|News from the World of Skiing|
Developing Ski Jumping in Sweden ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|BC Place will host the 2010 Opening Ceremony|
Right in time for the Beijing Olympic Summer Games, VANOC, the organizer of the next Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (CAN) in 2010, released its detailed competition schedules which were approved by the IOC Executive Board. The tickets to 2010 Games will go on sale on 3rd October 2008.
With nine competition venues, 12 stadiums, seven sports, 15 disciplines and 86 medal events, producing the hourly competition schedules was a highly complex endeavor. Contingency plans for adverse weather conditions, event sequencing (to allow recovery time for athletes in more than one event), venue operational considerations and complex broadcast logistics (including balancing live global coverage of simultaneous events at different venues) all had to be built into the schedules.
The Opening Ceremony will be held on 12th February 2010 while the final sport event will be the men's gold medal hockey game on 28th February. For detailed schedules of each of the FIS disciplines which is a total of 40 medal events, please see here.
|Site inspection at Psekhako Ridge|
Just a few days ago, Sochi 2014 - the host of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games - celebrated a special milestone of 2014 days to go until the event. A few days thereafter, its leadership delivered the first official progress report to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 120th IOC Session in Beijing (CHN), outlining the team's achievements during the first year since Sochi's election.
During the Sochi Games, to be held from 7th to 23rd February, the skiing events will be staged around the village of Krasnaya Polyana some 45 minutes away from the city of Sochi proper. As per the bid book, the Nordic Skiing events are planned to be carried out at the brand new facilities at Psekhako Ridge, which is set to host the Cross-Country and Nordic Combined Cross-Country competitions in 2014.
Initiated in 2002 and opened for the 2005/2006 season, Psekhako Ridge is a new resort owned by Gazprom. It currently consists of 18 trails and six lifts including a gondola, as well as accommodation for more than 8,000 people. The second construction phase is now underway and will include additional pistes, a ski stadium and other facilities to be used during the 2014 Games. Construction of the Olympic Ski Stadium with its facilities at around 1450 m of altitude is scheduled to be finished in 2010. The first official test events as part of the FIS World Cup will in principle be held during the 2011/2012 season.
The second construction stage at the resort also includes four ropeways, ski lifts, summer sports facilities, a multi-level car parking, 300 and 180-room hotels, a cultural center with a water park, conference halls, restaurants, cafes and a business area. Gazprom's investment in Psekhako Ridge is estimated to amount to a total of Euro 300 million. Psekhako Ridge is intended to become the Russian National Training Center after the Games. A delicate balance with the surrounding nature remains a challenge because Psekhako Ridge is adjacent to the highly valuable Caucasus Nature Reserve and the Western Caucasus World Heritage Site.
"The Psekhako Ridge ski area offers great promise for the Cross-Country Skiing events at the 2014 Games. While significant work remains to be done, including the construction of required accommodation facilities and major transportation infrastructure such as a highway from Sochi, the basis for an excellent Cross-Country venue is surely there," commented Jrg Capol, FIS Race Director following his recent site inspection. "Russia is historically one of the major Cross-Country Skiing nations and given the experience at our recent FIS World Cup events in Rybinsk, we can look forward to great Cross-Country competitions in an outstanding atmosphere at the Sochi Games," he added.
Photo: Philipp Schdler
The first four competitions in the ladies' FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping were carried out in good conditions in Bischofsgrn, Phla (both Germany) and Bischofshofen (AUT) from 10th to 17th August. After the first part of the summer series, the oldest female Ski Jumper among the participants, 29-year-old Izumi Yamada (JPN) leads the 2008/09 ranking ahead of the 14 years younger winner of both the German events Magdalena Schnurr (GER). The reigning Junior World Champion Jacqueline Seifriedsberger (AUT) is ranked third currently.
The four-time Cup winner, Anette Sagen (NOR), is ranked 8th after participating in two of the four events so far. Sagen made her comeback with a victory in the first competition in Bischofshofen after a long injury break and only about 20 training jumps.
The ladies Continental Cup series kicked off into the new season in Bischofgrn with a new competitor record, 64 ladies from 13 countries, and continued to impress the crowds on site at each of the four different competitions with high level Ski Jumping performances.
The ladies' circuit will continue with two events at Lillehammer (NOR) on 12th and 13th September together with the men's Continental Cup series.
Contributed by Sandra Spitz
|Esther Bottomley (AUS)|
Competition in the 2008 FIS Australia - New Zealand Cup (ANC) for Cross-Country Skiing has been hot over the last two weeks, with athletes from Canada, Japan, Switzerland and France taking on the locals from Australia and New Zealand. After four events Esther Bottomley (AUS) and Geoffroy Pais (FRA) lead the series.
