|FIS Congress Special|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|FIS Congress Special|
|FIS Congress venue|
The 46th International Ski Congress convened at the Southern tip of the African continent on Friday, 30th May 2008. During the eight-hour meeting in the Cape Town International Conference Center, the FIS General Assembly received updates and reports from the FIS World Championships organizers - past and future - along with reviewing FIS's finances and making several important decisions (for a summary see here). Notably, the Congress approved the accounts with the best financial result in FIS's history with a positive balance of CHF 25 million. This also allowed the Congress to approve a special distribution to the members from the result of the previous period result as well as financial support for the 2008-09 period totaling CHF 21.25 million to be paid out over the next two years.
The election of the members of the FIS Council saw voting among 20 candidates for the 16 positions; the new Council during the upcoming two-year period 2008-2010 will include the following individuals (in alphabetical order):
Jaakko Holkeri (FIN),Yoshiro Ito (JPN), Milan Jirasek (CZE), Janez Kocijancic (SLO), Sung-Won Lee (KOR), Bill Marolt (USA), Alain Methiaz (FRA, new), Giovanni Morzenti (ITA, new), Eduardo Roldan (SPA), Pablo Rosenkjer (ARG), Sverre Seeberg (NOR), Patrick Smith (CAN), Carl Eric Stlberg (SWE), Leonid Tyagachev (RUS), Fritz Wagnerberger (GER), and Werner Woerndle (AUT, new).
The FIS Council made several important decisions during its meetings in the course of the Congress week. For a summary of the Council's decisions, please click here; the Short Summary of the most important Council Decisions will be sent to all National Ski Associations shortly.
Photo: Candidature Committee
|Val di Fiemme 2013|
Photo: Mario Facchini
"And the winner is." repeated FIS President Gian Franco Kasper five times in Cape Town (RSA) shortly before 7pm on Thursday, 29th May 2008. Following the final presentations by the thirteen candidates for the 2012/2013 Championships, the FIS Council elected the organizers of the 2013 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle, Nordic and Alpine events as well as the 2012 FIS Ski Flying World Championships.
Stoneham (CAN) and Voss (NOR) were unanimously elected as hosts of the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle World Championships, respectively. The host of the 2012 FIS Ski Flying World Championships is Vikersund (NOR) which beat Harrachov (CZE) 11-5 in the first ballot.
Schladming (AUT) was elected as the host town of the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. With 10 votes, Schladming achieved an absolute majority in the first ballot against Beaver Creek/Vail (USA, 4 votes), St. Moritz (SUI, 1 vote) and Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA, 1 vote).
The Nordic World Ski Championships will be hosted by Val di Fiemme (ITA) which will rise to the challenge for the third time after 1991 & 2003, only 10 years after the last one. The Trentino venue won the election against four competitors , Falun (SWE), Lahti (FIN), Oberstdorf (GER) and Zakopane (POL), in the third ballot.
1st ballot: Val di Fiemme (ITA) 6, Falun (SWE) 4, Zakopane (POL) 3, Lahti (FIN) 2, Oberstdorf (GER) 1
2nd ballot: Val di Fiemme (ITA) 7, Falun (SWE) 5, Zakopane (POL) 3, Lahti (FIN) 1
3rd ballot: Val di Fiemme (ITA) 8, Falun (SWE) 5, Zakopane (POL) 2
The election announcement was streamed live over the Internet and will be available for on-demand viewing shortly on the FIS web site at www.fis-ski.com
In its first meeting following election, the new FIS Council elected the vice presidents, treasurer and chairman of the Doping Panel, and appointed the chairmen and honorary members of the FIS Committees for the upcoming two-year period (2008-2010). Click here for the summary list.
|Crowd in Moscow|
Photo: Mike Ridewood
|The aerials ramp|
Photo: Mike Ridewood
In its Cape Town (RSA) meetings, the FIS Council also approved a number of amendments related to Alpine Skiing. These included, for example, the confirmation that at the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'Isre (FRA), qualification races will be held in the men's giant slalom and slalom events from which the top 25 will qualify for the final. In addition, the best 50 competitors present will qualify directly to the 75-competitor final. In the second run, only the best 30 racers will compete. In addition, at the Continental Cup level, the overall winner of the Alpine COC series will be awarded a personal starting place in the FIS Alpine World Cup for the following season. For more information on decisions related to Alpine Skiing, see here.
