News from the World of Skiing 

  Storm Emma challenges FIS World Cups ... more

  Great crowd at Freestyle city aerials in Moscow ... more

  Excellent Cross-Country Junior Worlds in Malles (ITA) ... more

  Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined youth in Zakopane (POL) ... more

  Alpine Junior Worlds bid farewell to sunny Formigal ... more

  Germany and Austria win the 2008 Marc-Hodler-Trophies ... more

  UCI trialing the Athlete's Passport together with WADA ... more

  Aukland double victory in Vasaloppet ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS Doping Panel sanctions former head coach of Austrian Cross-Country team ... more

  FIS Medical Committee Educational Series: Part 7

Eating Disorders and the Female Triad ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Storm Emma challenges FIS World Cups
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Photo: NordicFocus
Norwegian strength in Drammen
Photo: NordicFocus

The Cross-Country skiers moved from Sweden to Finland to continue their Viessmann FIS World Cup season. In the Lahti sprint, the 2006 Olympic Champion Chandra Crawford (CAN) claimed her second World Cup victory. There were athletes from six different nations in the ladies' A-final. On the men's side, five different nations skied in the A-Final as Anders Gloersen (NOR), too,˙claimed his second career victory just ahead of Andrew Newell (USA) who posted his career-best result.

In the distance races, World Cup leaders Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and Lukas Bauer (CZE) took their fourth and fifth season wins, respectively. German Katrin Zeller surprised by taking the third place in the ladies' race, her first podium appearance. Sergey Cherepanov (KAZ) did the same in the men's race, also finishing 3rd.

In the Drammen City Sprint (NOR) on Wednesday, Kuitunen collected her 17th career victory. With that, she is nearing her second consecutive World Cup victory as she is now leading 174 points ahead of Astrid Jacobsen (NOR). In the men's event, Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) won before the home audience. As always, Drammen was a Norwegian festival - 17 Norwegians qualified for the men's final heats and ten Norwegians were among the top 12. With his win, Hattestad also claimed the lead in the men's sprint rankings with two points over Emil Joensson (SWE). Lukas Bauer has now clinched the overall World Cup title since Rene Sommerfeldt of Germany is 428 points behind. There are another 400 points up for grabs as the World Cup continues on Holmenkollen on Saturday.

The winds had no mercy for Ski Jumping last weekend at Lahti Ski Games. Both the e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping team competition planned for Saturday and the individual competition on Sunday had to be cancelled due to strong winds. The individual event, the first one in the series of four that are part of the so-called Nordic Tournament was rescheduled in Kuopio on Monday. Local hero Janne Happonen (FIN) claimed victory after one round as the remnants of the Europe-wide storm made it impossible to provide equal conditions for all jumpers. In the second competition, now staged in snowfall, Janne Ahonen (FIN) won. After two events, Happonen leads the Nordic Tournament ahead of Ahonen with the minimal margin of 0.2 points. The newly crowned Ski Flying world champion Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) is third, ahead of three Norwegians. The Nordic Tournament continues on Friday in Lillehammer (NOR).

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Bode Miller (USA)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Lake Placid SBX

The conditions were not easier for Nordic Combined in Lahti. On Friday, the individual Gundersen competition could still be held according to the plan. Petter Tande from Norway won in front of Erik Frenzel, who crashed just before the finish. After a difficult season, Hannu Manninen (FIN) had a comeback with the best Cross-Country racing time which brought him from the 30th place after jumping almost onto the podium in fourth. Since the sprint competition on Saturday had to be cancelled, Ronny Ackermann of Germany was confirmed as the winner of the overall Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined title. With two more competitions scheduled at Holmenkollen (NOR) this weekend, he is leading by more than 200 points ahead of Bill Demong (USA).

The same `Emma' storm that gave trouble in Lahti also forced the cancellation of both Audi FIS Alpine World Cup ladies' events in Zwiesel (GER). The Alpine men missed the wrath of Emma with a trio of speed races in Kvitfjell (NOR), one of them a makeup downhill from Val d'Isere. Bode Miller (USA) turned in perhaps his best weekend of racing this season, with a pair of second-place results and a win. With both of his biggest competitors for the overall title, Didier Cuche (SUI) and Benjamin Raich (AUT) finished behind him, Miller grew his lead in the overall points while closing to within five points of Cuche for the downhill title. Kvitfjell also saw two first-time winners as Werner Heel (ITA) won the opening downhill and Austrian Georg Streitberger the closing super-G. Otherwise the Kvitfjell weekend was overshadowed by the tragic accident of Matthias Lanzinger (AUT) in Sunday's super-G.

