News from the World of Skiing 

  New season, new faces: Coach changes in Alpine Skiing ... more

  WADA strives to strengthen global fight against doping in sport ... more

  World's sport press convenes in Bregenz (AUT) .... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS Council to meet in Portoroz (SLO) ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

New season, new faces: Coach changes in Alpine Skiing
Claudio Ravetto
Much Maier

As teams and athletes continue to test equipment and recharge their batteries for the new season, there have been several changes in the coaching ranks of many FIS Alpine World Cup teams. Here is a summary of some that have come to the attention of the FIS Newsflash:

Several changes have taken place within Italy. Richard Weissensteiner, a newly-elected FISI Vice President, has taken over from Flavio Roda as Sports Director while Carmelo Ghilardi is now responsible for the ladies' program and Ivano Edalini for the youth sector. Claudio Ravetto has been named the new Head Coach for the men. Previously he was responsible for the slalom team, including Giorgio Rocca. The new Head Coach for the Italian ladies' team is the charismatic Much Maier, a former downhill racer.

In Austria, the relatively challenging season for the traditionally very successful downhill team led to the restructuring of the men's training groups. Following the dismantling of the downhill team (Grugger, Buder, Kr”ll & Strobl), there are now only three training groups, led by Andreas Evers, Jrgen Kriechbaum, und Christian H”flehner, respectively. H”flehner replaced Gert Ehn as Coach for the slalom team. Walter Hubmann, previously Coach of the downhill team, will move to a new role within OeSV. Bernd Brunner, it's reported, has left his post as the ladies' slalom Coach to take on new responsibilities in the youth sector; his replacement is not yet known.

Following a successful season for the Swiss national team, the European Cup trainer duo Christian Bresch and Daniele Petrini replaced Fritz Zger as the ladies' giant slalom coach in Switzerland. Their replacement in the European Cup is J”rg Roten. In Sweden, the new Alpine Head Coach is Thomas Stauffer, previously responsible for the Swedish ladies' World Cup team. His successor on the ladies side is Hans Ottosson while the men's team remains under the coordination of Helmuth Krug. Rudi Soulard for the men and Olof Buchar for the ladies have moved up from their respective European Cup teams to support the World Cup.

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Christian Scholz
Janez Slivnik

In France, the biggest change is that after 15 years of separate slalom and giant slalom teams, a single group of technical racers has been created with David Chastan as Head Coach, assisted by Jacques Theolier, Laurent Butafoghi, Stephane Quittet and Olivier Pedron. Yves Dimier will remain Alpine Director while Gilles Brenier will continue to manage the men's team and Jean Philippe Vulliet the ladies' team.

As reported in re, Janez Slivnik (SLO) replaced Michel Bont as Head Coach for the Finnish ladies' team. Bont, returning to the family business, will continue as personal condition trainer for Tanja Poutiainen, however. At the same time, Mike Morin, the US men's slalom and giant slalom Head Coach, resigned and was replaced by Sasha Rearick, Coach of the US men's European Cup for the past two seasons. The US men's Head Coach Phil McNichol is still undecided about whether or not he will continue in his role next season.

In Germany, the main change is the appointment of Christian Scholz as the new men's Head Coach. He replaces Werner Margreiter who resigned at the end of the season. Mario Weinhandel succeeds Wolfgang Erharter as Coach for the men's technical group around Felix Neureuther.

Changes are still pending in Canada, possibly also in Slovenia, along with additional refinements and appointments that are outstanding in some of the above teams.

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WADA strives to strengthen global fight against doping in sport
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper
Photo: NordicFocus

FIS President Gian Franco Kasper participated in the meetings of the Executive Committee and Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) held in Montreal (CAN) last weekend. The main focus of the discussions was on the proposed amendments to the World Anti-Doping Code in the context of the Code Review & Consultation process that will conclude at the 3rd World Conference on Doping in Sport to take place in Madrid (SPA) from 15th-17th November 2007.

The revisions to the Code are intended to help establish an even more robust anti-doping system worldwide. They include provisions to strengthen the anti-doping fight such as a call to increase sanctions in doping cases involving "aggravating circumstances," i.e. being part of a larger doping scheme or an athlete having used multiple prohibited substances. The next revised draft will be circulated in June 2007.

