News from the World of Skiing 

  Cross-Country globes for Kuitunen and Bauer ... more

  Dominance of the Austrian eagles ... more

  Ackermann over others in Nordic Combined ... more

  American celebration in Alpine ... more

  Freestyle globes divided by three continents ... more

  Only Pesko defends title as 21 nations podium in Snowboard ... more

  Morgenstern tops FIS World Cup prize money rankings ... more

  Sagen collects fourth consecutive win in ladies COC Ski Jumping ... more

  Snowboard Junior Worlds underway in Valmalenco ... more

  FIS Telemark World Cup finale in Sugarbush ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Fritz Wagnerberger receives King Olav's Trophy ... more

  re 2007 selected Best Event 2007 in Sweden ... more

  Registration deadline for FIS Golf Tournament extended to 31st March ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Cross-Country globes for Kuitunen and Bauer
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Photo: NordicFocus
Lukas Bauer (CZE)
Photo: NordicFocus

The Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country finished, for the first time, with a FIS World Cup Final consisting of three races, a mini-Tour. On the ladies' side, it remained exciting until the last race since Astrid Jacobsen retained at least a theoretical chance to overthrow the reigning World Cup queen Virpi Kuitunen (FIN). In the end, Kuitunen won the overall trophy by 297 points over Jacobsen with Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) taking third. By winning the handicap pursuit race on Sunday, she also confirmed victory in the distance World Cup over Valentina Shevchenko (UKR). The ladies' sprint Cup went to Petra Majdic who won the first globe for the Cross-Country team of Slovenia although Claudia Nystad took the only win for the German ladies' team in the season's last sprint race, the prologue on Friday.

Lukas Bauer (CZE) had confirmed his overall and distance World Cup globes in good time before the Final. Ren‚ Sommerfeldt of Germany remained as the runner-up while Italian Pietro Piller Cottrer, who won Friday's prologue, took third. The men's sprint globe went to Ola Vigen Hattestad of Norway who beat Emil Joensson (SWE) by two points only although both failed to score in the season's last race that counted to the sprint Cup on Friday. The men's World Cup Final was won by Vincent Vittoz (FRA), his first season victory.

In total, 72 individual (including the Tour de Ski) and ten team competitions were held and all scheduled competitions were staged. A record 19 nations finished on the podium. During the previous record season, in 2006/2007, 17 nations achieved podium places. The historical highlights included Madoka Natsumi who delivered the first ever podium finish for Japan in Stockholm, and Alena Prochatkova who became the first female to podium for Slovakia after the division of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Kikkan Randall won the first World Cup competition for the USA ladies team in Rybinsk (RUS).

Leading the World Cup podiums table this season is Norway with 20 victories, 22 second places and 9 third rankings ahead of Finland (6-7-10) and Czech Republic (6-3-1). Norway won the Nations Cup and also the individual Team Cups for both the ladies and men.

Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country 2007/2008 champions
Ladies Overall World Cup: Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Ladies Distance World Cup: Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Ladies Sprint World Cup: Petra Majdic (SLO)
Men's Overall World Cup: Lukas Bauer (CZE)
Men's Distance World Cup: Lukas Bauer (CZE)
Men's Sprint World Cup: Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR)
Nations' Cup: Norway

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Dominance of the Austrian eagles
Thomas Morgenstern (AUT)
Photo: NordicFocus
Photo: NordicFocus

Coming into last weekend, Thomas Morgenstern (AUT) had already confirmed his title as the winner of the overall e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping and his teammate Gregor Schlierenzauer stood clear as the runner-up. Collecting a total of 10 season wins, including a record six in a row at the start of the season, Morgenstern had a dream season in the World Cup though he did not win at the Four-Hills (where Janne Ahonen of Finland made history taking his fifth tournament win) and also had to see Schlierenzauer claim the individual gold in the FIS Ski Flying World Championships.

In the season's final in Planica (SLO) on the famous Ski Flying hill, it was also Schlierenzauer who stole the show. On Friday, he won the first individual competition by little less than 20 points and his win in the season's final competition on Sunday came with a margin of seven points. Schlierenzauer landed the longest jump in each of the three competitions.