Moving from Far-East (Korea and Japan) to North-America, the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup continued with a half-pipe in Calgary (CAN) and SBX & PGS races in Lake Placid (USA). In Calgary, both China and Canada claimed double victory at the sixth half-pipe competition of the season. The win for Jiayu Liu (CHN) was the third consecutive win for the Chinese freestyle ladies' team, and her second triumph which enabled her to claim the lead in the half-pipe World Cup rankings. In the men's night final, Canadian Brad Martin bested teammate Jeff Batchelor.

In Lake Placid, Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner made sure that the only snowboard cross contest on US snow this season was tightly in the host nation's hands. For Jacobellis, it was her fourth consecutive victory on the Boreen course at White Face Mountain in Lake Placid. On the men's side, Baumgartner celebrated his career's first ever World Cup top spot.

In PGS, veteran Mathieu Bozzetto (FRA) grew his World Cup lead in the parallel standings as he celebrated a great comeback after a low period of three races and his biggest concurrent Benjamin Karl (AUT) finished 3rd. In the ladies' race, Svetlana Boldikova of Russia beat Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli (SUI) in the ladies' final. Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) continues to lead the parallel World Cup rankings.

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Great crowd at Freestyle city aerials in Moscow
Moscow crowd
Photo: Mike Ridewood
Steve Omischl (CAN)
Photo: Mike Ridewood

More than 30'000 spectators, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, created a fantastic atmosphere at the first ever Freestyle FIS World Cup city aerials event in Moscow (RUS) Saturday night. The competitions were held under challenging conditions including heavy winds.

In the men's event, Steve Omischl of Canada continued his outstanding season with his seventh podium appearance in eight starts. With his fifth season victory, Omischl also clinched the 2007/2008 aerials World Cup crown, his third aerials World Cup title. Stanislav Kravchuk of Ukraine posted an excellent 2nd jump to rise to 2nd place. In the ladies' competition, Emily Cook of the USA picked up her first World Cup win in her 52nd World Cup start. The season's final aerial event will take place in Davos (SUI) on Friday. To relive the Moscow city aerials, see here.

The Freestyle FIS World Cup in moguls continued with a dual mogul night competition in Marianske Lazne/Marienbad (CZE). A great crowd showed up to see the night finals despite the poor weather and storm over Central Europe. France's Guilbaut Colas was the winner of the men's A-final, narrowing the gap to World Cup leader Dale Begg-Smith of Australia (9th in Marianske Lazne) to just 15 points with three moguls events remaining on the schedule. In the ladies competition, Aiko Uemura of Japan won her second straight competition and took over the World Cup lead. The moguls World Cup continues this week with single and dual moguls action in Are (SWE) on 7th and 8th March. Before that, the so-called Swiss Freestyle Week will kick-off with a ski cross competition in Grindelwald (SUI) on Thursday, followed by another event in Meiringen-Hasliberg on Sunday.

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Excellent Cross-Country Junior Worlds in Malles (ITA)
Ladies 5km podium
Photo: OC Malles
Repeat U-23 champion Cologna
Photo: OC Malles

The FIS Junior and U-23 World Ski Championships in Cross-Country took place in beautiful, sunny weather in Malles (Val Venosta, ITA) from 22nd to 29th February. Blessed with great snow conditions, participants enjoyed exciting competitions and a fantastic organizing committee which jumped in 10 days beforehand for the Polish town of Szczyrk that had to withdraw due to lack of snow.

"For the young skiers, it is very important to have the Junior and U-23 World Championships. I was more than happy that the team from Malles led by Alfred Lingg took over the events," commented Jrg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country. "And as many, many voices have told me, it was a great success! A big thank you belongs to the organizers and volunteers from Malles!"

The "queen" of Malles was Therese Johaug (NOR), who won two individual gold medals and also one with the team. Olga Tiagai of Russia collected two gold medals in the individual distance events in the U-23 category.

On the men's side, Alex Harvey from Canada, the son of the three-time World Cup winner Pierre Harvey was the most successful junior skier winning the silver medal in the classical 10 km race and finishing fourth twice in individual competitions. In the U-23 category, the men's three winners Martin Jaks (CZE), Robyn Bryntesson (SWE) and Dario Cologna (SUI) have all made their marks at the World Cup level, too.

In Malles, Norway won the medals table with four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Russia finished 2nd with three gold medals, and two bronze and silver medals each. Sweden took 3rd (2-3-1) while France was 4th (1-4-1) ahead of Germany (1-1-3). Altogether, 12 countries won medals, eight of them gold.