Second to Bottomley in the ladies' standings is Milaine Theriault (CAN), who won both distance events at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. Theriault won the 10km Classic ahead of Katherine Calder (NZE) and the 5km Freestyle ahead of Sumiko Ishigaki (JPN). Bottomley leads the series with a first and second place from the two sprint events.
The four men's events have had four winners. Pais won the opening Sprint Freestyle at Perisher Valley in Australia, Tomio Kanamaru (JPN) won the Snow Farm 15km Classic, Shohei Honda (JPN) won the Snow Farm Sprint Freestyle, and Robin McKeever (CAN) won the Snow Farm 10km Freestyle.
Next weekend the ANC continues at Falls Creek with the Australian Championship events on 23rd-24th August. Though the Japanese and Canadian athletes are not coming to contest these events, the international contingent will still be strong, with skiers from the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and the USA joining Pais from France. The final ANC event is the Kangaroo Hoppet 42km free technique˙race on 30th August, where two of the top contenders will be 2008 American Birkebeiner winner Evelyn Dong (USA), and 2008 Dolomitenlauf winner Victor Novotny (CZE).
Contributed by Finn Marsland
|Jumpin ladies podium|
|British Ski Cross Series 2008|
While many of the Freestyle national teams are training on snow either on the glaciers in Europe and North America or have travelled to the southern hemisphere to train and compete, others have stayed a little closer to national training centers or facilities.
Where there is snow, or in the case of Freestyle aerials, where there is water and water ramps, a competition can be held. The second unofficial European championships in ski acrobatics took place last weekend at the Jumpin water jump facility near Lucerne (SUI). A cheerful crowd of some 1'000 spectators saw an exciting competition with suspense until the very last jump. In the ladies event, Lydia Lassila of Australia confirmed a narrow victory just 0.56 points over home favorite Evelyne Leu. As the best European, Leu claimed the European champion title. The qualification winner Alla Tsuper of Belarus finished third. In the men's competition, Dimitri Dashinski of Belarus secured victory with an outstanding last jump, beating the Swiss Andreas Isoz and Thomas Lambert.
In Canada, at the Lac-Beauport, Quebec jumping center, the Mondial Acrobatx aerials water ramp jump competition was held for the fourth time last Saturday. The ladies' victory went to Amber Peterson (CAN) ahead of Jana Lindsey (USA). In the men's competition, American Ryan St. Onge won before France's Nicolas Thepaut.
Yet another water aerials competition, the 7th annual Freestyle Czech Open, was held at the Acrobat Park in Stity (CZE) in July, organized in association with city of Stity and Czech TV. Both the ladies and men's victories went to Ukraine as Nadiya Didenko and Enver Ablaev triumphed.
A rather special Freestyle competition series, the British Ski Cross Series 2008, has been held indoors this summer. Four of the five round series of ski cross competitions, supported by the SnowsportGB have taken place at the SNO!ZONE indoor ski halls at Milton Keynes, Castleford and Scotland. The finals of the series will be held on 21st September. For more, see here.
|Chinese snowboarders on podium|
Attending the Beijing Olympic Summer Games, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper and Secretary General Sarah Lewis had an opportunity to meet with the leadership of the Chinese Ski Association. The host association delegation was led by Zhao Yinggang, Director General, and Ren Hongguo, Vice˙President along with Yan Xiaojuan, Deputy Secretary General˙ and Member of the FIS Freestyle Committee, Ding Yi, Deputy Secretary General, and˙Yu Haiyan, Secretary. The discussions focused on the work the Chinese Ski Association is undertaking to develop skiing and snowboarding in China and its plans for the coming years.
Special emphasis will be placed on the development of the FIS disciplines that have not been a focus of the Association's activities in the past, namely Alpine Skiing and Ski Jumping, as well as on the further development of Cross-Country Skiing. There are currently some 200 ski resorts in China and the Chinese Ski Association is especially concentrating on developing recreational skiing in addition to competition activities. As an example, it has recently initiated a project dubbed `Bring Teenagers to the Snow" to encourage ski and snow activities by youngsters and the youth.
In recent years, China has become one of the leading nations in Freestyle Skiing, especially in aerials. It has amassed a total of 88 podium places since 1997, including 26 wins and several medals at the title events such as Olympic Winter Games. In the last two seasons, Chinese snowboarders have collected eight podium places as well, including the first three World Cup victories in the ladies' half-pipe last season.
|World Cup at Sungwoo|
The Final Inspection for the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2009 took place last Tuesday and Wednesday in the Gangwon Province of Korea. FIS Snowboard Race Director Marcel Looze inspected all the competition venues at the Sungwoo ski resort, near Seoul. Sungwoo is one of Korea's most comprehensive ski resorts, located just 1.5 hour's drive from Seoul and easily accessible through Seoul's Incheon International Airport.
