Sprint - held for the fourth time in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm (SWE) - Petra Majdic (SLO) and 21-year-old Mickael Devjatiarov (RUS) took the top spots. For Devjatiarov jun., the son of the 1988 Olympic Champion, it was his career-first World Cup win. In the winter's last individual races on Saturday in Falun, Marit Bjoergen (NOR) finished the season like she started it - with a victory. She won the pursuit in the finish sprint ahead of Katerina Neumannova (CZE) who claimed the 48th World Cup podium in her 143rd and final World Cup start. 18-year-old Therese Johaug (NOR), the surprise bronze medalist in the 30km race in Sapporo, set the pace for much of the race and was rewarded with her first World Cup podium place. In the men's final race, Tobias Angerer (GER) celebrated his 10th World Cup victory. The relay victories on Sunday went to Germany (ladies) and Norway (men).
Virpi Kuitunen, 2nd in Stockholm and 28th in the Falun pursuit, won all the big titles this season, beginning with her victory in the inaugural Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski, three gold medals in Sapporo and all three FIS World Cup titles, the overall, distance and sprint. With her eight World Cup wins and four 2nd place finishes, she also topped the ladies' prize money rankings with CHF 288'500. Marit Bjoergen (NOR), who finished 2nd in the overall rankings, earned CHF 160'000.
The men's overall and distance World Cups were won by the Tour de Ski winner Tobias Angerer (GER) who took both titles for the second time in a row. With four wins and another four podium places, he also won the men's prize money rankings with CHF 197'750. Alexander Legkov (RUS), 2nd in the overall rankings, netted CHF 114'000. Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR), the 2007 World Champion in sprint, claimed the sprint World Cup crystal globe, his first after he finished second in 2002 and 2004.
16 nations, one short of the all-time record set last season, achieved Cross-Country World Cup podium appearances this season, a record twelve of them had at least one victory. The Nations' Cup was won by Norway with 16 season victories and 44 podium places, followed by Finland with 23 and Germany with 17 podium finishes. 117 ladies and 171 men scored World Cup points while 24 nations collected points in the Nations' Cup.
Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country 2006/2007 champions
Overall ladies: Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Overall men: Tobias Angerer (GER)
Distance ladies: Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Distance men: Tobias Angerer (GER)
Sprint ladies: Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Sprint men: Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR)
Nations' Cup overall: Norway
Nations' Cup ladies: Finland
Nations' Cup men: Norway
|Adam Malysz (POL) |
Coming into last weekend, Adam Malysz (POL) had never won on the world's largest hill in Planica (SLO). At the e.on ruhrgas World Cup Ski Jumping finals there, he won all three competitions and thereby secured his fourth overall World Cup title. Norway's 22-year-old Anders Jacobsen, who traveled to Slovenia with the World Cup leader's red jersey, succumbed the lead after the first competition but by finishing 2nd in the second-to-last event, maintained a small chance of winning the overall title until Sunday. Malysz finally clinched the World Cup title 134 points ahead of Jacobsen and 286 points ahead of Simon Ammann (SUI). 17-year-old Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) followed his coaches' advice and skipped the physically trying Ski Flying weekend, finishing 4th in the standings.
The fight for the season's overall World Cup title could be divided into two. The early season was characterized by a duel between the season debutants Jacobsen and Schlierenzauer who also dominated the Four-Hills-Tournament where Jacobsen prevailed. Malysz then claimed the first of his nine season victories at the end of January in Oberstdorf (GER) and went on to win six of the last seven competitions. He previously won the overall World Cup title in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and now shares the record of four World Cup crystal globes with Matti Nyk„nen (FIN). With 38 career victories, Malysz will begin next season - working with his new coach Hannu Lepist” who also used to coach Nyk„nen at his peak - with the aim to overhaul Nyk„nen's all-time record of 46 World Cup wins.
Malysz also won the prize money ranking with a total of CHF 326'250 in season earnings. Jacobsen collected CHF 249'800 while Schlierenzauer netted CHF 212'150 and Ammann CHF 179'000.
