|News from the World of Skiing|
with Walter Hofer and Uli Wehling ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Charlotte Kalla (SWE)|
|Janne Korpi (FIN)|
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
The opening of the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup was held in wintry conditions in Gaellivare (SWE) last weekend. Local heroes Charlotte Kalla and Marcus Hellner won the first individual start distance races of the season in front of their home crowd at the Dundret ski stadium.
The 21-year-old Tour de Ski 2008 winner, Charlotte Kalla took her first World Cup victory in the free technique competition. Controlling the race from the beginning, she finished clearly ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR) and Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN). In the men's competition, 22-year-old Marcus Hellner, another Gaellivare native, gave it his all in the final 100 m and won by 1.4 seconds over Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA). Petter Northug (NOR) took third. For Hellner, too, it was the first World Cup victory of his career,
In Sunday's relays, Norway came away with both the men's and ladies' victories on Sunday as the first competition weekend wrapped up with a men's 4x10K and ladies' 4x5K relay races. In the men's race, Sweden was relegated to second place by a 0.2 second margin followed by Germany in third. Norway's Petter Northug had the fastest anchor leg, outsprinting Sweden's Marcus Hellner for the win. The Norwegian ladies, meanwhile, had been running second behind the Italians and then the Finns on the first three legs before Marthe Kristoffersen outsprinted Finland's Riitta-Liisa Roponen for the victory.
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup continued in Stockholm. After Peetu Piiroinen won the season's first big air in London, another Finn took victory in the Swedish capital on Saturday. In front of 20'000 spectators, it was Janne Korpi, who celebrated his second back-to-back win at the 1912 Olympic Stadion. And this happened after Korpi had just sneaked into the final of the best twelve riders as the number 12. Chris Soerman (SWE) and Seppe Smits (BEL) rounded up the podium.
|The Ruka hill|
The FIS Nordic Opening, a joint World Cup weekend for all FIS Nordic disciplines will take place for the seventh time in Kuusamo (FIN) on 28th-30th November. True season opener for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, this long weekend will be the first and only time before the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE) that all three FIS Nordic disciplines compete at the same venue and in fact, in the very same stadium.
Around 320 athletes from approximately 26 nations will compete in the total of eight World Cup events at Ruka, a popular winter sport resort named after the local mountain (492m), located 25 km north of Kuusamo.
For the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, the season's first competitions also represent the first real test of the new competition format. For the first time in the 25-year history of the World Cup, the competition will consist of a single jump and a 10 km cross-country Gundersen race. For Cross-Country, the season's first competitions in the classical technique are on the program while Ski Jumping season will kick off with a team competition on Friday night, followed by the first individual event on Saturday.
Traditionally the Ruka/Kuusamo organizing committee stages several live music performances and DJs to ensure great atmosphere throughout the entire weekend.
For more information, visit www.nordicopening.com
WADA's Executive Committee and Foundation Board meetings were held last weekend in Montreal (CAN) with the presence of FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. One of the highlights on the meeting agenda included the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding for formalizing cooperation with Interpol, the world's largest police organization. This Memorandum of Understanding provides a framework for cooperation between the two organizations in tackling doping, in particular in the areas of evidence gathering and information sharing. Moreover, WADA is finalizing protocols to facilitate evidence gathering and information sharing between its two groups of stakeholders (governments and sport).
The weekend's meetings also focused on advances made by WADA in the development of the Athlete Passport concept. The fundamental principle of the Athlete Passport is based on the monitoring of an athlete's biological parameters to detect abnormal variations that indirectly reveal the effects of doping. WADA is now developing an "Athlete Passport Operating Manual" to provide practical advice on the implementation of such a program, expected to be completed in early 2009.
UNESCO and WADA also recently celebrated the hundredth ratification of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport at a ceremony held at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris on 12th November. Switzerland, Uganda and Burkina Faso were the latest three countries to ratify the Convention, bringing the total number of ratifications to 103. 90 Member States of UNESCO have still to ratify the convention.
|View from Jested hill over Liberec|
|Winter in Val d'Isre|
Thanks to the cold weather front passing over Europe in the last week-ten days, the preparations for the FIS World Ski Championships in both the Nordic and Alpine Events 2009 have also turned on another gear.
Since Monday 17th November, it has been possible to produce man-made snow in Liberec (CZE). "As soon as the temperatures dropped below freezing, we started producing snow with 20 snow cannons and have since added others to the arsenal," commented Robert Heczko, manager of the Cross-Country area Vesec. In ideal conditions, fourteen days of snow production are required to create the necessary 30'000 m3 of snow to ensure coverage on all the competition courses at the venue.
In addition to artificial snow-making at both Vesec and the Jested Ski Jumping area, natural snow has fallen in the Liberec area, making it much easier for the Liberec 2009 organizing committee to prepare for its dress rehearsal, the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup events, scheduled to be held in Liberec from 13th-14th December 2008.
