|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released its report of the IOC 2014 Evaluation Commission on Monday. The report, based on four-day on-site analyses, is a technical summary of the three Candidate Cities bidding to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014: Sochi (RUS), Salzburg (AUT) and PyeongChang (KOR). The IOC members will receive the report ahead of the vote to take place on 4th July in Guatemala City. There will be a final presentation by the Evaluation Commission following the presentations of the three Candidate Cities and preceding the vote for the election of the Host City. To download the report, please click here.
|Gaetano Coppi (ITA)|
This week we feature some questions and answers with Gaetano Coppi, the FIS Council˙Member representing Italy.
Q. Most of Europe lacked snow this season, but Italy was able to step in and host a number of World Cup events this year including several replacement events thanks to huge efforts and lots of creativity. How were you able to do this?
A. Over the past few years, the lack of snow has been a serious problem in all Italian ski resorts. For this reason, even the smaller resorts have equipped themselves with snow-making machinery in order to prepare the courses and open the lifts in a timely manner. In addition, very efficient event organization activity has been set up at the national level.
Q. In addition to World Cups, Italy organizes a vast range of competitions at all levels in all FIS disciplines every season, including for example Tarvisio with the Nordic Junior World Ski Championships. Can you give other nations advice how to convince organizers and resorts to support such junior, FIS-level and Continental Cup events?
A. Our regions and provinces usually provide strong economic support for the organizers, thus favoring and encouraging the organization of many events at all levels. Moreover, it is important to point out that for many ski resorts (in particular those in the Apennines and pre-Alps), the organization of competitions has proved to be good business.
Q. The Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) is the Italian umbrella organization not only for the FIS disciplines but also for Biathlon, Luge, Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Ski Mountaineering. How can you balance the needs of each of these quite different sports and what are the advantages of this organization?
A. It's true that four international federations co-exist under the initials of "Italian Winter Sports Federation - FISI." This was a decision taken by the Italian Olympic Committee in order to improve preparations and medal chances in view of the Olympic Winter Games. At the same time, some disciplines such as Biathlon, Luge and Bobsleigh wouldn't be in a position to enable proper training and preparation for the Olympic Games on their own.
Telemark: Appealing to the youth
On the basis of proposals brought by Slovenia and Switzerland, the FIS Telemark Committee held extensive discussions to refocus the discipline, in particular to begin defining a new event with special Telemark character and extra youth appeal as well as to set clear goals for the discipline. The Committee under leadership of Anthony Favre (FRA) will work all summer and report back at its autumn meeting in Zurich. According to an initial timeline, the new event could be tested next season and could be integrated as early as 2008/2009.
The Committee also decided to introduce an official data system to collect penalties from the gate judges, in order to inform the spectators, racers and the media in less than 10 seconds after the racer passes the finishing line. The system will be finished in January 2008 and tested at the World Cups next season. In terms of the upcoming World Cup season, the Czech Republic will make its debut in the calendar while Finland will organize its second-ever World Cup event. Moreover, World Cup Coordinator Andrea Jovan (SLO) will produce an international FIS Telemark TD list. She will also create a standardized FIS Telemark TD education program with clear quality standards.
Speed Skiing: New slopes and solid World Cup program
The FIS Speed Skiing Committee was able to confirm Vars (FRA) as the location for the 2009 World Speed Skiing Championships, subject to confirmation by the Council, while an active search for a site for 2011 is underway. The Committee directed by Chairman Dick Tapley (GBR) also agreed the program for the 2008 World Cup, with nine races due to be held in FRA, AUT, CAN, FIN, SWE, ITA and SUI (Finals). It also welcomed new speed pistes that have been proposed in ISL and NZE and will be visited by homologation inspectors over the coming year.
Following the success of the Speed Skiing event at the Kulm Ski Flying hill the past season, the Chairman will also seek interest from other Ski Flying hills to hold speed events. The Committee plans a TD Forum for Europe in September and a third Speed Skiing TD conversion course for AUS/NZE during the coming season. Alpina Sicherheitssystem of Austria has offered sponsorship of safety netting and other piste management materiel to help the WC circuit; however, the Committee is still working to locate a technician and transport to move it between World Cup locations in Europe.
