|News from the World of Skiing|
Drew Neilson preparing to defend his SBX globe ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Thomas Morgenstern (AUT) |
Thomas Morgenstern (AUT) took his second victory in the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping held in excellent conditions in Einsiedeln (SUI) last Saturday. The winner of the first competition in Hinterzarten (GER), Morgenstern was only 13th after the first round but claimed victory both in the day's competition and in the special Four-Nations-Grand-Prix tournament thanks to a strong second jump.
Adam Malysz (POL) finished second. He, too, improved from 8th to 2nd place with a superb second jump which secured his 2nd place in the Four-Nations-Grand-Prix rankings. Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) - winner of the third competition on the 2006 Olympic hill in Pragelato (ITA) where he set a new hill record - led after the first round but fell to 6th place in the final results and thereby lost the chance for winning the Four-Nations-Grand-Prix, where he finished third.
A newcomer in the summer FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping series, Pragelato made a successful debut last Thursday and hopes to host other events in the future. Carlo Fernandez, Venue Manager, noted: "We're not stopping here, as we'll be organizing the Italian Championships in Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined on 22nd-23rd September and the men's Ski Jumping Continental Cup on 1st-2nd December. Our objective is to open the venue on November 1st with artificial snow."
The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping will continue with two competitions in Zakopane (POL) on 24th-25th August.
|Christoph Bieler - winner of the 2006 SGP|
The 10th FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix will kick off with a mass start event in Klingenthal (GER) on 24th August. After the successful premiere last year, the athletes will return to the Vogtlandarena which hosts one of the biggest jumping facilities for summer use. This year, many have an additional reason to spend time training and competing there during the Summer Grand Prix since the first FIS World Cup Nordic Combined is scheduled for February at the same spot.
The summer series will continue at the well-known venue of Steinbach-Hallenberg/Oberhof (GER, 26th August), which has been part of the Summer Grand Prix since its beginning. Thereafter, it is time for Val di Fiemme (ITA, 29th August), Berchtesgaden (GER, 1st September), before the final in Bischofshofen (AUT, 2nd September). Counting the Berchtesgaden team sprint, the schedule includes five races in three countries in ten days!
After skipping the Summer Grand Prix in the past several years, the Finnish team has decided to give it a go again. Team USA, led by 2007 World Championships silver medallist Bill Demong, will also compete in all events. World-class athletes from other countries include the Germans, Ronny Ackermann, Georg Hettich and Bjrn Kircheisen, who just returned from an on-snow camp in New Zealand. Mario Stecher and Christoph Bieler from Austria, Jason Lamy-Chappuis from France and Petter Tande and Havard Klemetsen from Norway will be at the start as well.
In total, 86 athletes from 15 different nations will compete in this year's Summer Grand Prix. Since most of the World Cup Top 20 will participate, the series promises to be very exiting. And please note, to win the overall ranking, participation in each event is required.
Contributed by Christina Fritz
|Daniela Iraschko (AUT)|
The so-called ladies' summer Four-Hills-Tournament in Bischofsgrn und Phla (both GER) and in Bischofshofen and Ramsau (both AUT) finished on Sunday. After four competitions, Daniela Iraschko (AUT) leads the ladies' FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping 2007/08 ranking ahead of Jaquline Seifriedsberger (AUT) and Jenna Mohr (GER). Last year's Cup winner Anette Sagen (NOR) is ranked 4th after participating in two of the four events so far.
All four events were held in good conditions before several thousand spectators. Especially the last event in Ramsau impressed the crowds with high level performances. Some 60 ladies from 13-14 nations competed.
