|News from the World of Skiing|
Relaxation in summer, concentration in winter: Benjamin Karl ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
Photo: OSP Freiburg
The 15th edition of the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping will begin this week in Hinterzarten (GER). This represents the tenth time that Hinterzarten hosts the opening competition of this summer series. Following the opening team competition on Saturday, the first individual competition on Sunday will kick off the 3rd so-called "Four-Nations-Tournament" which includes competitions in Hinterzarten (GER), Courchevel (FRA), Pragelato (ITA) and Einsiedeln (SUI). Between Hinterzarten and this year's final that will take place in Liberec (CZE) on 4th October, the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping series will include ten individual events and one team competition.
There will be a special points ranking for the Four-Nations-Tournament and other prizes. In every Four-Nations competition, the qualification winner will get a `Formula-1' Jacques-Lemans watch. The four winners of the individuals competitions will receive a KTM mountain bike, while the overall winner of the Tournament receives a KTM Supermoto 690, worth nearly E10'000.
The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping traditionally serves as the testing ground for rule changes for the upcoming winter season. "Not only does the FIS Grand Prix help our athletes and coaches evaluate their current performance levels, but it also helps our hosts and FIS test improvements and innovations in competition. Of course, the main focus for everyone is on preparation for the winter`s tightly packed Ski Jumping calendar. Yet most of the best jumpers will be at start in Hinterzarten," commented Walter Hofer, FIS Race Director Ski Jumping.
Traditionally, the Grand Prix has given a good indication of the form for the upcoming season. The last three winners each went on to win the overall World Cup the following winter, such as the 2007 winner Thomas Morgenstern (World Cup winner 2007/08), 2006 winner Adam Malysz (World Cup winner 2006/07) and 2005 winner Jakub Janda (World Cup winner 2005/2006).
|Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix|
For the first time, the Ski Jumpers will receive company from their colleagues in Nordic Combined who will also stage the first competition of the Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix in Hinterzarten this week. Following many discussions and analysis in the course of the spring months, at its Meeting in Cape Town (RSA) in May, the FIS Council appointed Walter Hofer to define a strategy for modernizing the discipline of Nordic Combined. The main objective is to simplify the sport and its competition formats.
The main change proposed as of the coming FIS World Cup season is that Nordic Combined competitions will be carried out with competitions consisting of one jump followed by a 10km Cross-Country race in the individual events.
The FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix, beginning in Hinterzarten (GER) on Saturday, 26th July, will also include competitions in Oberstdorf (GER) on 28th July and Einsiedeln (SUI) on 1st August. After this test phase, feedback will be collected from the teams and National Ski Associations in order for the final decisions to be taken in the FIS Autumn Meetings in Zrich in October and by the FIS Council in its next meeting in November 2008.
Recent forecasts have been predicting good to excellent snow conditions in the Southern hemisphere and the prospect of widespread new snowfalls for almost all resorts. Early last week, even most glacier resorts in the European Alps saw as much as 20 cm of fresh summer snow.
In South America, winter started early. In Chile, plenty of snow has already fallen in the Central Valley where the main ski resorts are located, including Valle Nevado, La Parva, Portillo, and El Colorado. Some more snow fell last week in these Santiago resorts and also on the Argentinean side of the border at Las Lenas. Cerro Catedral, too, received snow in the last ten days.
Competition activities in the Southern hemisphere are about to start in the next few weeks. Cerro Castor will host the first South American Cup (SAC) races from 8th August while the Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) will kick off at Mount Hotham (AUS) on 18th August. Many national teams are now starting to arrive in the Southern hemisphere for training. In Chile, for example, teams that have made arrangements for summer training include the Austrian men's team, the Canadian men and ladies' teams, the US Ski men and ladies teams, the Norwegian national team and the Spanish ladies team that are all planning to travel to Portillo for speed training. The Slovenian men and ladies' teams and the French ladies team will be heading to La Parva meanwhile. More Southern hemisphere updates to follow in the next several weeks!
With just 16 days until the start of the Olympic Summer Games, it might be a good time to reflect on the Olympic movement and Olympism. To prepare for the 13th Olympic Congress to be held in Copenhagen (DEN) in October 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is encouraging participation through the so-called virtual Olympic Congress. In the context of the overall purpose of the Congress - to take the pulse of the Olympic Movement and the general public - the fourth of the five themes that the IOC is asking the public-at-large to comment is Olympism and Youth.
Within this major topic area, the three sub-themes that can be commented are: Moving towards an active society; whether competitive sport is still appealing; and youth sport events. The specific issues being debated include questions such as which sports are currently most appealing to young people and why; to what extent can the multimedia world influence the involvement of young people in sport; and what motivates young people to watch and participate in sporting events.
