|News from the World of Skiing|
In the course of the 2005-2006 season, more than 1.3 million spectators attended the FIS World Cup events in the six FIS Olympic disciplines.
From October 2005 to March 2006, the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup had more than 335,000 spectators in 11 nations on three continents. At the same time, the ladies' Audi FIS Alpine World Cup circuit was enjoyed by almost 140,000 on-site viewers in 13 nations across Europe and North America.
In the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country, almost 315,000 fans in 11 nations got to enjoy the performances of their favorite skiers. In nine nations in Europe and Japan, the E-ON Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping was visited by almost 400,000 people this season. In addition, there were 80,000 spectators at the FIS Ski Flying World Champions at Tauplitz/Bad Mitterndorf (AUT) in January 2006. For Nordic Combined, the Warsteiner World Cup visited seven nations and was seen by almost 60,000 spectators.
The Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup circuit, visiting ten nations on four continents, had more than 80,000 on-site spectators while the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup was viewed by more than 100,000 local on-site visitors in 13 nations also on four continents.
Hosted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Federation (IF) / National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) Anti-Doping Symposium was held in Lausanne on 30th - 31st March, 2006. Approximately 125 IF/NADO representatives, including FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis and Madeleine Erb, administrator of FIS Anti-Doping activities, came together to discuss the current and future activities in the fight against doping. The main themes for presentations and subsequent working group discussions included effective in- and out-of-competition testing, the roll-out of the new, on-line Anti-Doping Administration System (ADAMS), and improved coordination of information for athlete whereabouts and Therapeutic Use Exemptions.
One of the Symposium's main topics, the ADAMS system is designed to help coordinate and simplify the daily activities of all stakeholders involved in the anti-doping system and notably, ease the athletes' delivery of their whereabouts information. ADAMS is a web-based database management system available in French, English, and Spanish. In addition to athlete whereabouts, it includes functionality to administer Therapeutic Use Exemptions and doping control information as well as to increase coordination of anti-doping activities through an Information Clearing House. For more information on ADAMS, click here. In addition to ADAMS, WADA is planning to implement a secure extranet for the anti-doping organizations to exchange information, such as lists of contacts and scientific information.
As discussed at the Symposium, WADA has recently introduced an Athlete Outreach Model that anti-doping organizations, national Olympic committees, international and national federations can use to educate athletes about the dangers and consequences of doping. The comprehensive turn-key program is a fun way to increase awareness, including an interactive computer game, templates for banners, anti-doping educational publications, and prizes for athletes.
In the future, following the adoption of the WADA Code by UNESCO on 19th October 2005 - a critical step for the global anti-doping program - the anti-doping organizations will be meeting in a World Conference in 2007 to finalize amendments to the WADA Code.
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|Atle Skaardal & Gnter Hujara|
In Part II of our Season Analysis-series, the FIS Race Directors for Alpine Skiing, Gnter Hujara for the men, and Atle Skaardal for the ladies, share some of their initial observations of the past season in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup.
FIS Newsflash: In your assessment, what was the 2005-2006 season like?
Atle Skaardal: It was definitely an interesting season. With the Torino Olympic Winter Games, it was also a very challenging season for me personally as this was my first season in this role and I learned a lot. Regarding an overall season assessment, I find that the organizers' technical competence in the ladies' World Cup is already at a very high level. However, with the increasing number of ladies' and men's races held together at the same venues - which is something that will become even more obvious in next year's World Cup calendar - the expectations will continue to rise. We already saw several races with the ladies performing extremely well on courses prepared in the same manner as the men's, and we look forward to more of those next season.
Gnter Hujara: For the men, it was a good season, characterized by excellent cooperation with the race organizers and by only one race cancellation (downhill in Chamonix due to fog). The organizational standards have clearly reached a new level, especially from the technical and structural perspectives, and we are very pleased with the overall result. The same could be said about the Olympics, where the Alpine Skiing competitions could be staged under extremely variable conditions thanks to the very thorough technical preparations. It was also an exciting season as several World Cups were not decided until the World Cup finals in re (SWE). These final races showed that re is ready for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships there next year, and that now we just need to cross our fingers for good weather!
FIS Newsflash: Where do you see the focus for your discipline going forward?
Atle Skaardal & Gnter Hujara: As usual, we will spend the summer working with the various organizers, especially during our site visits, to analyze any weak points, cooperate on possible solutions and answer questions.
One of our future focus areas will be further developing the World Cup competition calendar, always a delicate mix of sport-organizational needs and sport-political agendas. It would seem that, sooner rather than later, we need to reflect on the fundamental objective of the FIS Alpine World Cup and on that basis, develop a Calendar Master Plan to serve as the foundation for long-term planning of our global competitions including balanced annual variations. Given that we now can draw on several years of experience within the various FIS organs, we should be well-positioned to put together a plan that reconciles our binary objectives of developing the sport of Alpine Skiing and delivering results.
In terms of sporting rules, we consider the product of Alpine Skiing to be very well-defined and of high quality. With the nations' team event and the super combined, we have two new events that have been received enthusiastically and are now ready to be properly marketed. The FIS World Cup calendars for the 2006-2007 season will also feature an increased number of super combined races, including several that will include a super-G, rather than a downhill race, with a one-run slalom. This is done for scheduling reasons when there isn't sufficient time for the requisite days of downhill training, and to allow participation by nations that lack the altitude drop required for downhill in order for them to promote the speed disciplines through the super-G. Next season, for the first time, there will also be a separate, official FIS World Cup ranking for the combined - the rules require at least three competitions per season as basis for awarding a World Cup crystal globe and we needed a full competition season to establish a separate World Cup Start List (WCSL) for the event.