In the Nations' Cup, Austria claimed its 13th win, followed by Norway and Finland. Altogether, 84 athletes from 15 nations scored World Cup points. Four nations celebrated World Cup victories while six nations stood on the podium at least once during the season with Austria collecting a whopping 16 wins and a total of 40 podium places compared with runner-up Norway's 26.

e.on ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping 2007/2008 champions
Overall: Thomas Morgenstern (AUT)
Nations' Cup: Austria

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Ackermann over others in Nordic Combined
Overall World Cup podium
Photo: NordicFocus

Concluding on Holmenkollen on 8th March, 2008, 20 individual events were held in this season's Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined. Again the weather - especially heavy or changing winds and lack of snow - wrought havoc with the schedule causing the cancellation of four individual competitions during the third period, along with several time-schedule changes in the course of the season. In the end however, deserving champions were crowned: Ronny Ackermann of Germany captured his third overall World Cup trophy, after the seasons 2001/2002 and 2002/2003.

Hannu Manninen (FIN) who made history by taking four consecutive wins between 2004 and 2007 was set back by several illnesses, finishing 14th in the standings with only two podium appearances. Ackermann also took the sprint Cup by four points over defending sprint champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis (FRA). Behind Ackermann, 22-year-old Petter Tande (NOR) finished 2nd overall, to round off his best season so far. Bill Demong (USA) became the first American to be on the overall podium - the former top US athlete, Todd Lodwick, finished 4th three times. Tande took the most season wins with four, while Ackermann impressed with his consistency resulting in 11 podiums. The season's best jumper was David Zauner (AUT) who won the jumping nine times yet never finishing on the podium, while Demong was fastest on the cross-country track on seven occasions. All in all, 65 athletes scored World Cup points this season.

Germany not only won the Nations' Cup with 21 podium finishes, but also presented four different winners. Altogether, seven nations made it on the Nordic Combined podium, with five claiming the top spot at least once.

Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined 2007/2008 champions
Overall World Cup: Ronny Ackermann (GER)
Sprint World Cup: Ronny Ackermann (GER)
Nations' Cup: Germany

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American celebration in Alpine
Bode Miller (USA)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Photo: Agence Zoom

The FIS World Cup Grand Finals in Bormio (ITA) were historic. American skiers won a record five World Cup titles, including both overall crowns while powerhouse Austria only collected two event globes. The last time Team USA managed the same was in1983 when Tamara McKinney and Phil Mahre were the overall champions. Runner-ups Nicole Hosp and Benni Raich (both AUT) put in a good fight although they did not manage to take their challenge to the final day.

Warm weather also made its mark on the Bormio Finals. Both the men's and ladies' downhill races had to be cancelled due to soft snow conditions. As a result, Bode Miller, five points behind Didier Cuche (SUI), could not challenge the reigning DH champion to a final race. Lindsey Vonn had already confirmed her downhill title with five wins earlier in the season.

In super-G, Vonn had her best race of the season finishing 2nd which helped her build a comfortable cushion in overall standings points before the technical events. Maria Riesch of Germany finished sixth wrapping up her second small globe to go along with the super combined one she confirmed in Crans-Montana (SUI). Alexandra Meissnitzer (AUT) took 3rd in Bormio, the final race in her long and successful career.

The men's super-G turned out to be one of the dramas of the week. Cuche needed to finish 15th or better since he was 89 points ahead of Christoph Gruber and 99 ahead of Hannes Reichelt (both AUT). He hadn't finished worse than 11th all season long. In the end, however, Reichelt won the race by one hundredth of a second over Cuche's teammate Didier Defago whilst Cuche finished 16th, just off the points that are only awarded to the top 15 in the final. With that result, Reichelt won the title by a single point in what stands as the biggest come-from-behind title win of all time.

In the men's giant slalom, Bode Miller led after the first run. Sixth at mid-point, teammate˙Ted Ligety posted the fastest second run to win, which enabled him to collect the crystal globe for the GS title. Of all the titles, ladies GS had been in the same hands since the beginning of the season. Denise Karbon won five of the first six races and already secured the globe when the races at Zwiesel had to be cancelled in late February.

Marlies Schild picked up her second successive slalom crown after she collected her fifth season win in Bormio. In the men's slalom, Manfred Moelgg finished sixth for a come-from-behind win of the men's slalom title. Early season leader Jean-Baptiste Grange took only 16th place in the final race after losing balance 5 gates before the finish, missing out on points and the title.

On Sunday, the season's only Nations' Team Event had to be cancelled due to foggy and rainy weather.

Altogether, 15 nations made it on the podium during the 2007/08 season, 12 of them on the very top. The most wins were collected by Austria (24) followed by USA with 15 and Switzerland with 10.

