|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Triple victory for Austria in Einsiedeln (SUI)|
Photo: Nordic Focus
|Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT)|
With a triple victory of Austria the second competition of the Ski Jumping Four-Nation-Grand-Prix in Einsiedeln (SUI) concluded last Friday. Thanks to an excellent performance, Andreas Kofler beat his teammate Gregor Schlierenzauer, who landed the longest jump and set a new hill record of 121 meters. The podium was completed with last year's Ski Jumping FIS Grand Prix and World Cup winner Thomas Morgenstern.
On Sunday, 3rd August, the tournament continued in Courchevel in the French Alps, where the 23-year-old Harri Olli from Finland won his first ever FIS Grand Prix competition. Olli claimed victory 1,5 points ahead of the winner from Hinterzarten (GER), Georg Spth (GER). With a strong performance in both jumping rounds, the 2002 Olympic Champion Simon Ammann took third place, just 1,8 points behind the winner.
Yesterday, the Four Nations Grand Prix concluded on the 2006 Olympic jumping hill in Pragelato (ITA) with a triumph of Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT). In the exciting competition under floodlight, the young Czech athlete Roman Koudelka took second place while Harri Olli jumped to third place.
The successor of the last year's 2007 Four-Nations-Grand-Prix winner Thomas Morgenstern is his teammate, the 18-year-old Gregor Schlierenzauer after the four competitions in Hinterzarten, Einsiedeln, Courchevel and Pragelato. Thanks to his success in the final competition in Italy, the Austrian won in the 3rd edition of the special summer tournament with a margin of 4,9 points ahead of the runner-up Andreas Kofler and 15,6 points to the third ranked Simon Ammann. In total, four different winners and five different nations reached the podium during the successful 2008 Four-Nations-Grand-Prix.
The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping will continue with two competitions in Zakopane (POL) after the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing on 29th-30th August.
|Photo: Robert Kwong|
On 2nd August, Harbin (China), Innsbruck (Austria), Kuopio (Finland) and Lillehammer (Norway) were selected by the IOC Executive Board as shortlisted Candidate Cities for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in 2012.
The selection by the Executive Board was made on the basis of a study of the cities' Candidature Files and related documents submitted to the IOC. The study and subsequent report were conducted by a panel of experts including FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. The panel assessed the risks and opportunities associated with each city's project. Based on the timeframe of three and a half years available to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games, the panel also placed strong emphasis on the level of quality and detail relating to technical aspects, thus giving an indication of the robustness of each project. (please click here to read the report of the panel)
In December 2008, the host city for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will be announced by the IOC after a postal vote by all IOC members.
|Podium in Einsiedeln (SUI)|
Photo: Nordic Focus
The 2008 FIS Grand Prix Nordic Combined concluded with the third and final test event on the Swiss national day 1st August in Einsiedeln. Due to a thunderstorm with dangerous lightning however, the jumping competition was cancelled and the qualification round from the day before served as the basis for the starting order of the inline skate race.
Janne Ryynaenen from Finland produced the best performance in the jumping part and started first on the challenging eight times 1.8 km course with the start and finish in front of the famous monastery of Einsiedeln. Despite the heavy rain, hundreds of spectators cheered the athletes around the course and were compensated by a very exciting race. In the last round, the local hero Ronny Heer (SUI) attacked out of the leading group and claimed victory 2,5 seconds ahead of Mario Stecher and 3,5 seconds ahead of David Kreiner (both AUT).
It was the first time that a Swiss athlete claimed a victory in a FIS Grand Prix Nordic Combined competition and it serves as the biggest success for 27-year-old Heer, who finished in the top ten in a World Cup race five times in his long career.
The 2008 Nordic Combined Grand Prix overall ranking was won with 202 points by Mario Stecher, the winner of Oberstdorf. Anssi Koivuranta (FIN) placed second with 160 points, just 9 points ahead of Ronny Heer, who placed third. In total 44 athletes from 10 nations were awarded with Grand Prix points by placing in the top 30 places.
"The goal for the 2008 FIS Grand Prix Nordic Combined was to test the new Nordic Combined format with a qualification, one jumping round and a standardized Cross-Country in line skate race which took approximately 30 minutes. We successfully carried out different modifications, used the whole spread of the new rules and got enough raw data for the Nordic Combined committee meeting in Prague (CZE) on 23rd August. The basis of one jump and a 10km race is now established while the experts will work to define the sport-technical details, explained Walter Hofer, Head of Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping after the competition in Einsiedeln, "I would like to say "Thank you" to the organizers in Hinterzarten (GER), Oberstdorf (GER) and Einsiedeln for their big efforts and flexibility. Thanks as well to all the teams for their open attitude and contributions."
|Jumping hill in Bischofsgrn|
Photo: Skiclub Bischofgrn
While the men's FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping has been underway since the beginning of July, the ladies series will start the upcoming weekend in Bischofsgrn (GER). For the second time after August 2008, the village in the Fichtelgebirge will host a great kick off for 70 ladies from 14 nations. The 2008/2009 FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping series will include 10 summer competitions in four different countries in Central Europe and Scandinavia.