The Council also approved the plans for the organization of a World Cup promotional event in Moscow on 22nd November 2008. This event, to be staged against the imposing backdrop of the local university, is specifically designed to stimulate interest for Alpine Skiing as part of the build up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The biggest ramp ever will be built in Moscow and the best 10 male ranked slalom racers, 4 racers invited by the organizers and 2 host nation racers will participate in a parallel slalom. While prize money will be available, this race is however not part of the FIS Alpine World Cup nor will World Cup or FIS points be awarded.
"This city event in Moscow is an outstanding opportunity for Alpine Skiing. Given the great Snowboard big air and Freestyle aerials events held at the same spot with more than 30'000 spectators, we were very pleased to accept the offer by the Russian Ski Association to organize a promotional slalom event," commented Gnter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the men's Alpine World Cup. "It will be a great combination of sport and show, and a real chance to bring Alpine Skiing into the city. At the same time, it will be a great opportunity for the organizers to gain experience on the way to Sochi."
Concerning Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, the Congress week in Cape Town brought about a few changes, notably the revision of the organization of the Nordic Combined discipline.
The focus of the changes will be on making Nordic Combined more spectacular and media friendly, and more easily understandable. To lead the revision process, the FIS Council appointed Walter Hofer as head of Nordic Combined, as well as of Ski Jumping.
As a first step, there will be a test phase of the proposed competition format for Nordic Combined comprised of one jump followed by a 10 km cross-country race. The test events will be held in Hinterzarten (GER) on 26th July, in Oberstdorf (GER) on 29th July and in Einsiedeln (SUI) on 1st August. After a thorough analysis by experts and the National Ski Associations after this series, a final decision about the competition format for the next World Cup season will be taken at the FIS Autumn meetings of the Technical Committees and the FIS Council.
Additional changes that have already been confirmed include the level below the FIS World Cup becoming Continental Cup instead of World Cup B. These events will be organized in conjunction with the men's and ladies' Ski Jumping Continental Cup series wherever possible. This will enable sharing of infrastructure and create organizational efficiencies.
The only change to the program for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec will be the inclusion of the 10 km distance for the Cross-Country Skiing in the Nordic Combined competition.
Walter Hofer commented: "This reorganization is a unique opportunity for Nordic Combined. The discipline has great potential which we can exploit by simplifying the rules and competition formats. By staging the Nordic Combined World Cup events together with Ski Jumping wherever possible we also have the opportunity to realize many synergies for the organizers, the spectators and the media. In a few years' time, we hope to have increased the popularity of both disciplines significantly."
For Ski Jumping, the Cape Town Congress Week delivered the confirmation of the introduction of a small crystal globe for a separate Ski Flying ranking at the end of the World Cup season. A total of seven individual Ski Flying competitions are planned next season.
Another novelty on the Ski Jumping World Cup calendar is the so-called FIS Team Tour in Germany. This series of five events at three venues (Willingen, Klingenthal and Oberstdorf) includes three individual competitions (including two Ski Flying events) and two team events with a special Team ranking denoted by an additional _100'000. Overall, next season's calendar includes six team competitions in addition to the one held as part of the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE).
Further changes to Ski Jumping, as approved by the FIS Council, included revisions to the standards for jumping hill construction, notably for the preparation of the in-run, some adaptations to the rules for ski jumping suits as well as for the reimbursement of team expenses.
Hofer concluded: "The increase in the number of team competitions next season as well as the introduction of the FIS Team Tour is in reaction to public interest and several requests by the teams and organizers. We look forward to the fans' response."
|Photo: Agence Zoom|
During the days in Cape Town (RSA), the members of the FIS Cross-Country Committee and its various Sub-Committees were working hard for the development of the discipline. Several new rules and adaptations of the regulations were prepared to make the sport more attractive, fair and more easily understandable. Here the most important changes:
While in the last several years the distance and sprint races were counting to the overall World Cup based on a 2:1 ratio, from next season on, every race, whether it is a distance race or a sprint race will count to the overall World Cup ranking along with the total rankings of the Tour de Ski and the World Cup Final; the team sprint and relay competitions will count, as before, only to the Nations Cup.