Audi FIS Alpine World Cup 2007/2008 champions
Overall ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Overall men: Bode Miller (USA)
Slalom ladies: Marlies Schild (AUT)
Slalom men: Manfred Moelgg (ITA)
Giant slalom ladies: Denise Karbon (ITA)
Giant slalom men: Ted Ligety (USA)
Super-G ladies: Maria Riesch (GER)
Super-G men: Hannes Reichelt (AUT)
Downhill ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Downhill men: Didier Cuche (SUI)
Super combined ladies: Maria Riesch (GER)
Super combined men: Bode Miller (USA)
Nations' Cup: Austria

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Freestyle globes divided by three continents
Ophelie David (FRA)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Moguls champions
Photo: Agence Zoom

The Freestyle FIS World Cup season concluded with the ski cross races on Sunday in Valmalenco. Ophelie David (FRA) and Tomas Kraus (CZE) had confirmed their ski cross World Cup titles, fifth and third title respectively, before the last races. Yet, David took her sixth season win in Valmalenco and also confirmed her second overall World Cup trophy. Taking his third consecutive season win, Lars Lewen (SWE) rose to 2nd in the ski cross World Cup rankings.

In moguls, the World Cup winners Aiko Uemura (JPN) and Dale Begg-Smith (AUS) had already secured their titles in the second-to-last World Cup in Are (SWE). In Valmalenco, Uemura collected already her fifth season win while the men's final win went to David Babic (USA).

The Freestyle half-pipe competitions opened the FIS Grand Finals 2008 on Wednesday. In the ladies' event, Jennifer Hudak (USA) took her maiden World Cup victory. 2005 World Champion Sarah Burke (CAN) finished second and claimed the World Cup trophy 20 points ahead of Hudak. In the men's competition, Micheal Riddle (CAN) also won his first World Cup event. Teammate Matthew Heyward collected the World Cup title despite missing the final round in Valmalenco.

The men's overall FIS Freestyle World Cup trophy went to Steve Omischl (CAN) who also clinched the aerials title. Altogether Canada was the strongest Freestyle nation with 15 top podiums, and a total of 40 podium appearances. With 9 wins, France follows in 2nd place, ahead of Australia (8-7-3) and USA (6-7-11). A total of 18 nations made podium appearances, of them 15 winning at least once.

Freestyle FIS World Cup 2007/2008 champions
Ladies overall: Ophelie David (FRA)
Men's overall: Steve Omischl (CAN)
Ladies moguls: Aiko Uemura (JPN)
Men's moguls: Dale Begg-Smith (AUS)
Ladies aerials: Jacqui Cooper (AUS)
Men's aerials: Steve Omischl (CAN)
Ladies ski cross: Ophelie David (FRA)
Men's ski cross: Tomas Kraus (CZE)
Ladies half-pipe: Sarah Burke (CAN)
Men's half-pipe: Matthew Heyward (CAN)
Nations' Cup: Canada

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Only Pesko defends title as 21 nations podium in Snowboard
Benjamin Karl (AUT)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED)
Photo: Agence Zoom

The last four events in the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup 2007/08 were held in Valmalenco (ITA) as part of the FIS Grand Finals 2008. Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) claimed the large crystal globes as the overall World Cup champions. Both also won the small globes for the parallel World Cup although Anke Karstens (GER) and Matthew Morison (CAN) raced to victory in the last event of the season. For Sauerbreij and Karl, these were their first titles: for 22-year-old Karl, the crystal globes put the finishing touch to his break-through season with a total of five podium places including two wins. 28-year-old Sauerbreij was close in the 2001/2002 and 2002/03 seasons as she finished 2nd in the parallel rankings.

The ladies' snowboardcross title went to Maelle Ricker of Canada over defending champion Lindsey Jacobellis (USA). Pierre Vaultier (FRA) who celebrated his first career win in the season's final last year, matured to claim the snowboard cross trophy this season, thanks to four podiums including three wins. Poland's Mateusz Ligocki made history in realizing the first Snowboard World Cup win for his country in the season's final SBX. In half-pipe, the Swiss duo of Manuela Laura Pesko and Iouri Podladtchikov confirmed their World Cup titles. Pesko is the only rider able to defend her title this year, and by taking her third consecutive title, she became only the third female rider after Karine Ruby (FRA) and Daniela Meuli (SUI) to perform that impressive feat. Stefan Gimpl secured his big air˙title in Moscow several weeks earlier.

In the 65 NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup competitions this season, 21 nations celebrated podium finishes, 15 of them taking the top spot at least once. With a total of 36 top three appearances including 14 wins, Austria was the most successful nation, followed by France (16 of which 8 wins), Canada (24), USA (22) and previously dominating nation, Switzerland (26 total podiums but only six top spots).

Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup 2007/2008 champions
Overall ladies: Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED)
Overall men: Benjamin Karl (AUT)
Parallel ladies: Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED)
Parallel men: Benjamin Karl (AUT)
Snowboardcross ladies: Maelle Ricker (CAN)
Snowboardcross men: Pierre Vaultier (FRA)
Half-pipe ladies: Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI)
Half-pipe men: Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI)
Big air men: Stefan Gimpl (AUT)

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Morgenstern tops FIS World Cup prize money rankings
Thomas Morgenstern (AUT)
Photo: NordicFocus

Surprisingly enough, the season's top World Cup prize money earner is not Bode Miller but the dominator of the Ski Jumping season, overall World Cup champion Thomas Morgenstern who collected no less than CHF 412 950. His teammate Gregor Schlierenzauer also reached CHF 335 950 ahead of Janne Ahonen (FIN) who netted CHF 236 800.

The overall FIS Alpine World Cup winners Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller (both USA) lead the season's prize money rankings for Alpine Skiing. For Bode Miller it is the third time that he topped the Alpine earnings list, after 2003/04 and 2004/05. The record for most prize money during one season, however, continues to be held by Janica Kostelic who collected CHF 561 646 two seasons ago.

Bode Miller netted a total of CHF 402 983 for six wins and another five podium appearances. Lindsey Vonn, who captured six wins, also became the first American female to top the prize money rankings.

In Cross-Country, the ladies' overall and distance World Cup winner Virpi Kuitunen also defended her victory in the prize money rankings, despite losing the Tour de Ski to Charlotte Kalla in the final kilometer. Her season earnings amounted to CHF 280 250 compared with Kalla's CHF 207 250. In the men's Cross-Country, Lukas Bauer netted CHF 312 250 for his eight season podiums along with the victory on the FIS Tour de Ski. Runner-up Rene Sommerfeldt collected a total of CHF 154 750. In Nordic Combined, the overall World Cup winner Ronny Ackermann also topped the prize money rankings with a total of CHF 83 000.

Alpine Skiing (all in CHF)
Men
1. Bode Miller (USA) 402 983
2. Didier Cuche (SUI) 358 455
3. Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA) 301 408
4. Benjamin Raich (AUT) 269 009
5. Mario Matt (AUT) 238 343

Ladies
1. Lindsey Vonn (USA) 340 000
2. Marlies Schild (AUT)305 335
3. Nicole Hosp (AUT) 233 405
4. Maria Riesch (GER) 232 884
5. Elisabeth G”rgl (AUT) 229 326

Ski Jumping
1. Thomas Morgenstern (AUT) 412 950
2. Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) 335 950
3. Janne Ahonen (FIN) 236 800
4. Tom Hilde (NOR) 184900
5. Anders Bardal (NOR) 121150

Cross-Country
Ladies
1. Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) 280 250
2. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) 207 250
3. Astrid Jacobsen (NOR) 156 950

Men
1. Lukas Bauer (CZE) 312 250
2. Rene Sommerfeldt (GER) 154 750
3. Giorgio di Centa (ITA) 87 550

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Sagen collects fourth consecutive win in ladies COC Ski Jumping
Anette Sagen (NOR)
Photo: Oeyvind Blakset
Zao Sunday podium
Photo: Oeyvind Blakset

The fourth season in the ladies' Ski Jumping Continental Cup concluded in Zao (JPN). Due to difficult weather conditions, a few events had to be cancelled in the course of the winter season, and the final overall rankings came to count nine competitions in the winter and seven in the summer/autumn staged in six nations on three continents. Altogether 99 ladies representing 15 nations participated of whom 73 scored Continental Cup points. This represents an increase of 16% over the previous season. In the event with the most participants, 63 ladies from 12 nations were at the start.

In a dominating fashion, 23-year-old Anette Sagen (NOR) claimed already her fourth consecutive overall victory, this time ahead of the Austrians Daniela Iraschko and Jaqueline Seifriedsberger. Sagen won seven of the nine competitions this winter and finished 2nd in the other two. 24-year-old Iraschko collected two podium finishes. Only 17-year-old Seifriedsberger had four podium places and she also claimed the gold medal at the third Junior World Championships in ladies' Ski Jumping in Zakopane (POL) where she bested the field of 38 young ladies representing 14 nations.

Next year, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec will see the first ladies' World Championships in Ski Jumping. The competition is scheduled for Thursday, 19th February 2009.