Val d'Isre also looks forward to a final test with an Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for men, the traditional Premire Neige carried out this season as a giant slalom and slalom on the championship course, Face Bellevarde. The resort has already enjoyed several snowfalls over the past weeks and the current temperatures are presently enabling extensive snow-making to prepare both the mens as well as the ladies courses.
|New day lodge|
The Whistler Olympic Park, the site of the 2010 Olympic competitions in Cross-Country, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined as well as Biathlon, celebrated its official opening last Saturday. As late as early afternoon on Friday the park had no snow, but right in time for the celebrations at noon on Saturday it snowed up to 30 cm overnight.
On Saturday, it was time for the official inauguration of the 1,020-square-meter day lodge to mark the start of the public skiing season. Last winter, the services for the $119-million Olympic Park were run out of portable cabins. Now a brand new lodge located halfway between the ski jumps and the finish line for the cross-country venue will serve as a focal point for the new venue which plays a key role in the legacy planning for the 2010 Games in the Whistler area. VANOC is expecting up to 500 people a day to use the day lodge during the weekends, and some 100 a day on a regular weekday. Appropriately for the wild surroundings in Callaghan Valley near Whistler, rather than a traditional ribbon-cutting, the inauguration featured sawing the final piece of furniture for the lodge, designated for the park's director, VANOC's sport director and the driving force behind the venue's construction, John Aalberg.
The Whistler Olympic Park will host its premiere FIS World Cup events from 15th-18th January as both the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country and DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup tours will visit the venue for the final test events before the Olympic competitions in February 2010. The following weekend, 23rd -25th February, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup will take place on the new hills.
For Saturday's kickoff, the public were invited to ski and snowshoe for free, and offered tours on the small ski hill and a chance to try shooting at the biathlon range.
FIS, Ricoh and marketing agency Wige Event have agreed an extension of the ten-year partnership for three additional seasons up to and including 2010/2011. Ricoh, a global leader in digital office solutions, has supported the FIS World Cups in the Nordic disciplines since 1998 as the official data service provider and brought a high level of innovative technology to the competition results and information services. Ricoh has been partnering with FIS Ski Jumping since 1998 and with Cross-Country and Nordic Combined since 2007.
Looking forward to a continuing partnership and especially the enhanced future sponsorship activation plans, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper stated: "Ricoh is an ideal partner for the FIS World Cups in Ski Jumping, Cross-Country and Nordic Combined, all of which are traditional yet dynamic and exciting sports. We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Ricoh for the past decade and sincerely look forward to developing the partnership into the future." He added: "The support of WIGE Event is also much appreciated, especially in the activation of Ricoh's rights and significant engagement over the years to nurture the partnership between FIS and Ricoh."
The new FIS Anti-Doping Rules 2009 compiled in accordance with the new WADA code are now available on the FIS website (here), as well as in a printed publication, and will come into force on 1st January 2009.
The new code contains some modifications regarding whereabouts information, missed test rules, Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) and retirement/return to competition.
The primary change to the athlete whereabouts requirements is that it will be necessary for the athlete to identify one specific 60-minute time slot between 6am and 11pm each day at a specific location where they will be available for testing. Failure to be available for testing at the specified location during the specified time slot will be pursued as an apparent missed test.
Moreover, any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures, committed within an eighteen-month period at an international (FIS) or national (NADO) level, will constitute an anti-doping rule violation. It is the athlete's responsibility to ensure that he/she provides all of the information required accurately and in sufficient detail.
As from 1st January 2009 a TUE will be required for all prohibited substances (there is no sub-category of an abbreviated TUE any longer).
Finally the whereabouts requirements apply to all athletes in the testing pool until formal retirement (FIS retirement form) and before returning to competition, an athlete has to make him/herself available for out-of-competition testing at least six months before he/she expects to return to competition (FIS return to competition form).
More information can be obtained through email@example.com. FIS is also conducting several special information and training sessions for athletes in the Nordic disciplines during the FIS Nordic Opening in Kuusamo (FIN) this weekend.
At its Levi meeting, the FIS Council decided to renew efforts to engage athletes to participate and contribute to FIS through the FIS Athletes' Commission. Introduced by the 40th International Ski Congress in the spring 1996, the members of the Athletes' Commission are elected by the athletes themselves. The first elections took place during the 1997 FIS World Championships and new elections for the FIS Athletes Commission are now scheduled to take place during the different FIS World Championships in 2009.
The 12 members of the Commission are elected for a period of four years at a time. In principle, the Commission will meet once a year and its purpose is to discuss and address issues concerning athletes in general. Nomination of candidate(s) to stand for election (only one candidate per nation per discipline may stand for election) can be sent by the National Ski Association to firstname.lastname@example.org. The nominations will open one month before the respective World Championships and close on the 3rd day of the event. Voting will take place during 3-5 days during each of the Championships. Only athletes who are present and participating at the respective FIS World Championships are eligible to vote.