In the future, the athletes will start according to their FIS points and the red group according to their World Cup points. This means that the so-called national group will not be placed in the front, but that they, too, will start according to their FIS points.
A refinement to the Team Sprint was also approved: the team sprint will in the future consist of two qualification heats, a break of 45 min and after that a final heat. With this break, fairness for the athletes is guaranteed and all will have sufficient time to recover. For TV, FIS can provide an exact starting time of the final, which will help to have more live transmissions.
To make the mass start races more attractive, the FIS Council allowed a trial with intermediate sprints where the top three athletes can win World Cup points (15 -10 -5) in competitions over 30 km (ladies) and 50 km (men).
For a complete summary of the rule changes including those for the FIS Tour de Ski and the World Cup Final˙see here and for the calendar here.
|Photo: Mike Ridewood|
For Freestyle Skiing, several items or amendments were approved by the FIS Council in its meetings at Cape Town (RSA).
One of the most important ones is the approval of the FIS Freestyle World Cup calendar for the 2008/2009 season (see here). Of particular note is that the Freestyle FIS World Cup continues to expand to new nations and venues. Five of the 17 locations on the schedule are new locations, including Meribel (FRA), St. Johann (AUT), Myrkdalen (Voss, NOR), Kiev (UKR) and Brans (SWE). Ukraine is about to organize its first ever FIS World Cup event.
City competitions are also in trend this coming season, with both an aerial and dual mogul events to be held in Moscow or St. Petersburg (RUS), and an aerial World Cup competition to be held in Kiev (UKR). These competitions are held on large, specially constructed ramps in the respective city centers.
To further develop ski cross, the latest addition to the program of the Olympic Winter Games, refinements to the rules included definitions of the course parameters, the setting of FIS points levels to establish national quotas, changes to the way the colored bibs are determined for the finals, and the measurement and display of the athletes reaction time at the start gate.
From the 2008/2009 season, either 100 FIS Alpine points or 40 Freestyle FIS Points as base qualification levels with 100 Freestyle FIS Points for additional participants will determine the national qualifications.
The tolerance for the measurement of the skis and boots was extended for FIS Freestyle competitions. The standards will remain the same as last season, with 50mm for the binding and plate system and 45mm for the ski boots.
The schedule for the 2009 FIS Freestyle World Championships in Inawashiro was also finalized; see here.
Several amendments were also made to the Snowboarding rules in Cape Town (RSA). Those approved by the FIS Council included adjustments to the start gates, specifications for resolving ties in the parallel event qualification as well as changes to the competition format of the big air finals.
The upcoming season will be the first one under the new title sponsor, LG Electronics of Korea, which succeeds Nokia as the world-wide patron of the FIS Snowboard World Cup. The calendar for the 2008/09 season are already starting in early September with the second-ever half-pipe meet in Cardrona (NZE). The tour then will pay its historical first visit to a site in Argentina, in Chapelco, where a series of two snowboard cross competitions will take place on 12th-13th September. Back in Europe, the parallel season will again kick off indoors in Landgraaf (NED), which is followed by the big air season opening in another new venue: London!
Yet another new name on the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup calendar is Grenoble in France, ready to stage a city big air. Other calendar highlights include the first test events at the 2010 Olympic venue at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver along with the hosts of the 2011 and 2013 FIS Snowboard World Championships, La Molina (SPA) and Stoneham, Quebec (CAN). Last but surely not least, the schedule for the 2009 FIS Snowboard World Championships in Sungwoo, Gangwon Province (KOR) was confirmed as from 17th-24th January 2009; for details, see here.
|News from the World of Skiing|
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board selected the Candidate Cities for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in its meeting in Athens on Wednesday. From amongst the seven Applicant Cities - Chicago (USA), Prague (CZE), Tokyo (JPN), Rio de Janeiro (BRA), Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar) and Madrid (SPA) - four were chosen to move onto the next phase, the so-called candidature procedure phase. The selected Candidate Cities were announced as Chicago (USA), Tokyo (JPN), Rio de Janeiro (BRA), and Madrid (SPA).