In the Nations' Cup, Austria claimed its 12th win, followed by Norway and Switzerland. Altogether, 90 athletes from 18 nations scored World Cup points. Seven nations celebrated World Cup victories while ten nations stood on the podium at least once during the season.
e.on ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping 2006/2007 champions
Overall: Adam Malysz (POL)
Nations' Cup: Austria
The FIS Telemark World Ski Championships concluded in Thyon (SUI) on Saturday. More than 120 athletes representing 15 nations on three continents participated in the competitions staged in Southern Swiss canton of Valais. After the six medal events, Am‚lie Reymond of Switzerland and Eirik Rykhus of Norway emerged with the overall Telemark FIS World Champion titles. While Eirik Rykhus won gold in each of the three competitions, Reymond - still a junior-aged skier - collected gold in classic and silver in both giant slalom and classic sprint.
Eirik Rykhus has now been invincible at the highest level since the end of January in Rjukan (NOR), also collecting the overall World Cup title on the way. 24-year-old Borge Sovik of Norway won silver in each event while Katinka Knudsen (NOR), another junior skier, took gold in the ladies' classic giant slalom, silver in classic and bronze in sprint. Sigrid Rykhus, Eirik Rykhus's sister and the winner of the ladies' overall World Cup, claimed the gold in sprint classic while Astrid Sturm (GER) won bronze in both giant slalom and classic. In the men's races, the bronze medals went to Adriano Iseppi (SUI) in classic, Philippe Lau (FRA) in classic sprint and Per Bylund (SWE) in giant slalom.
Am‚lie Reymond was also crowned the ladies' Junior World Champion while the men's Junior title went to her teammate Bastien Dayer. The FIS Telemark World Ski Championships, the second held in Switzerland, took place in good conditions in the Thyon Region that has enjoyed a constantly good snow season, unlike most places in Europe this year.
|Ivan & Simone Origone (ITA) |
The FIS Speed Skiing World Cup 2007 competition promises to be one of the most exciting in recent years. Now half-way through the eight-race-series, due to reach its finale in Cervinia (ITA) on 2nd April, one of the largest fields of racers ever seen is jostling for points.
After two years in which Simone Origone (ITA) has dominated the men's rankings, the current rankings show him languishing in 3rd place - behind little brother Ivan (ITA) and former World Champion Philippe May (SUI). Just below this trio, there is another pack of four contenders - Roger Wickman (SWE), Marc Poncin (GBR), Michel Goumens (SUI) and Ross Anderson (USA) - waiting for a chance to pounce. Finally, Jukka Viitasaari (FIN) has only competed in one of the WC races to-date, coming a strong 4th.
The ladies competition is no less nail-biting. After winning the first two races of the series, the four-time World Cup winner and World Champion, Tracie Max Sachs (USA) has sustained an injury and is slipping down the rankings. Wearing the leader's jersey is Anna-Karin Modin (SWE), just two points clear with three podium places this year. Sanna Tidstrand (SWE) excited her home-nation crowd by winning in Salen and could quickly close the gap. The Finnish team, including Kati Mets„pelto, Heini and Pia Piipponen, and Hannamiina Tanninen, have yet to make a start.
The Speed Skiing World Cup is far from decided, and following its conclusion, the FIS World Ski Championships in Verbier (SUI) from 16th-19th April are also eagerly anticipated.
|Anette Sagen (NOR)|
The ladies' Continental Cup Ski Jumping concluded on 10th March in Sapporo (JPN). The 2006/2007 overall ranking thereby came to include 20 competitions held at 15 different venues in seven countries and three continents, including the summer competitions that also count for the overall season ranking. A total of 25 events were planned but five had to be cancelled due to the lack of snow. Regardless, this season included two competitions more than the 2005/2006 season.
Based on her seven season wins and another six podium finishes, Anette Sagen (NOR) claimed her third straight Continental Cup win. This year, however, she took the title with a margin of only 88 points ahead of 19-year-old Ulrike Graessler (GER) who collected five victories. Lindsey Van (USA), 2nd in the past two seasons, finished 3rd in the final standings. Overall, 92 female ski jumpers from 14 nations participated in the 2006/2007 Cup, compared with 72 from 10 nations the year before. 62 ladies scored Continental Cup points while five athletes from four nations celebrated at least one win.