From Bischofgrn, the athletes will move to the traditional venues of Phla (GER) and Bischofshofen (AUT). New in the schedule are two competition weekends together with the men's series in Lillehammer (NOR) and Oberstdorf (GER). In October at the end of the summer period, the ladies will have the opportunity to test the hill in Liberec (CZE), where in February 2009 the first female World Champion in Ski Jumping will be crowned.
"We are continuously improving the FIS Continental Cup for ladies. This season we will have several competitions together with the men. I'm sure that both genders will profit from this cooperation", said Edgar Ganster, FIS Coordinator of the ladies Continental Cup, "The highlight in the upcoming season and a big step forward in the development of the ladies Ski Jumping will be 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec where, for the first time, the ladies Ski Jumping competition is a title event."
|Roller Ski race in Sandnes (NOR)|
In the last two weeks, two invitational races for Cross-Country skiers took place in Norway. On 25th -26th July the traditional BLINKfestivalen with a freestyle- and sprint roller ski race were carried out together with biathlon events in Sandnes (NOR). In total, top athletes from five different nations were on the starting list of the Cross-Country show competitions which were covered by NRK, Norwegian Television. But at the end, the national hero Marit Bjoergen made the double and won both races while on the men's side her team mates Oeystein Pettersen and Bjoerre Naess claimed victory in the free technique- respectively in the sprint race (all the results you can find here).
From 1st - 2nd August, numerous World Cup athletes from Finland, France, Germany, Sweden and Norway competed in the "Toppidrettsveka" (Top sport week) in Aure (NOR), the host city of the 2011 FIS Roller Skiing World Championships. The 2008 Toppidrettsveka consisted of various competition formats, like mountain biking, freestyle roller skiing sprint, 3000m running in the town and a handicap roller skiing race.
In a superior manner, Marit Bjoergen won the ladies overall ranking ahead of the strong sprinter Pirjo Muranen (FIN) and Ida Ingemarsdotter from Sweden. Oeystein Pettersen seems pretty strong too this summer. He claimed victory ahead of his team mates Tor Arne Hetland and Petter Northug. The best foreign athlete was Mathias Fredriksson from Sweden in fourth position. Please click here to see the results.
On Tuesday, 5th August, the 120th IOC session started in the Beijing-Hotel in the 2008 Olympic Games host city Beijing (CHN) and will continue with a full program until 7th August. The IOC session is the general assembly of the IOC members where the most important decisions concerning the Olympic Movement are made. Since 2000, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper is among the 115 members of the IOC.
The agenda items for the 2008 IOC session include the premiere of the 2010 Olympic Youth Games in Singapore, tougher punishment for doping offenders, the election of the IOC Executive Board as well as the decision by the IOC Members on the host National Olympic Committee and respective city to stage the 123rd IOC session in 2011, during which the host city of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be elected. In addition, on the IOC Session schedule are reports from the organizing committees for the upcoming Games in Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and Sochi 2014 and of course a report from Beijing 2008.
The International Ski Federation is proud to have several members of the extended FIS family that are involved in the Olympic Games beyond their FIS winter sports activities. In addition to FIS President Gian Franco Kasper who is actively involved as an IOC Member and Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General who is leading the WADA Independent Observer Team, the following individuals are heavily involved in the XXI. Olympic Summer Games in Beijing (CHN), which will begin on 8th August 2008 at 8.08 pm and last until 24th August:
FIS Council Members Janez Kocijancic (SLO) and Milan Jirasek (CZE) are both participating at the Olympic Games as the Presidents of their respective National Olympic Committees (NOC) of Slovenia and the Czech Republic. President of the Russian NOC and member of the Supervisory Board of Sochi 2014, FIS Vice-President Leonid Tyagachev (RUS) will visit Asia while the newly-appointed Chairman of the FIS Legal and Safety Committee Jose Luis Marco (ARG) is at the Games as a representative of the Argentinian National Olympic Committee and member of the Coordination Commission of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. The FIS Newsflash welcomes feedback any other FIS family members who too are contributing to the success of the Beijing Games!
We wish the organizers and everyone engaged in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing much success and a true festival of sport.
|Australia & New Zealand Cup|
The 2008 FIS Australia - New Zealand Cup (ANC) for Cross-Country Skiing will begin next weekend, kicking off with the Australian Sprint Championships at Perisher Valley on 9th August. The series then continues with three events at the Snow Farm in New Zealand, before returning to Australia for two distance events at Falls Creek on 23rd-24th August. The Continental Cup series concludes with the Kangaroo Hoppet 42km event at Falls Creek on 30th August.