Submissions will be accepted until 31st December 2008. They will contribute to a set of draft recommendations for discussion in Copenhagen. More information on the virtual Olympic Congress can be found at www.2009congress.olympic.org. Each individual may contribute two comments of up to 1000 words. Registration is required.
|Freestyle night at Jumpin|
Photo: Sandro Remo
The 6th edition of the Mettmenstetten Freestyle-Night was held last Saturday. International fields of BMX riders, freeskiers, snowboarders and Freestyle aerialists competed in the night event at the Jumpin arena, located near Lucerne, Switzerland.
Some 2'500 spectators attended the knock-out finals of the top eight in each category. The win for the snowboarders went to local hero Marco Stillhart while among the freeskiers, Misra Noto turned out to be the best out of 56 starters.
The Freestyle aerials final ended up as a duel between Nicolas Thepaut (FRA) and Andreas Isoz (SUI). The jumps of up to 18 m in height presented the absolute highlight of the evening. In the end, Nicolas Thepaut delivered an outstanding high degree of difficulty jump (Full-doubleFull-doubleFull) and beat the Swiss who is ranked eighth in the Freestyle FIS World Cup rankings. After the culmination of action on the water jump, the party continued in traditional Freestyle into the wee hours of the night.
Contributed by Swiss-Ski
Registration for the FIS Autumn Meetings is now open. The meetings will be traditionally held in Zurich, at the Hotel Hilton Zrich Airport from 30th September - 5th October 2008. For the current version of the meetings timetable, please click here. To register accommodation at the Hotel Hilton, please click here.
|Geoff Henke, Jacqui Cooper|
Last Saturday, 19th July was time for the 7th Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner held at the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne (AUS). The driving force behind this event is former FIS Council Member Geoff Henke who was nominated as a FIS Honorary Member at the FIS Congress in Cape Town (RSA) on May 30th.
The Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner is supported by Corporate Australia at a cost of AUS$20,000 for a table. 1'400 people including the Australian Prime Minister, many Olympic gold medalists and world champions such as aerialist Jacqui Cooper and many others participated in the festive occasion. The evening featured performances by leading artists and the 150-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
This `Dinner of the Year' in Australia is held every 4 years and this time had a Beijing theme. The auction held during the evening raised more than $180,000 while the dinner helped raise AUS$1.5 in funding tied directly with the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and in Vancouver in 2010. The new location of the official headquarters for the Australia Olympic Winter Institute (O.W.I.) was announced at the dinner as well.
|Globe winner Karl|
Relaxation in summer, concentration in winter: Benjamin Karl
By Oliver Kraus
He was the shooting star of last season. Appearing from almost nowhere, Benjamin Karl (AUT) rose to the top of the Snowboard world by winning not just his first World Cup event but also challenging the more experienced international competition to a real fight for both the parallel and overall FIS World Cup titles. In the end, he went home with both of the prestigious trophies.
Since the start of his career in 1995, and first World Cup appearance in Sungwoo (KOR) in 2004, the 22-year-old rider has participated in 38 World Cup competitions. He seems to especially like it in Asia where the 2009 FIS Snowboard World Championships will take place: Karl celebrated his first World Cup victory at the site of his World Cup debut last spring, boding well for the upcoming title event.
Thanks to his success last winter, the entrepreneur from the Austrian state of Lower Austria is looking forward to the first World Cup events of the new season already three months before the season for the Alpine riders begins. He comments from a holiday on the Lake Como in Italy: "My goals for next season are to win the World Championship title and defend my overall World Cup globe. I will give it all I have." Though he is putting riding on the back burner while canyoning in Italy, he is convinced: "Spending five to eight hours in the gorge after a two-hour climb definitely helps develop your balance and coordination. Not to mention mental concentration while you are roping down." Before going canyoning, Karl spent three days riding over the Alps to Italy.
The 2005 parallel giant slalom junior world champion will start training on snow together with his teammates in the first week of September in Austria and Switzerland. "I always start that late, but then at full speed with only two or three days off a week."
Until then, `Benji' will be taking it easy, just like his teammates from the Austrian team, some of whom are surfing in Bali, for example. It was a tough season with quite some hype around Karl and he is happy that the interest has subsided even if he considers he can deal with publicity quite well. At the same time, the fans can follow his latest adventures in a TV series called "Die berflieger" (The Stars of the Skies) on Austrian TV. The reality TV series is following Karl during his attempts to complete the training for a pilot license for private aviators. Karl should receive his precious license in August.
Whether he can build on his successes from last season will depend on the competition, too: "The competition will remain tough. The usual suspects include Siegfried Grabner (AUT), the Schoch brothers Simon and Philipp (SUI) as well as Mathieu Bozzetto (FRA) and Rok Flander (SLO), who you always need to keep your eyes on."