The venues, tested at the FIS World Cup competitions in 2005, 2007 and 2008, are well-prepared for the Championships. Small adjustments have been made to the snowboard cross courses compared with the last World Cup events (lower start/finish). The parallel slalom and giant slalom courses are known as the most challenging on the World Cup tour and the half-pipe has consistently received good marks at the World Cup events. New at the championships will be the big air venue which will be built as a combination of natural environment and scaffolding and will offer a great opportunity for the spectators to enjoy some spectacular freestyle riding action.
"I am very pleased with the status of the preparations. The operational team consisting of almost 50 people already stands under the guidance of the event director Moon Dan and is doing a good job. We would also like to thank the Gangwon Province and FIS Council Member Dr Lee for their excellent support for the event," commented Looze and added: "The team invitation has already been sent out and we will be finalizing the outstanding marketing and communications topics as well as the TV production plans and broadcasting schedules with the host broadcaster MBC in the coming weeks."
The FIS Snowboard World Championships will take place in a little less than 150 days, from 14th-24th January 2009. For more information, visit www.gangwon2009.or.kr/ ˙
|Alfred Rainer |
FIS sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Alfred Rainer (20), three-time medalist at the 2008 FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Nordic Combined who died during the night from Friday to Saturday at the University Clinic in Innsbruck (AUT). Rainer had a tragic accident while paragliding near his home in Maria Alm (AUT) on 7th August. Despite week-long efforts to save his life including surgery, Rainer succumbed to the serious injuries he had sustained, including swelling and blooding in his brain. Rainer was one of the most promising young talents in the Austrian Nordic Combined team.
|Rising Sun Air Squadron|
FIS also sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Seiji Aochi (66), a bronze medalist ski jumper at the Sapporo Olympic Winter Games in 1972. Mr Aochi died of gastric cancer last Thursday. He was a member of the so-called "Rising Sun Air Squadron," a trio of Japanese ski jumpers including Akitsugu Konno (silver) and Yukio Kasaya (gold) who dominated the podium on the normal hill at the Sapporo Games. A native of Otaru (JPN); Mr. Aochi attended Meiji University before joining Snow Brand Milk Products Co. where he continued to mentor athletes until his death.
|Isak Grimholm |
Developing Ski Jumping in Sweden
By Ulrika Svensson
The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE) followed by the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver have been the goal for the Swedish Ski Jumping team since the Swedish Ski Association engaged the German trainer Wolfgang Hartmann. Hartmann is the former team manager for the German junior team who is now charged with the development of Swedish Ski Jumping.
Going from training the top level juniors on the German national team to Swedish Ski Jumping is a big change, especially from a financial perspective since significantly more limited resources are at the team's disposal in Sweden. Since Hartmann took over, the team has continuously developed improving results both at the World and Continental Cup levels. The current team includes Andreas Arn, Johan Eriksson, Isak Grimholm and Carl Nordin along with head coach Wolfgang Hartmann and assistant coach/service man Kerst Rlz.
"The biggest change that came with me is probably that I have a lot of contacts in the Ski Jumping family in Germany and they have helped us much with material and hotels. These sponsors have been a significant help for us. It has also been important for the athletes to have one trainer for a longer period of time," Hartmann commented.
In the earlier years, the team used to hold several summer training camps in Central Europe, but this summer most training has taken place at home in Sweden. The team has held fitness tests with the Swedish Olympic Committee and during four camps, intense material tests have been conducted on the hill in rnskldsvik in the north of Sweden. Since the team lacks money, two daily training sessions have often been combined with fund-raising activities.
Hartmann works hard to improve Swedish Ski Jumping, and the goal is to have one or two athletes continuously in top 30 in the World Cup, which guarantees certain media interest along with sponsors. Before this season, a new contract was signed with car company KIA Sweden, which represents a long-term investment in Swedish Ski Jumping and a major accomplishment. Now the team has a full-time service man and also a new sponsor manager based out of Germany who works to find other sponsors for the future.
The 2008 summer Continental Cup finals will take place on the team's home turf in Falun, from 11th - 12th October. Yet with Falun's likely candidacy for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2015, there are even bigger plans for the future.
"Home championships will be very important for Swedish Ski Jumping. The hills in Falun do not currently comply with the latest FIS rules, and with a championship, a reconstruction will become necessary. This would give us a new training center with modern hills. Otherwise, too, championships in Sweden would give Swedish Ski Jumping a boost and increase the public interest which is one of our main goals," Hartmann stated.