The selected Candidate Cities are required to submit their Candidature File with an in-depth description of their Olympic project by 12th February 2009. They can attend the 2008 Olympic Summer Games as observers and each must also prepare for the visit of the IOC Evaluation Commission. The Evaluation Commission will make a detailed technical assessment of each candidature and publish a report one month before the election of the host city for the IOC members to review. The election of the host city of the 2016 Games will take place on 2nd October 2009 during the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen (DEN).
For the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the application process will begin with the official opening of the bid process during the summer 2009, with the deadline of submitting the Applicant Cities in mid-October 2009. The official Candidate Cities will be selected in the summer of 2010.
More than 1500 delegates from 60 countries have convened in Athens (GRE) this week for the sixth edition of SportAccord, the convention for international sports federations. As has become customary, this year's sold-out event also included the General Assemblies of the various associations for the international federations (GAIFS, AIOWF, ASOIF & ARIFS) that were held earlier this week. Moreover, the IOC Executive Board is meeting at Sport Accord from 4th to 6th June.
FIS is represented in Athens by President Gian Franco Kasper, who is a member of the board of GAIFS (General Assemblies of the General Association of International Sports Federations), along with Sarah Lewis, Secretary General, who is on the SportAccord Steering Committee, and Christian Knauth, FIS Marketing and Communications Director.
This year's conference program is focused on trends and technology in the sports business and on how to stay relevant to the younger generation. The keynote speakers included Patricia Walker from YouTube/ Google and Laurent-Eric Le Lay, Chairman and CEo of Eurosport, among others.
Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), 2007 FIS Alpine World Cup men's overall champion, participated in a new athletes session also featuring Olympic triple jump gold medalist Jonathan Edwards and Morocco's sports minister and IOC member Nawal El Moutawakel.
Other premieres at this year's SportAccord include the City Forum that offered insights on developing long-term hosting strategies for major events along with SportAccord TV. Exclusive interviews with sports industry leaders can be viewed on the dedicated channel available at www.sportaccord.com. All˙the major presentations will also be available on an on-demand basis. The video service has been developed through a partnership with WCSN (www.wcsn.com).
Now in its sixth year, SportAccord has grown into a key event for the international sports movement. The attendees include sports movement leaders, sponsors, bid and host cities, broadcasters, rights holders and other sports specialists. Past SportAccords have been held in Lausanne, Madrid, Berlin, Seoul and Beijing. The 2009 edition will be staged in the Americas for the first time, taking place in Denver (USA) in March 2009.
Every season, Forum Nordicum, an association of Nordic sports journalists, makes an assessment at each Nordic and Biathlon World Cup venue and awards the honor of the most `media-friendly' World Cup host per discipline. This year's winners in the FIS Nordic disciplines are the two German World Cup venues Willingen - for Ski Jumping - and Klingenthal - for Nordic Combined - along with the Finnish World Cup host city of Lahti for Cross-Country.
The top three in the Nordic categories for the 2007/2008 season were:
Cross-Country: 1st Lahti (FIN), 2nd Canmore (CAN), 3rd Falun (SWE)
Ski Jumping: 1st Willingen (GER), 2nd Val di Fiemme (ITA), 3rd Engelberg (SUI) & Lahti (FIN)
Nordic Combined: 1st Klingenthal (GER), 2nd Val di Fiemme (ITA), 3rd Lahti (FIN)
"First of all, I would like to congratulate the winners on behalf of Forum Nordicum for their excellent work for the media. We can see that this evaluation helps to develop our working conditions," noted Uwe Jentzsch, Chairman of Forum Nordicum, and added: "The award for the most media-friendly venue should be an incentive and help the hosts continue to improve the working conditions for on-site media in the long-term."
For more information on Forum Nordicum, click here.