One of the season highlights was the second-ever Junior World Ski Championships in ladies' Ski Jumping held in Tarvisio (ITA) where thirty junior jumpers competed and the top three finished within 2.5 points. Overall, the ladies' Ski Jumping Continental Cup again demonstrated development in both depth and quality this season. According to Edgar Ganster, Coordinator of the ladies' Continental Cup, the calendar for the upcoming season is likely to include approximately the same number of competitions at the same sites. With two years to go until the first official FIS World Championships to be held in Liberec (CZE) in 2009, competition is bound to increase further.
|Balthasar Schneider (AUT)|
The men's FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping finished in Zakopane (POL) on 18th March. "We had a successful season despite the challenges wrought by the general lack of snow and unseasonably warm temperatures that plagued winter sports this year," commented Horst Tielmann, Coordinator for the men's Cup.
In total, 31 competitions at 15 venues were planned and 24 were held according to the schedule. Balthasar Schneider of Austria claimed the Cup winner's title, ahead of Morten Solem (NOR) and teammate Stefan Thurnbichler. On average, 60 athletes from up to 19 nations took part in the competitions and the overall competition - as well as organizer - quality has increased significantly. This is evidenced by the fact that individual Continental Cup winners also placed high at the World Cup level. Some examples include Harri Olli (FIN), the Sapporo silver medallist who began his season with a win in the Rovaniemi Continental Cup; Arthur Pauli (AUT), who along with six COC podium appearances also claimed two 6th place World Cup finishes; and Mario Innauer (AUT), a three-time COC podium finisher, who also ranked 5th in the Titisee World Cup. Several competitions this season were televised; either live or delayed, and also attracted record numbers of spectators.
With the end of the FIS World Cup season for all disciplines other than Cross-Country and Ski Jumping, this week was a busy week for national championships around the world: While the Swiss Alpine racers competed in Veysonnaz, some Austrian titles were up for grabs in Hinterstoder. The Canadian Alpine Skiing champs were also held last week in Whistler, British Columbia, at the planned site for Alpine Skiing in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, as the 2007 French nationals took place in Val d'IsŠre, the venue of the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The Finns also held their Alpine nationals last week, as did the Russians gathering in Sajanogorsk. The Swedes are competing in Źre this week, whilst the US nationals will take place in Alyeska, Alaska, the Czech nationals in Spindleruv Mlyn and the British nationals in Meribel (FRA) this weekend, to mention just a few.
Some nationals in the Nordic disciplines are also still on schedule: while the Swedes Cross-Country skiers are completing their season this week in Bruksvallarna, the French will race at Le Grand Bornand from 1st April. The same goes for Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard: while the US and Canadian nationals for Freestyle were held last week, the French have theirs later on in April. The Slovenian Snowboard nationals are currently underway in Maribor, and the Finnish and Swiss alpine boarders will compete later this week in Vuokatti and Sils, respectively. The national championship season will continue for a while still as according to the FIS calendar, the last nationals are the Swiss half-pipe and big air title competitions currently scheduled for 27th-29th April in Zermatt.
The 13-member International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014, headed by IOC Vice-President Chiharu Igaya, has completed the site inspections of the three Candidate Cities of Sochi (RUS), Salzburg (AUT) and PyeongChang (KOR). Beginning in Korea in mid-February, the Commission visited Sochi in late February and Salzburg from 14th-17th March 2007.
In each city, the Commission assessed 17 different themes such as transport, accommodation, technology, media operations, environment and meteorology, finance, security, sport and venues and Olympic village(s). The findings will now be summarized in a technical report which will be published and submitted to all IOC members. Monday, 26th March, marked the 100-days-to-go milestone for the election of the Host City which will take place on 4th July 2007 in Guatemala City.
|Janez Kocijancic (SLO)|
This week we feature some questions and answers with FIS Council Member Janez Kocijancic (SLO).
Q. Skiing is very important in Slovenia and despite the country's small size it has been very successful on the world scene. What advice would you like to provide to other small nations to develop their skiing programs?
A. It is very difficult to give advice to other nations. Every nation has to evaluate its own resources and develop its own sports strategy. The main point is that such a strategy has to be supported by the national sports public. It is my opinion that success only grows from public support. At the professional level, Slovenia is ready to help other small nations to develop their skiing programs and strategy.