The ladies' circuit will go on with two events each at Lake Placid and Park City (both USA) from 28th August - 2nd September.
|Ski acrobatics in Mettemennstetten|
More than 1200 spectators saw some of the best European aerialists from approximately ten nations compete at the Jumpin water jump facility in Mettemenstetten (SUI) on Sunday. The top spots at the first so-called Summer European Championships for Ski Acrobatics went to Alla Tsuper (BLR) and Nicolas Thepaut (FRA). Evelyne Leu (SUI) and Dimitri Dashinski (BLR) finished second in the ladies and men's events, respectively, while Oly Slivets (BLR) and Renato Ulrich (SUI) took 3rd. Like the Swiss, the Belarusian national team knows the renovated Jumpin facility well having spent weeks there training several summers in a row.
Dimitri Dashinski, silver medalist in the Turin Olympics and in the 2007 FIS World Championships in Madonna di Campiglio, was the only one to challenge the Frenchman Thepaut who delivered a world premiere in his last jump: he landed a perfect "Back, double full, full, double full" which is a triple flip with 5 twists, two twists in the first flip, one twist in the second flip and two twists in the third flip; a wonderful comeback for the 27-year-old who has been injured for a long while. For a video of the jump, see here.
Commenting on the superb jumps, Joe Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator stated: "The aerials degree of difficulty (DD) and criteria were further refined at the FIS spring meetings and we are now seeing some different jumps being done. The separation between the flips and twists and the speed of the rotation in twists now have more emphasis with the trainers, athletes and judges. We saw some excellent examples of these new techniques at the competition in Mettemenstetten."
|President Kasper with the Czech delegation|
A delegation led by the Mayor of Liberec Juri Kittner and including President of the Czech Ski Association Lukas Sobotka, its General Secretary Norbert Pelc and the newly appointed General Secretary of the Liberec 2009 Organizing Committee Marek Rejman visited FIS President Gian Franco Kasper at the FIS office in Oberhofen (SUI) last week. Providing an update on the status of the preparations at the sporting venues and other aspects of event organization, the delegation confirmed that work is continuing to prepare the sites for the official test events set for February 2008. The delegation also assured that the concerns regarding finances have been clarified and a team led by the new OC President Katerina Neumannova is busy at work to ensure that the project stays the course.
The next meeting of the Liberec 2009 coordination group is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the FIS Autumn Meetings in Zurich (SUI) at the end of September. Inspections by the FIS Race Directors are taking place in the meantime to review the various Ski Jumping and Cross-Country facilities, as well as to discuss the sports organization and venue management plans.
The third meeting of the working group for the WADA International Standards for Testing took place on 16th-17th August at the WADA Headquarters in Montral, Canada with the participating of FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis. With the conversion of this document from being Guidelines to Regulations, the focus of the group's work is concentrating on the regulations for the filing of whereabouts information and the policy for missed tests. A crucial element of the future anti-doping work will be dependant on close collaboration between the International Federations and the National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs). Next month, the WADA Executive and Foundation Boards will receive the latest draft of the new WADA Code and the International Standards so that these documents are finalized prior to the World Anti-Doping Conference in Madrid (SPA) in November 2007.
|Camp participants in Reichenbach|
The Grass Skiing Center of Rettenbach, Burgenland (AUT) hosted an international FIS Grass Skiing Youth and Children's Camp at the beginning of August. 41 athletes representing Lithuania, Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria came together to train under the supervision of Hannes Posch. Many new across-the-borders friendships were born as the participants trained in a positive atmosphere in beautiful summer conditions. The races held on the last day, 10th August, crowned the successful camp. These races also represented the final races in the series of Youth and Children's races held in Donzdorf (GER), Presolana (ITA), Bmmeli (SUI) and Rettenbach.
Contributed by Heribert Petermann
|Ski god Ull|
The German Ski Museum in Planegg (GER) is currently displaying a special exhibition on the ski god Ull under the title "Ull and Skadi - Skiing traditions and religious beliefs" (Ull und Skadi - Skibrauchtum und Gtterglaube). The exhibition consists of 72 different, partially very rare Ullr mints, some of which date to 5000 B.C. As noted by Dr. Gerd Falkner, Director of the German Ski Museum, skis are known to have been used for transportation and other daily chores already by the earliest Germanic people and this is also depicted in the cultural and religious signs of that time. In particular, Ull - who was made the main skiing god in the ski history of the 19th and 20th century - has played a special role in Germanic mythology. His character was later even used to establish a certain feeling of common identity among skiing pioneers in Norway and Central Europe: For decades, the "Ullr" served as the must-have skier talisman on ski trips or backcountry adventures. More information on the Ull and related traditions is available in a special exhibition brochure. To visit the exhibition, please make an appointment at the Haus des Ski in Planegg.