"On behalf of FIS and the entire membership of GAIFS, I strongly requested the removal of the draft provision which requires that World Championships and Olympic Winter Games only be allowed to be organized in countries that have ratified the UNESCO convention. In our view, this only leads to sports being held hostage against governments which in turn can be blackmailed to accepting provisions they have not properly processed as national laws. In the worst case, such a provision would lead to stopping sporting activities in some countries which cannot be considered fair or beneficial for the sport," commented President Kasper and added: "At the same time, our suggestion that WADA builds special infrastructure to support smaller, also non-Olympic sports in their attempts to conform to the WADA code received broad support, including from the IOC Executive Board."

The meetings also highlighted the increasing importance of governments' active engagement in anti-doping. The UNESCO Convention, the tool by which countries align domestic policies with the Code, came into force on February 1, 2007, and has been ratified by 52 governments to-date. Another important discussion topic concerned the alternative ways to combat doping, such as efforts targeting those who facilitate and encourage doping (the entourage and well-organized doping schemes) through investigatory work and coordination with government agencies including customs, drug and law enforcement. Progress towards an "Athlete's Passport" was also reviewed. Heavily supported by FIS, the Athlete's Passport is a tool for tracking biological data from athletes over a period of time in order to identify abnormal profiles and evidence of doping.

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World's sport press convenes in Bregenz (AUT)
Bregenz Festival House (AUT)

The 70th AIPS Anniversary Congress will take place from 14th-20th May in Bregenz (AUT). Almost 350 sports journalists representing a record 108 nations will gather for the largest meeting in the history of AIPS (International Sport Press Association), the association representing the world's sport press. The center of the meeting is the Bregenz Festival House near the shore of Lake Constanz on the western edge of Austria. FIS President Gian Franco Kasper will˙participate in˙a Question and Answer session on Thursday, the first full day of the Congress. The event will be officially opened by Austria's Federal Chancellor Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer together with AIPS President Gianni Merlo (ITA) on Wednesday evening, 16th May. Dr. Gusenbauer will also address the Congress on Thursday, allegedly speaking on the topic of "Honesty in the Fight against Doping."

International Skating Union President Ottavio Cinquanta as well as the Candidate Cities for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games also feature on the agenda, along with presentations by the staff of the IOC, Beijing Olympics, Macau Asian Indoor Games and 2009 Universiade in Belgrade. On May 18th, the group will travel to Liechtenstein, where AIPS will be the guests at a lunch and dinner. On Saturday, the final day of the Congress, a seminar entitled "Visions in sports journalism - the newest communication possibilities" will take place back in Bregenz.

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 Inside FIS 

FIS Council to meet in Portoroz (SLO)
Portoroz (SLO)

The first official meeting of the FIS Council this year will take place at the Hotel Bernardin in Portoroz (SLO) on Monday, 28th May.

The most important items on the Council's Agenda include the confirmation of the competition program for the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'Isere (FRA) and for the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE), as well as the confirmation of the FIS World Cup schedules for the 2007/2008 season. The Council will also deliberate the proposals for new regulations in regard to change of license and revisions to the Rules for the FIS Committees, among other items.

Some of the other important meetings taking place during the FIS Calendar Conference that precedes the Council's Meeting in addition to the spring meetings of the technical committees (for full schedule see here) include a meeting with all the Candidates for the 2012 and 2013 FIS World Ski Championships in order to review the steps and procedures until the election of the organizers by the FIS Council during the 46th International Ski Congress in Cape Town (RSA) in the spring of 2008.

On Saturday, after the meeting of the Alpine World Cup Sub-committee the ski industry's organization SRS (Ski Racing Suppliers), through the Co-Presidents Michael Schineis of Atomic and Gregor Dietachmayr of Fischer, has convened a meeting of all National Ski Association's ski pool representatives to look carefully at ways to try to moderate the high costs associated with traveling and particularly the transportation of equipment notably during overseas training camps in the summer and autumn.

A training course for National Ski Associations in order to assist with the administrative tasks of anti-doping work will be given by WADA's Director of the European Office in Lausanne, Jean-Pierre Moser, to demonstrate the on-line Anti-Doping Administration Management System, also known as "ADAMS". The system can be accessed from anywhere in the world through the internet. Two workshops will be carried out during the meetings in Portoroz (SLO) on Friday 25th May, from 08.00 - 9.30 and from 10.00 - 11.30. The sessions will consist of a presentation and explanation of the system as well as practical exercises. Registrations for the workshops are still possible, please contact Madeleine Erb by email at erb@fisski.ch.

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