Q. Planica (SLO) is the traditional host of the FIS World Cup Ski Jumping finals and will also host the 2010 FIS Ski Flying World Championships.. What does this mean for Slovenia?
A. The FIS World Cup finals and, when it is Slovenia's turn, the FIS World Championships in Ski Flying in Planica are the most important events on the Slovenian sports agenda. They not only attract the attention of a significant international audience, but also represent the biggest gathering of sports enthusiasts in Slovenia. There are always large crowds present at the event where people enjoy the courage of the competitors and the beauty of Ski Flying. Consequently, Planica represents one of the foundations of Slovenian sports psychology and provides an important stimulation to the ski and sports organization in general.
Q. You serve in the FIS Council's Working Group for Legal Questions. What are the most challenging legal themes FIS is facing at this time?
A. There are many challenging legal problems nowadays at both international and national levels of sports. The most challenging are the problems connected with doping, those concerning change of nationality as well as those related to sports sponsoring and sponsorship agreements, to mention only a few.
The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) annual symposium for International Federations comes to a conclusion as the FIS Newsflash is published today. The two-day workshop in Lausanne (SUI) contained various presentations and case study workshops, including a status report on the update to the World Anti-Doping Code, results management and case law, day-to-day anti-doping administration issues, education programs, Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (RADOs) and the WADA Anti-Doping Management System (ADAMS).
Both FIS representatives Madeleine Erb and Secretary General Sarah Lewis were requested to give different addresses on working with ADAMS in practice and on future collaboration with the RADOs, whilst using the opportunity to interact with WADA's staff and experts, as well as exchange experiences from colleagues in other federations.
The FIS Member National Ski Associations will be receiving further information and instructions in the spring about ADAMS and its value for handling various administrative tasks.
|Gian Franco Kasper |
Photo: Agence Zoom
This week, FIS Newsflash had a chance to sit down with FIS President Gian Franco Kasper to collect his thoughts about the 2006/2007 season.
"Overall, this season was catastrophic for winter sports. At the FIS World Cup and World Ski Championship level we were lucky in terms of snow and the weather. With the exception of the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA) which were postponed from January to March, we were able to stage a great majority of our most important competitions in good conditions according to the schedule. At the lower levels, such as the FIS Continental Cups, FIS-races and especially competitions for the juniors and children, our activities were seriously impacted by the continuously warm weather and dramatic lack of snow. Assessing the situation at the World Cup and World Championship-level only would be misleading; we need to consider the entire spectrum of the more than 4'500 FIS-controlled events annually. I am concerned that we have lost many young people to other sports, either indoor or dry land activities that are less susceptible to weather. The youth want to practice sport, compete and have fun which is something they could not do through skiing this year.. This, I am afraid, will have an impact on our future."
President Kasper continued: "I am also concerned about the losses that the ski industry has racked up this season, up to 30-40% for certain brands. This will surely affect us in the medium-term as the businesses will first try to sell their old stock before ordering new equipment or dump this season's models at very low prices. Similarly, financial losses at the smaller ski resorts in particular and the associated hotel and restaurant business are significant. This applies to most of Europe as only regions such as the Black Sea, parts of Turkey and Western North-America had good snow this year."
Looking forward, President Kasper summed up: "We can probably survive one season with such a lack of snow and warm temperatures, but will need a few good seasons coming up. There have been bad snow years in the past and just a year ago, we had an excellent season in all aspects. Rather than blowing up the issue, we will have to wait and see how the situation develops. For our sports, however, we need snow out there on the pistes. As an international sports federation we are too small an actor to reverse any climatic changes but we, too, are evaluating the climatic requirements for our sport and what could be done."
On a more positive note, he added: "We are pleased to have enjoyed well-organized FIS World Ski Championships from Arosa to Źre, Sapporo and Madonna di Campiglio. We also saw the successful introduction of the FIS Tour de Ski for Cross-Country Skiing at the year's turn." Presidet Kasper especially highlighted the broad distribution of podium places across a large number of nations. At the FIS World Ski Championships, 18 nations won medals, led by Norway with a total of 19 medals across all disciplines. "We also saw a certain generational change in several disciplines, especially in Alpine Skiing. This often happens following the Olympic Winter Games, but may have been even more substantial this season. It also seems that there could be new stars in the making in a few disciplines."