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Alpine Junior Worlds bid farewell to sunny Formigal
Men's DH podium

The 2008 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships were held in Formigal (SPA) last week. With the exception of Thursday, all the races were held in sunny weather. The warm conditions, however, were challenging which the organizing team mastered with great determination and a fantastic attitude that delivered the best possible racing circumstances for all athletes.

"We truly had great championships in Formigal. The organizing committee put in a full effort to stage the event at the high level required of World Championships. The teams were all very positively surprised since few had been to Formigal before," stated Janez Flere, FIS Race Director for the ladies events. "We all returned home with great memories of Formigal, its friendly team and their wonderful hospitality."

In the medals table after all five events for the young ladies and men, Austria again topped the list with the most medals with a total of 10 of which 5 gold. With two gold medals and one each silver and bronze, Germany finished 2nd ahead of Italy that collected one of each.

Anna Fenninger and Marcel Hirscher (both AUT) were the only athletes returning home with two gold medals. Fenninger, silver medalist in the super-G, won the giant-slalom and with her 4th place in downhill and 8th in slalom, she also took the victory in the combined which is determined through a tally of race points in these three events. Hirscher successfully defended his giant slalom gold from last year's Junior Worlds and added a second gold to the one he won in slalom in Formigal. Germany's Victoria Rebensburg completed her medals collection from Formigal as she won a silver in the giant slalom in addition to the gold from super-G and bronze from downhill. Hagen Patscheider of Italy and Kristian Haug of Norway were the other two young talents travelling home with two medals each.

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Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined youth in Zakopane (POL)
Alessandro Pittin (ITA)
Andreas Wank (GER)

The 2008 FIS Junior World Championships in Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined were held from Wednesday 27th February to Friday 29th February in Zakopane (POL). Given the very mild weather, the conditions were tough but the team in Zakopane did a great job in staging the competitions as best they could. The Ski Jumping competitions were held on the `Srednia Krokiew' HS 94 hill in Zakopane. For Nordic Combined, the Cross-Country Skiing races took place 7km outside of Zakopane on a challenging 1.25km loop. The organizers again showcased their flexibility in rescheduling the Nordic Combined sprint competition from Saturday to Friday on the basis of the poor weather forecast predicting a storm.

The most successful athletes in Zakopane included Andreas Wank of Germany who not only won the individual Ski Jumping gold but also gold with the German team in the team event. Jaqueline Seifriedsberger of Austria was crowned the third FIS Junior World Champion in ladies' Ski Jumping. In Nordic Combined, Tomaz Druml (AUT) amassed three medals, gold in the sprint and silver both in the individual Gundersen and team events. Alessandro Pittin of Italy, the first Italian medalist in Nordic Combined in the Junior Worlds, returned home with a gold and a bronze, along with a fourth place with the team. For more, visit www.tzn.com.pl

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Germany and Austria win the 2008 Marc-Hodler-Trophies
Marc-Hodler-Trophy

At the FIS Junior World Ski Championships, the national teams do not only compete for individual medals but also for the coveted Marc-Hodler-Trophy awarded to the best team. The best two racers per nation in the top ten score points for the trophy in each individual event. Introduced in 1999, the trophy is awarded in honor of Marc Hodler, the long-time President of FIS, who was a great supporter of major competitions for the juniors and of young skiers world-wide. This season is the tenth time that the Marc-Hodler-Trophies are awarded.

At the FIS Nordic Junior World Championships 2008, when the results from the Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined events held in Zakopane (POL) and the Cross-Country evens held in Malles (ITA) are added together, Germany collected 128 points. This is five points more than Norway that had won the trophy the last three times. France finished third with 60 points, ahead of Austria which gathered 53 points. Overall, the Marc-Hodler-Trophy has been won by Norway five times, by Germany twice (2008 and 2004) and by Finland, the first three times (1999-2001).

In the Alpine events in Formigal, Austria collected 115 points and won the trophy for 7th time. Only in 2002 and 2004 has the USA won it and in 2003, Switzerland brought the best team. This year, Germany finished 2nd with 69 points, ahead of Norway and Italy.

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UCI trialing the Athlete's Passport together with WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) held a media symposium at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (SUI) last week, updating the international media on the state of the fight against doping in sport.

The year 2008 is an important year for WADA. It is the first year that signatories to the 2003 World Anti-Doping Code must officially report their status vis-…-vis Code compliance. In addition, following the unanimous adoption of the revised Code at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport in Madrid in November 2007, signatories also have to implement the necessary amendments in their rules prior to the revised Code coming to force on 1st January, 2009.

