FIS Congress Special 

Congress Week Underway in Vilamoura

Unfortunately, most of the 990 Congress participants have had little time to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather on the beaches of Vilamoura (POR). Over 250 hours in more than 100 meetings are being spent in deliberations by the FIS Council and by the various FIS Committees and Sub-Committees in addition to many more informal sessions and gatherings taking place daily.

Besides the election of the organizers of the 2010 and 2011 FIS World Championships on Thursday, the FIS Council's agenda in its meetings throughout the Congress Week includes the approval of the FIS World Cup calendars for the 2006-2007 season as well as decisions on the proposals submitted by the Technical Committees following their meetings earlier in the week (for the Committee meeting schedule, click here).

The main work of the Council, however, is focused on the Congress Agenda in order to deliver its opinion to the Member Associations on the various proposals before Friday's General Assembly. The FIS Newsflash will provide a detailed report on the decisions of the FIS Congress and Council in its 77th edition next week.

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Tasting the FIS World Championship Candidatures
FIS Congress Exhibition

The unquestionable highlight of the 45th International Ski Congress in Vilamoura is the election of the organizers for the 2010 and 2011 FIS World Championships. The culmination of twelve months of hard work for the eight candidates will be the announcement of the election decisions of the FIS Council at Hotel Marinotel at approximately 18:00 CET on Thursday May 25th.

During the Congress Week, the candidates have also had an opportunity to present the highlights of their candidature to all Congress participants at a special exhibition in Hotel Marinotel. Further to the detailed information on their event concepts, the candidates have chosen to offer the Congress participants a taste of their candidatures. Based on a tasting report by FIS Newsflash special correspondent, all the candidates have given their best to present the culinary delights of their regions and communities:

Among the Candidates for the 2011 Nordic WSC, Val di Fiemme (ITA) is serving various warm pasta dishes with Parmesan cheese from the region, Oslo (NOR) offers a buffet of raw Norwegian salmon and ham together with delicious chocolate truffles while Zakopane (POL) provides various meat cuttings and little sausages.

The Candidates for the 2011 Alpine WSC, Schladming (AUT) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), have also spared no effort to present their candidatures in the best light: While Schladming offers small sandwiches with bacon and other toppings, genuine Altenmark Schnitzel, bakeries and a WM wine by Willi Opitz, Garmisch-Partenkirchen has invested in a typical Bavarian art of culinary specialities including Weissbier n' Bretzn.

In the heat of Vilamoura, one of the greatest successes has been the offering of Deer Valley (USA), Candidate for the 2011 Freestyle World Championships, of Haegen-Dazs ice cream topped with a shot of fine American liquor.

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Congress premiere: FIS Golf Tournament
Ladies' Champions & FIS Travel

A premiere in the program of the International Ski Congress, the inaugural `official' FIS Golf Tournament took place on Sunday, 21st May, and on Tuesday, 23rd May. A total of 47 competitors representing 16 nations took advantage of the opportunity to test the Pinhal and Laguna courses, just two of the over two dozens excellent golf courses located near the Congress venue in Vilamoura. The Tournament coordinator Toni KĄgi (SUI) commented: "We are quite pleased with how well the Tournament has been received. All the participants enjoyed a beautiful day on the course, which nicely complemented the full program of meetings everyone has."

Sponsored by FIS Travel and the Congress Hotel Tivoli Marinotel, the FIS Golf Tournament also awarded the winners: The business class round trip tickets within Europe were won byˇgross winnersˇMary Hicks (IRE), Ladies' Double Champion,ˇScrecko Medven (SLO) and Janne Marvaila (FIN). The longest drives were delivered by Lars Lundquist (SWE) at around 280 m for the men, and by Marie-Theres KĄgi (SUI) at approximately 180m for the ladies. The Best Net Overall winners were Neill Bell (NZE) and Edmond Yue (HKG).

Encouraged by the success of the first edition, a second FIS Golf Tournament is being planned for the 2008 FIS Congress in South Africa.

