News from the World of Skiing 

A long World Cup season with a triumphant ending
Tobias Angerer (GER)
Marit Bjoergen (NOR)

With the finals of all FIS Olympic disciplines taking place last weekend, the FIS World Cup season is now complete. A total of 300 out of the 306 planned World Cup events were staged˙by 22 nations, including 58 Cross-Country Skiing (ladies and men), 24 Ski Jumping, 21 Nordic Combined, 74 Alpine Skiing (ladies and men), 58 Freestyle Skiing (ladies and men) and 65 Snowboard (ladies and men) events.

The 2005-2006 World Cup medals ranking was won by Austria with 138 World Cup podium appearances, followed by Norway, Canada, Finland, USA and Switzerland. Altogether, 27 nations celebrated FIS World Cup podium places this season.

Cross-Country Skiing

Although Beckie Scott (CAN) won the last race of the season in the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country held in Sapporo (JPN), Marit Bjoergen (NOR) - the World Cup leader since the season opener in October - won their duel for the ladies' overall World Cup victory. Despite losing the big crystal globe by just 16 points, Scott can be satisfied with her last, and best, World Cup season that included four victories and altogether nine podium places. Bjoergen, now with 26 career victories, repeated her overall World Cup victory from last season, and took already her fourth consecutive JOSKA globe in the sprint World Cup.

On the men's side, the World Cup's debut in China delivered the career-first podium places for Christoph Eigenmann (2nd; SUI) and Andrew Newell (3rd; USA). Tobias Angerer (GER) and Bjoern Lind (SWE) had already confirmed their World Cup victories before the Asian tour.

An all-time record of 17 nations achieved World Cup podium appearances this season, ten of them went home with at least one victory. The Nations' Cup in Cross-Country was won by Norway that took 19 season victories and 47 podium places, followed by Germany with 31 and Sweden with 26 podium finishes. There were 126 ladies and 181 men who scored World Cup points and 25 nations that won points in the Nations' Cup.

World Cup Winners:
Overall World Cup female: Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
Overall World Cup male: Tobias Angerer (GER)
Distance World Cup female: Julija Tchepalova (RUS)
Distance World Cup male: Tobias Angerer (GER)
Sprint World Cup female: Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
Sprint World Cup male: Bjoern Lind (SWE)
Nations' Cup (male, female & overall): Norway

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Ski Jumping
Jakub Janda (CZE)

In the final E-ON Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping competitions on the world's largest ski flying hill in Planica (SLO), world distance record holder (239m set in 2005) Bjoern Einar Romoeren (NOR) and late-season comet Janne Happonen (FIN) delivered the winning daily performances. In the meantime, Jakub Janda became the first Czech winner of the overall World Cup in its 27-year-old history. 2nd in the season's standings, Janne Ahonen (FIN) also set a new World Cup record by ranking in the season top three for the seventh time in his career. Andreas Kuettel (SUI) who ranked 3rd overall became only the second Swiss to rank in the season top three after Stephan Zuend was 2nd in 1990-1991.

Austria won the Nations' Cup for the 11th time, followed by Norway and Finland. Altogether, 85 athletes from 18 nations scored World Cup points in the 22 individual competitions. Seven nations celebrated World Cup victory while nine nations stood on the podium at least once during the season.

World Cup Winners:
Overall World Cup: Jakub Janda (CZE)
Nations' Cup: Austria

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Nordic Combined
Hannu Manninen (FIN)

In the Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined in Sapporo (JPN), Hannu Manninen (FIN) returned to his winning ways after a six-week period marred with illness. With record-breaking 12 season victories, he took home his third consecutive overall and sprint World Cup crystal globes. Manninen now has 43 World Cup victories, a whopping 17 more than the number two in the all-time rankings, Bjarte Engen Vik (NOR), and 76 career podiums, 13 more than his closest challenger Ronnie Ackermann (GER). Meanwhile, 19-yer-old Jason Lamy-Chappuis (FRA) celebrated his career-first World Cup victory in the season's last race on Sunday, the first for France since Sylvain Guillaume stood at the top of the podium in Liberec (CZE) in 1996.

The 2006 Nordic Combined Nations' Cup went to Germany, followed by Finland and Austria. All in all, 66 athletes from 14 nations scored World Cup points. Five nations took home at least one World Cup victory while six nations made it on the podium in the 21 competitions.

World Cup Winners:
Overall World Cup: Hannu Manninen (FIN)
Sprint World Cup: Hannu Manninen (FIN)
Nations' Cup: Germany

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Alpine Skiing
Team Austria
Ladies' overall World Cup podium

What a season of records for Janica Kostelic! In addition to her nine season victories that included the historical Alpine Grand Slam of five victories in 36 days, a total of 17 World Cup podium appearances and two Olympic medals, Kostelic's (CRO) overall World Cup title also delivered a new record of 1970 total points, which is 10 more than the previous record set by Pernilla Wiberg (SWE) in 1997. Another record was set by Martina Ertl-Renz (GER) who ended her long career after massive 428 World Cup participations.