While WADA's new President, the Hon. John Fahey, whose term began on January 1, 2008, presented his views on the organization's work and mission under his purview, David Howman, WADA Director General, reviewed the changes to the Code. Dr. Alain Garnier, WADA Medical Director discussed the concept of the Athlete's Passport that WADA, supported by FIS, has been working on since 2002. To view the full presentations click here.

Starting this year, the Athlete's Passport will be piloted by the International Cycling Union (UCI). UCI is spending almost _5 million to trial the scheme in which up to 900 professional riders are participating. Riders will be subject to in- and out-of-competition tests with samples of blood and urine taken to build up hematological and steroid profiles. More than 7'000 out-of-competition tests are planned, compared with 1'000 last year. The longitudinal monitoring of these profiles for each rider will indirectly reveal the effects of doping. For abnormal biological parameters that stand out in the results collected in the Athlete's Passport, sanctions could range from a no-start suspension to an anti-doping rule violation.

FIS introduced its own blood monitoring program in 2002, which is effectively an Athlete's Passport, initially launched under the guidance of Professor Bengt Saltin until 2006 and subsequently of Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard. The on-going developments with the UCI-WADA project are being closely followed by FIS. As part of the scheme, UCI has also implemented ADAMS, the online system for tracking e.g. whereabouts information which FIS pioneered in implementing as one of the first International Federations. A WADA evaluation commission will review the results of the pilot project throughout the year for the purpose of refinements and development and evaluate implementation in other sports.

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Aukland double victory in Vasaloppet
Vasaloppet
Photo: NordicFocus

Finally, after three second and three third places, it was time or Norway's J”rgen Aukland to win Vasaloppet last weekend in Mora (SWE). Vasaloppet is legendary within the Cross-Country family, and those first into the finish in Mora earn respect only accorded to very few. With the other Aukland brother Anders in 2nd place, it was the first Norwegian double victory ever and only the third Norwegian win in history of Vasaloppet. The ladies' win went to Sandra Hansson (SWE), a onetime Junior World Champion in relay.

Some 16,000 skiers started in the main race on Sunday. The entire race was broadcast live in both Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, about 25-30% of the population watch the race on TV, and it is the single most popular annual sport event on TV in Sweden.

After Vasaloppet, there are just two more races remaining on the FIS Marathon Cup calendar. Next Sunday, it will be time for the 40th Engadin Ski Marathon before the final event, the Birkebeinerrennet in Norway. Since the Tartu Marathon (EST) had to be cancelled due to lack of snow, only nine competitions will be counted to the 2007/08 FMC. Leading the men's rankings is Joergen Aukland, 29 points ahead of Jerry Ahrlin (SWE).˙In the ladies' rankings, Tatiana Jambaeva (RUS) is leading ahead of Swedes Jenny Hansson and Elin Ek.

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 Inside FIS 

FIS Doping Panel sanctions former head coach of Austrian Cross-Country team

The FIS Doping Panel has issued its decision in the case of the head coach of the Austrian Cross-Country team Emil Hoch during the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino 2006 who was found to have committed anti-doping rule violations upon the occasion of the Games.

The allegations raised against the Austrian team officials Markus Gandler, Dr. Peter Baumgartl, Andreas Eder, Gerald Heigl, Markus Krschner and Dr. Hannes Lechner were dismissed, since they were not found to meet the standard of proof required to sanction the officials according to the FIS Anti-Doping Rules.

The FIS Doping Panel found that Emil Hoch, head coach of the Austrian Cross-Country team during the Games in Torino, committed anti-doping rule violations contrary to Article 2.6.2 and to Article 2.8 of the FIS Anti-Doping Rules. Regarding the violation of Article 2.6.2, Emil Hoch was declared ineligible from participating directly or indirectly in any capacity in any FIS sanctioned events for a period of two years. Regarding the violation of Article 2.8, Emil Hoch is declared ineligible from participating directly or indirectly in any capacity in any FIS sanctioned event for life. For more details, click here.

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FIS Medical Committee Educational Series: Part 7

The seventh article in the FIS Medical Committee Educational Series, entitled Eating Disorders and the Female Triad written by Daniel Brotons (SPA) is now available. This paper discusses the risk of eating disorders in athletes following strict training regimes especially in disciplines where low body weight and body fat levels are considered an advantage. In female athletes, the consequences of such a disorder can lead to so-called female triad, combining eating disorder with amenorrhea and osteoporosis.

The paper suggests that there are two ways to treat the delicate problem of eating disorders: prevention and information. The paper links to helpful tools and reference materials in both cases. To download the full text, click here.


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