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Welcome to the 57th Edition of the FIS Newsflash! With just 30 days to go until the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, there is a lot going on in the world of FIS as the stakes are rising and national team selections being made. We wish you happy reading!
Competition for Olympic tickets heating up at FIS World Cups ...more Open fight for gold at FIS Ski Flying World Championships ...more
Enhanced FIS World Cup online results services now available ...more FIS Aid and Promotion training camp program continues ...more
Ayik elected President of Turkish Ski Federation ...more
A Four-Hills Premiere: Two ex-aequo Overall Winners
Tournament Impressions by Jouko Trmnen and Walter Hofer ...more
Competition for Olympic tickets heating up at FIS World Cups
Some 15 000 Estonian cross-country fans came to Otep on Saturday to see their own Kristina Smigun lose her first home course World Cup victory by just 0.2 seconds to Hilde G. Pedersen (NOR). At 41 years of age, Pedersen became the oldest female winner in the history of FIS World Cup Cross-Country.
In Nordic Combined, Hannu Manninen won the Warsteiner Grand Prix Germany, including the 40th Schwarzwaldpokal in Schonach (GER). Since he also won in Schonach last year, Manninen stands a chance to take the famous prize home next year if he wins for the third time in a row - something no athlete has managed so far.
In the ladies' World Cup Alpine, Janica Kostelic, celebrating her 24th birthday on her home course in Zagreb (CRO) last Thursday, put in a good fight in the "Snow Queen Trophy" slalom but came in 3rd behind Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel (both AUT) after losing a pole and her glove immediately after the start of the second run. On the weekend, after Saturday's cancellation of the giant slalom in Maribor (SLO) due to warm weather, Schild continued her stellar performances on Sunday, claiming her third slalom victory in a row.
On the men's side, the World Cup circuit returned to Adelboden (SUI) for the 40th time. In splendid winter weather, more than 30 000 spectators gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the festival as well as the opening of the Chuenisbrgli chairlift, financed by a tremendous community effort. The crowd saw Fredrik Nyberg of Sweden (2nd in the giant slalom) become the oldest man to finish on a FIS World Cup Alpine podium, and Giorgio Rocca, the season's slalom dominator, celebrate his 4th victory, whilst overall leader Benni Raich (AUT) collected 180 precious World Cup points with 1st in the giant slalom and 3rd in the slalom.
It was a Canadian-Swiss party at one of main Freestyle Skiing Olympic qualifying competitions that took place in Mont Gabriel (CAN) last weekend. While 18-year-old Alexandre Bilodeau won his first moguls World Cup and Jennifer Heil collected the silver medal (see photo), the Canadian men swept the entire aerials podium on their home turf. The last time the Canadians took the top three was in 1997. The Swiss aerials team also took two podiums with Evelyne Leu in 1st and Manuela Mueller in 2nd.
More than 7000 people attended the aerials competition and some 5000 witnessed the moguls competitions; an extraordinary showing since Mont Gabriel jumped in as a replacement venue just 14 days before when the competition was moved from Tremblant due to a labor dispute.
The Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup's "sterreich-Rundfahrt - Little Tour d' Austria" from January 4th - 9th included competitions in Bad Gastein (two snowboardcross races), Kreischberg (parallel giant slalom and halfpipe) and Klagenfurt (big air). With several athletes still trying to confirm their national tickets for the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, the stakes were high. Claiming 12 of the total of 27 Tour podium places, the teams from Canada and Switzerland showed their strength. Austria, Finland and France all traveled home with four top three finishes each. More than 30 000 spectators saw the snowboarders in action during the Tour.
Open fight for gold at FIS Sky Flying World Championships
The 19th FIS Ski Flying World Championships will begin at the Kulm Ski Flying hill in Bad Mitterndorf (AUT) on Thursday, 12th January. As in Planica two years ago, the biggest favorites for victory include Roar Ljoekelsoey (NOR) and Team Norway in the team competition. However, the fight is open for the individual gold medal..
Just a few days after the unforgettable ex-aequo victory by Janne Ahonen (FIN) and Jakub Janda (CZE) in the Four-Hills-Tournament (see In Depth below for full coverage), the two can also be considered to be the main contenders at Kulm, among several others. Ahonen has won two silver medals (1996/2004) and one bronze (2000) in Ski Flying in the past and clearly aims at gold this time. Roar Ljoekelsoey showed continuous improvement during the Four-Hills-Tournament while the strong Norwegian team is rounded up by Lars Bystoel and Bjoern Romoeren who were 1st and 3rd in Innsbruck.
The organizing team led by Hubert Neuper, the Secretary General, will also be staging a big farewell celebration in honor of Andi Goldberger who retired last summer, as well as a unique "Magic Moments in Sports" show that features Muhammad Ali as a special guest.