To complement Anja Paerson's victory over Maria-Jose Rienda Contreras (SPA) in the duel for the giant slalom crystal globe, Markus Larsson (SWE) gained a historic triumph in the season's last slalom, becoming the first Swedish male to win in the FIS Alpine World Cup since 2001, and the first in thirteen years to win in slalom. The expected duel for the men's slalom World Cup never happened as Giorgio Rocca's challenger Kalle Palander (FIN) could not start due to injury, so Rocca won the title even though he failed to finish for the fifth time in a row. The last super-G of the season also made history because with the American double victory and Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), the winner of the discipline crystal globe, in 3rd place there were no Austrians on the podium for the first time in ten years and 68 super-G races!

In the Nations' Cup, Austria dominated by collecting more than twice as many points (15 449) as the 2nd-placed USA (6541). 123 ladies and 147 men from 22 nations won World Cup points in the 74 competitions staged in the 2005-2006 season. An appropriate finale for the long season was represented by the Audi Athletes' Evening on Saturday which, in addition to a well-deserved celebration with all the teams, included an introduction of the new Audi Q7 by the evening's host, Audi Sweden.

World Cup Winners:
Overall World Cup female: Janica Kostelic (CRO)
Overall World Cup male: Benjamin Raich (AUT)
Slalom World Cup female: Janica Kostelic (CRO)
Slalom World Cup male: Giorgio Rocca (ITA)
Giant slalom World Cup female: Anja P„rson (SWE)
Giant slalom World Cup male: Benjamin Raich (AUT)
Super-G World Cup female: Michaela Dorfmeister (AUT)
Super-G World Cup male: Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)
Downhill World Cup female: Michaela Dorfmeister (AUT)
Downhill World Cup male: Michael Walchhofer (AUT)
Nations' Cup: Austria

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Freestyle Skiing
Tomas Kraus (CZE)
Ophelie David (FRA)

In the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup final in Apex (CAN), Dmitri Dashinski (BLR) won the season's last competition and snatched the season's overall men's aerials title from previous leader Kyle Nissen (CAN) who finished 8th. The Swiss aerials Olympic champion Evelyne Leu finished 4th which was enough for her to capture the crystal globe after reaching the World Cup podium four times earlier in the season. In moguls, the 2006 Olympic champions Jennifer Heil (CAN - a national hero) and Dale Begg-Smith (AUS) had already confirmed their globes in the competitions in Asia. Kari Traa (NOR), winner of 37 World Cup gold medals and three time Olympic medalist, finished 2nd in the overall moguls' standings in the last season of her illustrious career. The overall World Cup victories both in the ladies' and men's standings went to the winners of the skicross World Cup: Ophelie David of France and Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic.

In total, 27 nations scored points in the Nations' Cup that was won by Canada before the USA. 203 males and 145 females were ranked in the overall Freestyle Skiing World Cup standings this season.

World Cup Winners:
Overall World Cup female: Ophelie David (FRA)
Overall World Cup male: Tomas Kraus (CZE)
Aerials World Cup female: Evelyne Leu (SUI)
Aerials World Cup male: Dmitri Dashinski (BLR)
Moguls World Cup female: Jennifer Heil (CAN)
Moguls World Cup male: Dale Begg-Smith (AUS)
Skicross World Cup female: Ophelie David (FRA)
Skicross World Cup male: Tomas Kraus (CZE)
Half-pipe World Cup female: Anais Caradeux (FRA)
Half-pipe World Cup male: Kalle Leinonen (FIN)
Nations' Cup: Canada

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Snowboard
Simon Schoch & Daniela Meuli
Jasey Jay Anderson & Dominique Maltais

At the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup finals in Furano (JPN), Olympic champion Daniela Meuli (SUI) crowned her outstanding season with the fifth World Cup triumph and 11th podium appearance, also ensuring her third consecutive parallel and second consecutive overall World Cup titles. On the men's side, Simon Schoch took the crown in the parallel and overall World Cups from his younger brother Philipp, the 2006 and 2002 Olympic champion. In the men's half-pipe, Germany's Jan Michaelis ranked 3rd and confirmed his victory of the discipline crystal globe, his second since the 2001-2002 season. For the first time, both snowboardcross World Cup titles went to Canada, to Dominique Maltais and Jasey Jay Anderson, while Michal Novotny (CZE) delivered the first-ever Snowboard World Cup victory to his home country in the last snowboardcross competition of the season.

197 ladies and 351 men from 33 nations scored World Cup points while 18 nations celebrated top three appearances this season. With 53 podium places, Switzerland showed remarkable strength throughout the long season, followed by France with 30 podium finishes.