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 News from the World of Skiing 

New Chairman for Four-Hills Tournament
Ingo Jensen & Claus-Peter Horle

Claus-Peter Horle succeeds Dietmar Hemerka

The Four-Hills Tournament has a new Chairman: As planned, 64-year old Claus-Peter Horle (GER; SC Oberstorf) succeeds Dietmar Hemerka (AUT) who has held the position for the last three years. In addition, Klaus Taglauer (SC Partenkirchen), Tournament Chief of Press for 28 years, hands over the charge to Ingo Jensen. The 37-year-old German has served as Chief of Press in Oberstdorf since 1999 and also worked as Venue Press Chief for Ski Jumping at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino.

For the first time in the 55-year-history of the traditional event the last competition in Bischofshofen (AUT) will be staged on January 7th rather than January 6th. ,We are making an expection in order to respond to the request of the television to hold our competition a day later than normally. I expect no disadvantage in terms of audience from having the qualification on Saturday and the competition on Sunday", commented Karl Votocek, Chairman of SC Bischofshofen.

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 In Depth 

Medical Matters at FIS
Bengt Saltin

Interview with Bengt Saltin

Bengt Saltin (SWE), Chairman of the FIS Medical Committee, retired at the 45th International Ski Congress after having served on the Committee since 2000. FIS Newsflash had a chance to interview him after his last Committee meeting in Vilamoura (POR) earlier this week.

FIS Newsflash: Did you have a specific agenda when you became Chairman in 2002?

Bengt Saltin: My strength has always lied in conceptualizing and setting up structural frameworks for programs. When I became Chairman, I had three main goals. Firstly, I felt it was critical that the Medical Committee agreed on a common agenda and did not spread itself too thin across a broad set of topics. Secondly, at that time, there was a perception that FIS was doing too little for the fight against doping and needed to formulate a sound, new strategy. Thirdly, the number of injuries in skiing was and is a concern and I thought it was time for FIS to define its role in injury prevention. I think these goals were endorsed by the FIS Council when it appointed me as Chairman.

FIS Newsflash: Looking back at your tenure, how would you evaluate your success in realizing this agenda?

Bengt Saltin: I feel we have done quite well in all three areas. The FIS Medical Committee has really come together around a common set of topics. In addition to anti-doping education and injury prevention, we have emphasized medical education for team physicians and first aid training for all officials on the slopes. And, I am pleased to say that the FIS Medical Committee today consists of medical professionals who are all committed to helping FIS as an organization. In fact, each member now has a specific task that they perform for FIS in addition to their professional commitments throughout the year.

As far as anti-doping is concerned, FISˇrealized than an independent anti-doping expert was needed to oversee the program. That way the authority for this sensitive area of activity is not under the Medical Committee, the members of which are National Association and team officials, thereby eliminating. any perceived conflicts of interest and confidentiality. The FIS Anti-Doping program has received international recognition and thanks to a very advanced program focused on targeted testing in all FIS disciplines, we now have a reduced number of doping cases. And our blood testing program has led to a normalization of the previously excessive hemoglobin values among FIS athletes across all disciplines. This program was recently evaluated by CAS and confirmed in all its aspects, including the hemoglobin limits, program implementation and testing procedures.

Finally, the FIS Injury Surveillance System will launch as of the 2006-2007 season. It will establish the baseline data on how and why injuries occur and, eventually, the basis for injury prevention programs.

FIS Newsflash: What do you think will be FIS's greatest medical challenge in the future?

Bengt Saltin: Injury prevention! FIS will be challenged not only to implement an effective injury prevention program but also to deliver tangible results with it on several levels. Measures will likely be required in terms of equipment, competition rules and policy-making as well as in national programs for leisure skiers.

In terms of our fight for drug-free skiing, I think we must stay vigilant and continue to invest in a targeted testing program. FIS will also work with WADA that has recently initiated a working group for blood testing with the ultimate goal of implementing an Athlete's Passport program. In sum, the new chairman will still have a lot to do but I think we have established a good basis for the Committee's future work.

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