Enhanced FIS World Cup online results services now available
FIS is pleased to announce that an enhanced online live timing service for FIS World Cup Alpine and a new feature for the FIS World Cup Freestyle Skiing are now available on the FIS Website (at www.fis-ski.com; left navigator under "Live On-Line"). The enhanced Live Timing for the FIS World Cup Alpine directly links all start lists and results to each athlete's biography as well as offering more frequently updated intermediate standings. The service is now available for all FIS World Cup Alpine trainings, in addition to all the competitions. The Live On-Line service for the FIS World Cup Freestyle Skiing offers live scoring and results for both moguls and aerials competitions.
For feedback and questions related to Live Timing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIS Aid and Promotion training camps program continues
After a successful training camp in the alpine events & snowboardcross in Sulden (ITA), the third part of the FIS Aid and Promotion alpine training camps program is taking place in Prettau/Ahrntal, in Sdtirol (ITA) from 8th - 26th January 2006 where around 30 athletes are being trained by Markus Malsiner (ITA).
Almost simultaneously, a FIS Aid and Promotion camp for snowboard half pipe will be held in Kreischberg (AUT) from 11th - 21st January 2006. Under the coordination of Alex Andreis (ITA), 21 participants (15 athletes and six coaches) from nine nations will be training at last weekend's World Cup venue.
Ayik elected President of Turkish Ski Federation
Congratulations to Mr. Ozer Ayik who was elected as president of the Turkish Ski Federation at the presidential elections held on January 5, 2006.
A Four-Hills Premiere: Two ex-aequo Overall Winners
For the first time in the history of the Vodafone Four-Hills-tournament, two athletes shared the overall victory: After an exciting final competition, Janne Ahonen (FIN) and Jakub Janda (CZE) ended up with the same overall total score of 1081.5 points. And this after four competitions and eight competition jumps!
The duel between Janda and Ahonen offered winter sports entertainment at its best. The Czech had arrived in Bischofshofen with a two-point-margin ahead of Ahonen. In the first round, he increased his lead to three points. But in the final round, Ahonen brought home the victory at Bischofshofen by placing two points ahead of Janda and tying him for the overall victory.
The 28-year-old Janne Ahonen, winner of Oberstdorf and Bischofshofen, won the Four-Hills-tournament for the fourth time after 1999, 2003 and 2005, matching his idol Jens Weissflog who was the first athlete ever to win this traditional event four times. Weissflog stood on the top of the podium in 1983 and 1984 (for the German Democratic Republic) as well as in 1991 and 1996 (for Germany).
Janda, the dominator of the season so far with five World Cup victories (including the Four-Hills competition at Garmisch-Partenkirchen) is only the second Czech jumper in history to win the tournament after Jiri Raska in 1971.
Tournament Impressions by Jouko Trmnen and Walter Hofer
FIS Newsflash had a chance to ask Jouko Trmnen (FIN), Chairman of the FIS Ski Jumping Committee, and Walter Hofer, FIS Race Director Ski Jumping about their impressions of the 54th Four-Hills-Tournament as well as their tips for the upcoming FIS Ski Flying World Championships.
FIS Newsflash: Looking back, what would you highlight about this year's Four-Hills-Tournament?
Jouko Trmnen: This year's Tournament was excellent overall but of course especially because of the shared victory between Ahonen and Janda. And that was really the correct final result as they were the two best, yet equally good jumpers in the four competitions. Over the years, experience has shown that in this Tournament it is consistency that makes a difference. At the same time, we should note that competition at the very top was extremely tough this year, with jumpers from up to 7 countries placing in the top ten in each competition.
In addition, I also liked the evening competitions in Oberstdorf and Bischofshofen, now staged for the second time. Night jumping has such a special atmosphere. Because of the amazing ambience, we are hoping to increase the number of night events in the World Cup in the future, provided it is possible to guarantee the appropriate lighting conditions.
Walter Hofer: From an athletic perspective, I was struck by the extremely high level of the competitions. Behind the winning pair, there were a large number of athletes putting in extraordinary performances and consequently, the competitions were very exciting. Absolutely the most exciting Tournament so far and I have been around for 24 years!
I am also pleased about the high interest in the Tournament through the media. For example, in Norway we had a TV market share of up to 76% for the Tournament, and in Finland, we had almost 1.5 million viewers and a market share of some 70% for Bischofshofen.
FIS Newsflash: Who is your tip at the upcoming FIS Ski Flying World Championships at Kulm?
Jouko Trmnen: There are over 10 favourites, especially among those that have already been successful this season including jumpers such as Andreas Kttel and Simon Ammann (both SUI), but also the teams from Austria and Germany. In ski flying, there are always surprises because it is so unique: most jumpers never train on the ski flying hills so rapid adaptation to the new circumstances is critical. At the same time, the World Championships is the sum of four jumps so consistency is also required.
Walter Hofer: I am looking forward to great competitions. The weather forecast is good with cold and calm weather predictions. Any of the 40 qualifiers have a chance to win!
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