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Snowboard Junior Worlds underway in Valmalenco
Valmalenco

The FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships are currently underway in Valmalenco (ITA). After successfully carrying out seven Freestyle and Snowboard events during the FIS Grand Finals 2008, a busy competition program continues in Valmalenco this week and sincere thanks are expressed to the organizers for their readiness to support the junior championships with such great commitment. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS) at the end of the month, but was rescheduled due to force majeure relating to the constructions of the facilities.

Some 300 junior riders from all around the world are competing in Valtellina. The competitions kicked off with the ladies' and men's parallel giant slaloms on Monday when Hilde-Katrine Engeli took the ladies victory to Norway while Jure Hafner from Slovenia was the best in the men's race. In Tuesday's parallel slalom events, Selina Joerg of Germany and Radoslav Yankov of Bulgaria captured the goal medals. The competitions are continuing with the ladies' and men's big air events Wednesday, followed by the half-pipe competitions on Thursday and both snowboard cross events on Friday.

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FIS Telemark World Cup finale in Sugarbush

Sugarbush (USA) is hosting the season finals for the FIS Telemark World Cup from 18th -21st March. As opposed to the Telemark Sprint Cup, where Borge Sovik (NOR) has already confirmed his victory thanks to 10 podium finishes, there is a tight fight for the top spot in the Telemark Classic Cup. Theoretically seven athletes from five nations could still claim the crystal trophy: Mathias Wagenius (SWE) is in the lead by 5 points over Daniel Halnes (NOR) and 8 points over Sovik. Similarly, in Telemark giant slalom, Sovik currently leads by 40 points over Halnes while 200 points are still up for grabs. The same two are also fighting it out for the overall crystal globe with a total of 400 points still to be distributed.

In the ladies events, three ladies - Sigrid Rykhus (NOR), Katinka Knudsen (NOR) and AmŠlie Reymond (SUI) - have all had four wins each. This sets the scene for an exciting battle for the Telemark overall in Sugarbush. Rykhus leads with 980 points, 70 points ahead of Knudsen and 224 points ahead of Reymond.
10 nations have sent a team to compete in the ladies' events while 14 nations are participating in the men's competitions. Team Japan did not participate in the races in Europe, but will join the finals hoping to improve the national record finish of fifth from last year.

Contributed by Trond Gunleiksrud

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 Inside FIS 

Fritz Wagnerberger receives King Olav's Trophy
Wagnerberger with King Olav's Trophy

FIS Council Member and Honorary President of the German Ski Association Fritz Wagnerberger was awarded the King Olav's Trophy on the occasion of the Holmenkollen Ski Festival 2008. During a festive award ceremony at the Oslo Town Hall, Wagnerberger received the trophy from Sverre Seeberg, President of the Norwegian Ski Association, and Dag Kaas representing the Skiforeningen of Oslo..

The prestigious trophy is awarded to recognize a true contribution to international skiing and the jury consists of past winners, including FIS President Gian Franco Kasper who won the trophy in 2001. In presenting the trophy to Fritz Wagnerberger, his achievements and significant contributions to the sport as a former alpine ski racer, President of the German Ski Association and long-time FIS Council Member as well as Chairman of the FIS Finance Commission, were acknowledged.

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re 2007 selected Best Event 2007 in Sweden

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were selected as the best public event in Sweden in 2007. The coveted prize was awarded to re 2007 representatives Titti Rodling, Chief of Media, Jens Rundqvist, Marketing Director and Lasse Lindqvist, CEO at the Golden Wheel gala with 600 participants in Stockholm last week.

The selection was based on the successful execution of the vision to stage the best Alpine World Ski Championships with groundbreaking elements adding new values and experiences. In addition, the fact that the event solicited support from grass-roots to re community leadership and nationally helped convince the jurors.

re 2007 received another prize in the sponsoring category where Carlsberg received the Best Sponsoring Project award for its engagement in the Championships. For more information,˙click here

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Registration deadline for FIS Golf Tournament extended to 31st March
Steenberg Golf Club

Following the great success of the inaugural Tournament at the 2006 FIS Congress in Vilamoura, the 2nd FIS Golf Tournament 2008 is planned to be held in Cape Town (RSA). The Tournament will take place just before the start of the Congress Week on Sunday, 25th May 2008, at the Steenberg Golf Club, approximately 25-minute drive from the FIS Hotel.

The deadline for registering for the Golf Tournament has been extended to 31st March 2008. For those interested in signing up, please access the registration form here or contact Toni Kaegi for more information at toni.kaegi@bluewin.ch.

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