Youth and Children's Issues: Initial Meetings
The various discipline Sub-Committees as well as the Coordination Group for Youth and Children's Issues, chaired by Ken Read (CAN), met in Portoroz for the first time since their appointment by the FIS Council last autumn. All discipline Sub-Committees had good first meetings, with initial discussions on mandate and gathering of information about Youth/Children's programs in each nation and discipline.
The Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Sub-Committee led by Harald Heim (AUT) is requesting major nations to nominate additional members and plans a more substantial discussion of current programs and initiatives at its next meeting. The Freestyle/Snowboard Sub-Committee headed by Polly Jo Clark (USA) was pleased about strong attendance and discussed, among other topics, the challenge to attract interest of athletes to participate in FIS programs versus non-FIS programs. The Cross-Country Sub-Committee under direction of Satu Kalajainen (FIN) is keen to support sharing of publications, ideas, consultants and programs for the development of youth and children's programs including a possible FIS youth and children's seminar as well as cross-discipline collaboration. The Alpine Sub-Committee also chaired by Ken Read reviewed several proposals and considered the positive dialogue underway with SRS with a commitment to continue close collaboration for equipment issues, rules, programs, education and philosophy.
Medical: First season of FIS ISS
The Medical Committee guided its Chairman Hubert Hoerterer (GER) heard an initial report from the FIS Injury Surveillance System presented by the project team from the Oslo Trauma Research Center. While an initial analysis of the collected data has already delivered some interesting findings, further analysis will take place in the upcoming weeks and the data will continue to be validated through additional data gathering during the upcoming season.
The Committee also discussed its strategy for providing medical education which it considers an important task, especially for the developing ski nations. Moreover, the Committee considered the various themes reported by its various Working Groups - Alpine, Nordic, Education, Youth & Children and Medical Guide - as well as the reports of the Medical Supervisors who had served in this important role at the past winter's FIS World Championships.
Advertising Matters: Clean podium well on its way
Led by Chairman Howard Peterson (USA), the FIS Advertising Matters Committee had a number of items on its agenda. This included several discipline-specific advertising topics including resort advertising opportunities, sponsored promotional activities to support young athletes and electronic banners especially for night events. The Committee also discussed safety concerns related to advertising placed over the racing slope or course, appropriate limits to the size and number of logos on racing suits or equipment as well as methods for reinforcing the advertising rules. The Committee agreed that reinforcement of the rules is essential and it will consider a variety of possibilities for practical enforcement of rules including methods and possibilities of sanctions at its autumn meeting.
In light of the experiences from the past season, the Committee concluded that its basic strategy to create a 'clean podium' has been successfully implemented. This includes thanks to the athletes for their cooperation in respecting the new rules which detail the list of equipment that is allowed during the winners' presentation on the podium and will be integrated into the ICR, edition 2008.
Public Relations and Mass Media: Telling the story of FIS sports
Under new Chairman Tom Kelly (USA), the Public Relations and Mass Media Committee began a discussion on telling the exciting story of FIS sports and athletes through the modernization of communications and public relations. The lively discussion featured great consensus on how to work together to promote the ski sport. The Committee expressed its interest to increase services to create more positive PR opportunities for the sport and the FIS through FIS World Cup and World Championship competitions in all disciplines and will form a working group to provide recommendations for long-range planning. It also had a discussion on a variety of topics related to television and 'new media.' Some of the key points included importance of TV news access in 'controlling the message' and the importance of 'new media' (Internet, mobile, etc.) in promoting and increasing the value of the sport. A working group of the Committee will take some time in the summer to begin defining a FIS Media Strategy, with both a long term strategy and a tactics plan, designed to protect the value of the assets of the rights holders, the National Ski Associations. Finally, the Committee highlighted the increasing understanding of the importance of branding and maintaining the value of corporate identity among the FIS family.
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Decisions of the FIS Council on the proposals of the various Committee have now been communicated to the National Ski Associations through the Short Summary of the main decisions of the FIS Council which is also published on the Member Services section of the FIS Website.
At its Portoroz (SLO) meeting, the FIS Council confirmed the competition schedule for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE) in 2009, including the two new events: the ladies' Ski Jumping on the normal hill and the mass start competition in Nordic Combined. Please click here to view the complete program. This version replaces the program distributed to the National Ski Associations as part of the print-version of the Short Summary of the Council's meeting. The corrected electronic version of the Short Summary is also available for download from the Members' Section on the FIS web site.