Also available: A collection in which the various contributions to an invitational conference of ski historians held at the University of Lugano in Neuchatel in 2006 is now in print. Entitled For a history of winter sports (Pour une histoire des sports d'hiver / Zur Geschichte des Wintersports) and edited by Thomas Busset and Marco Marcacci, the collection includes papers by scientists from six nations. Among them is a contribution by Gerd Falkner on the connection of snow sports and ski racing in the German military along with many other varied themes. The book can be ordered from the CIES in Neuchatel (SUI) for _19 (plus _8 for shipping and handling).
|Drew Neilson and the SBX globe|
|Drew wins at Lake Placid|
Drew Neilson preparing to defend his SBX globe
By Oliver Kraus
While the Snowboard freestylers will open the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup season with a half-pipe event in Cardrona (NZE), the snowboard cross aces are currently in the crunch mode, too. With the first two races for both the ladies and men set for September 26th-29th in Valle Nevado, Chile, it is a critical training period for many national teams and leading athletes.
One of the riders getting ready for the upcoming SBX winter is Drew Neilson. The 33-year-old Canadian is training hard to defend his snowboard cross World Cup title. "Now that I have quit my job, I'm preparing for the season by training really hard in the gym," says the full-time athlete. "I am also spending some time reviewing videos of races and working with a sports psychologist available through the Canadian team. I will go into the season in the best shape I have ever been in."
The father of three-year-old Caleb can easily describe his average training day in the summer: "Wake up, eat breakfast with Caleb, work out in the gym for 1.5 hours, have lunch, go downhill mountain biking or swimming, have dinner, hang out a bit and sleep." "Druid" is fully focused on defending the globe: "My main goal is obviously to win the globe again this season but I also aim to win every race I enter this year, although that is not different from any other year." This is a goal he almost achieved last World Cup season as he dominated the SBX races by triumphing in three out of four races and finishing third in the last one.
But the boarder from North Vancouver, BC, also knows that his season goals cannot be taken for granted: "I guess my main challengers for the title will include Seth Wescott, Nate Holland and, if they start, the Delerue brothers Paul-Henri and Xavier." In addition, Neilson acknowledges the strong upcoming young guns like Stian Sivertzen from Norway: "I think there are a couple of great new riders on the tour who I think are capable of doing great things. Stian is one and Pierre Vaultier is another. I've watched Stian in videos and I'm very impressed. He is tall which helps get over features easier and suck up jumps better. I'll be watching over my shoulder very carefully!"
But before that, some on-snow training is necessary. After two camps with the national roster in Whistler this summer, the Canadians will travel to Chile for three weeks before the FIS World Cup events. They will meet the U.S. Snowboarding team including Olympic Champion Seth Wescott there. Along his summer training regime, 2006 Olympic snowboard cross gold medalist Wescott recently took his physically active lifestyle and made it politically active when he helped kick off a recreational initiative in his home state of Maine. Together with Governor John Baldacci, Wescott and Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic marathon gold medalist, are urging kids and adults to lose their television remote control and get outside.
"Obesity is a real health problem," says Wescott. "I see these issues when driving through these little towns and it's something I'm very passionate about." The purpose of the campaign in Maine is to spur government agencies and outdoor organizations to develop ways to get youngsters and their parents to spend more time outside. While campaigning for more active youth, Wescott is also completing renovations on The Rack Brewery, a restaurant at Sugarloaf he and a few friends purchased prior to the 2006 Olympics.