More information on the rules and procedure has been sent to the National Ski Associations and a special flyer will be distributed to the athletes and their teams during the upcoming World Cup events.
|100 days to go celebration|
Photo: OC Inawashiro
On 22nd November, there were 100 days remaining until the FIS Freestyle World Championships 2009 in Inawashiro. The Organizing Committee held a 100-days-to-go commemorative event in the city of Fukushia, capital of the Fukushima prefecture. 14 top Japanese Freestyle skiers participated in this event, to promote their sport and the Freestyle World Championships which will be held in Inawashiro and the town of Bandai from 2nd-8th March.
During the gathering, a cheerleading squad danced and pre-school children performed "Japanese Drums". When the children gave their message: "We are all supporting you! Please do your best!" with flowers to a representative of the athletes, the crowd erupted into cheers and applause. The athletes were also presented handmade gold medals by children from the Inawashiro Kids Ski Club as an omen for the Championships. Many athletes responded energetically: "I want to win the same color medal at the World Championships!" The athletes also swore great success for the Freestyle FIS World Cup series beginning soon and the World Championships on home turf.
Contributed by Suke Kawazu
As already communicated following the FIS Council's Levi meeting, the 2009 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships were divided between two nations as an exception for 2009 due to the extremely short time remaining until the event to find an organizer to carry out all three disciplines. The two co-organizers appointed by the Council are:
The French Ski Association with Praz-de-Lys/Sommand (FRA) as organizer of the˙Junior and U-23 Cross-Country events˙from 31st January to 6th February 2009.
The Slovak Ski Association with Strbske Pleso (SVK) as organizer of the Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined competitions from 5th to 8th February 2009.
For the detailed programs, please click here for Praz-de-Lys-Sommand and here for Strbske Pleso. For more information on Praz de Lys please contact email@example.com or www.prazdelys2009.org and on Strebske Pleso, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.slz.sk.˙
Yet again, three new video interviews are available in the fifth part of our "International Perspectives on Skiing" series. Conducted on the occasion of the 46th International Ski Congress in Cape Town (RSA), these feature Dick Taplin (GBR), Chairman of the FIS Speed Skiing Committee, Sara Nordahl (SWE), member of the Sub-Committee for Cross-Country Youth and Children's Questions˙and Finn Marsland (AUS), Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Cross-Country Lowlanders, all of whom shared their thoughts on various aspects of our sport. Click here to view the videos.
|Walter Hofer |
Photo: Horst Nilgen
with Walter Hofer and Uli Wehling
At the start of the FIS World Cup season 2008/2009 for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, it is time for Walter Hofer and Ulrich Wehling, the FIS Race Directors for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, respectively, to look forward to the competition season.
FIS Newsflash: What is new this season?
Walter Hofer: "Only two important innovations were made for this season. One is the re-introduction of a separate Ski Flying World Cup. After we increasingly tried to integrate more Ski Flying competitions in our calendar, we now want to crown the overall winner in Ski Flying, as we already did ten years ago. In the next few seasons, there will be competitions on three or four Ski Flying hills in the World Cup calendar.
The other innovation is the FIS Team Tour. This is a new competition series that will consist of five competitions (three individual and two team competitions) in three locations in Germany. It will start in Willingen on 7th February. The next stop is Klingenthal and the final stage is Oberstdorf with two events on 14th -15th February.
From the team competitions, the points of the whole team go into the overall ranking of the Tour. From the individual competitions, the points of the best two jumpers in a team are counted. The overall victory of the Tour will then go to the whole team. For the FIS Team Tour, additional prize money of CHF 500'000 will be awarded. CHF 100'000 will go to the winning team together with the FIS Team Tour trophy.
Apart from these two points no major changes were made in Ski Jumping. The small modifications concerning the equipment are not worth mentioning. We have carried out the whole summer season with the rules we are used to, and we will also do that during the 2008/09 winter season."
Uli Wehling: "I'm as excited and curious as everybody else because of all these changes for this season in Nordic Combined. I really hope that we'll be lucky with the weather conditions in order not to be forced to use the provisional competition jump for our events.
The new competition system is for sure a new challenge for all of us. In the end, it should bring more attention and more interest in the Nordic Combined scene. The system with only one jump and a 10 km race is not a sprint and not a 15 km Gundersen as we had it before. I see two big obstacles to master for the athletes: You have to be very, very concentrated on the hill because it's very easy to mess up the jump. And you have to be prepared for the new distance in cross-country.
Undoubtedly, Nordic Combined will become more attractive with four to five cross-country rounds of 2 or 2.5 km each. And the athletes should have had enough time to get prepared for the changes."
In the Nordic Combined Continental Cup, we also have a new situation. With no relegation to the B World Cup and no admission to the A World Cup, we'll see how things develop. I expect a participant field of between 50 and 55 in the World Cup and between 60 and 70 in the COC."