The fastest local male competitors are expected to be 2007 ANC winner Paul Murray and 2006 winner Ben Sim. Murray is stronger in the sprint events, although also won the Australian 15km Freestyle title ahead of Sim in 2007. Sim has shown good form already this season, winning the 2008 30km Classic Australian Championship on July 27. New Zealand's fastest male skier is Nat Anglem, who has been steadily improving year to year since taking up racing in 2006. Competition from other international skiers is expected to be high; with 2007 ANC runner-up Tomio Kanamaru from Japan joined by World Cup team-mates Shohei Honda and Masaaki Kozu. Skiers from Canada and USA are currently training at the Snow Farm in New Zealand, although it is uncertain which athletes may stay on for the ANC competitions.
Amongst the ladies' local skiers the balance has swung in favour of New Zealand. 2007 ANC winner Katherine Calder has changed nation from Australia to compete for the country of her father, and she is joined on the New Zealand team by 2006 ANC winner Samantha Bondarenko and rising New Zealand skier Andi Fancy. Australia will be represented by 2006 Winter Olympian Esther Bottomley, whose best World Cup place last season was 43rd, and 21-year-old Aimee Watson, who broke through last season to take 24th place in the World U23 Championship in Malles, Italy. In the New Zealand legs of the competition at least they will face competition from strong Japanese university skiers Sumiko Ishigaki and Omori Naoko, and Swiss sprint specialist Sandra Gredig.
"We are looking forward to high quality competitions at the races in New Zealand this year," said Finn Marsland, Australian Team Coach. "Japan is sending their strongest team yet, and our men will have their work cut out to make the podium. The women's field will also be just about the deepest we have ever seen in ANC competition."
The final races at Falls Creek (AUS) are also expected to be interesting, with the XC Oregon Team from the USA sending two of their best skiers Zach Violett and 2008 American Birkebeiner winner Evelyn Dong to compete in the Kangaroo Hoppet, and several Czech skiers also entered, including 2008 Dolomitenlauf winner Viktor Novotny.
Snow conditions in Australia and New Zealand are excellent right now. At the Australian cross country skiing National Team Training Centre at Falls Creek there is nearly one metre of snow covering everything, and 40-50km of trails being groomed every day. Reports and results from the 2008 ANC and other competitions from Australia and New Zealand can be seen first at: www.hoppet.com.au/xc;ÿPlease click here for the 2008 ANC Competition Schedule.
Contributed by Finn Marsland
|Anja Paerson (SWE) in action|
by Ulrika Svensson
At the time of this interview, Anja Paerson was in the final days of her one month off. July is the only month during the year when she is not skiing. "Sure I have tried to take some time off, like a "normal" person. I have, among other things, been at home in Monaco and enjoyed the Mediterranean properly."
Traditionally, the Crown Princess of Sweden's birthday is celebrated at the castle on land, and in connection with that, the Victoria Scholarship is presented to the Swedish athlete who performed what is considered the most exceptional feat during the past year (this year's scholarship went to the athletics star Susanna Kallur). This year it was the award's 30th anniversary and many of Sweden's best athletes attended the ceremony including Anja. "It feels wonderful to receive inspiration, pep talk, and support from athletes like Ingemar Stenmark, Stig Strand, Jan-Ove Waldner and Carolina Klft."
This winter Anja will begin skiing on Head skis. Since the very first day she has had a positive feeling that the change will be really good. "I have tried to change many things in my technique and have worked hard with that in training during the spring and summer. My feeling is that I will have enough time to find the right material and learn to use it well before the season starts."
As always, the first competition on a new pair of skis is a thrill, but with Anja's routine, a good feeling, and if she can keep herself calm, she hopes she can find her way back to the podium again.
At Head, Anja joined a team with many top athletes, among them Maria Riesch, Bode Miller, Hermann Maier and Sarka Zahrobska. It is no secret that the material is very important in Alpine Skiing. Anja finds it terrific to be able to work with other great skiers. "In recent years I have pushed really hard at the material, because I have been quite alone at my last brand. I have a good feeling in my feet and I know most of the time in what direction I want the material to go. Now we can be faster to get good material, and focus more on the small details and on finding peace in training with skis we know work and are effective at their purpose."
This season, Ulf Emilsson will be the new speed coach for the Swedish Alpine ladies. Ulf has been on the men's World Cup for many years, and most recently, the coach for Aksel Lund Svindal.
"During the season it is always hard to have the time for all the different events, to stay in a constant form and to win many competitions. Ulf has the routine to train athletes that compete in all events and he knows how to find the time to train and compete. It is also good to have a coach from the men's tour, who can give me tougher lines in the downhill that he knows I am capable of."
Anja says she has no specific goals for this season, but plans to take it one day at a time, enjoy skiing and have fun. "Last year I suffered from large motivational problems, and this year I see that the most important for me is to have fun every day and to enjoy my time as a skier."
Years with championships are always stressful, as the competition schedule is tight. "In the skiing world you must have many plan B's, being adaptable and flexible is a high priority. I usually do not decide anything before the season. When it comes closer I will see what to do. You must know for yourself what is best for you: if the best thing is to keep away, in quiet, to find your calm or if you have to give it all in any one competition to feel the tempo and to find the confidence."