World Cup Winners:
Overall World Cup female: Daniela Meuli (SUI)
Overall World Cup male: Simon Schoch (SUI)
Parallel World Cup female: Daniela Meuli (SUI)
Parallel World Cup male: Simon Schoch (SUI)
SBX World Cup female: Dominique Maltais (CAN)
SBX World Cup male: Jasey Jay Anderson (CAN)
Half-pipe World Cup female: Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI)
Half-pipe World Cup male: Jan Michaels (GER)
Big Air World Cup: Stefan Gimpl (AUT)
Nations' Cup: Switzerland

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Increasing quality in ladies' Continental Cup Ski Jumping
Lisa Demetz (ITA) in Kranj

The ladies' FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping was staged for the second time this season. 61 competitors scored Continental Cup points in the 18 competitions - eight in the summer and ten in the winter - held in eight nations. The season saw an increase in the quality of the competition compared with the opening season of 2004-2005. Indeed, six ladies celebrated Continental Cup victory at least once this season, compared with two last season. Anette Sagen (NOR) repeated her cup victory from last year, followed by Lindsay Van and Jessica Jerome, both of the USA. Altogether, 72 competitors from ten nations in Europe, North America and Asia participated, demonstrating an increased interest in the event.

This season, the ladies' Ski Jumping also debuted as part of the program at the FIS Nordic Junior World Championships in Kranj (SLO) on 5th February, 2006, where Juliane Seyfahrt (GER) claimed the first Junior World Champion title.

The ladies' FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping will take place in a similar format in the 2006-2007 season, and is likely to feature new venues since several potential organizers have expressed an interest in being part of the series.

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6th FIS Marathon Cup concludes successfully
Men's FIS Marathon Cup podium

The 6th edition of the FIS Marathon Cup 2005-06, a Worldloppet series for elite Cross-Country skiers that was launched as of the 1999-2000 season, concluded with the 54-kilometer, classical-style Birkebeinerrennet (NOR) from Rena to Lillehammer last Saturday, 18th March, 2006. This year's series included eight races starting with La Sgambeda (ITA) on 18th December 2005, followed by Jizersk  Pades tka (CZE) and Marcialonga (ITA) in January, Der Koenig-Ludwig-Lauf (GER), La Transjurassienne (FRA) and the American Birkebeiner (USA) in February, and the Engadin Skimarathon (SUI) and Birkebeinerrennet in March. For the first time, owing to the participation of Vasaloppet in the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country and the introduction of La Transjurassienne, the series was evenly balanced between races in the classical and free techniques.

The official FIS Marathon Cup rankings were dominated by Team Italia. On the men's side, the Italians took the top four positions led by Marco Cattaneo, 2nd in last year's rankings, ahead of Pierluigi Constantin, Roberto Dezolt and Tullio Grandelis. In the ladies' ranking, Cristina Paluselli took already her third consecutive victory before her two team mates Anna Santer and Lara Peyrot. Sofia Lind (SWE), who ranked 3rd in the past two years, was 4th in this year's rankings.

The Worldloppet includes the 14 largest popular Cross-Country races in the world with more than 95.000 annual participants. For more information, please refer to www.worldloppet.com

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Quantum leap for skiing at Paralympic Winter Games

The IX Paralympic Winter Games came to a close in Turin on Sunday, 19th March, 2006. An amazing demonstration of courage, dedication, and superb athletic performances, the Games provided a wonderful showcase for sport for people with a disability. The skiing competitions at the 2006 Paralympics were supported by key members of the FIS Sub-Committee for Skiers with a Disability, including Committee Chairperson Rita Van Driel (NED) as technical delegate for Cross-Country Skiing, Peter L„uppi (SUI) as technical delegate for Alpine Skiing, and IPC Alpine Skiing Race Director Michael Knaus (AUT) as referee also for Alpine Skiing. The Sub-Committee for Skiers with a Disability, officially launched following the FIS Congress in Miami in 2004, is the group that serves as a liaison between the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and FIS in all FIS disciplines.

For the first time, this year's Paralympics employed the so-called three-category-system for disability that has long been used in competitions held under FIS rules: the competitions were staged in the three categories of standing, sitting and visually impaired athletes. Michael Knaus commented: "The Turin Paralympics represented a historic breakthrough for Disabled Skiing. With the use of the three-category-system, the quality of the competitions took a quantum leap forward. This dramatic improvement in turn greatly helped increase interest and recognition for our sport among the public."

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 Inside FIS 

FIS recruiting Snowboard Race Director

FIS is looking to recruit a FIS Snowboard Race Director. This is a unique opportunity to work for the sport's world governing body. The work is extremely demanding with a high level of responsibility and entails both administrative and technical duties. In order to properly carry out the organisational tasks and liaise with the other departments, much of the FIS Snowboard Race Director's time outside of the competition period needs to be spent at the FIS Office in Oberhofen, Switzerland. English and German (and computers!) are the working languages, whilst other languages are a bonus.

Interested candidates should send their curriculum vitae to the International Ski Federation, Sarah Lewis, Secretary General (lewis@fisski.ch) by 31st March, 2006.

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