|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
| Aiko Uemura (JPN)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Kevin Rolland (FRA) |
Photo: Agence Zoom
The FIS Freestyle World Championships 2009˙in Inawashiro (JPN) concluded with great Japanese medal celebrations. The Japanese superstar and the 2008 mogul FIS World Cup champion Aiko Uemura rose to the occasion on home snow, capturing the gold medal in both mogul events. Her titles were the first ever Freestyle World Championship gold medals for Japan. In her trail, the young talent Miki Ito claimed the silver medal in the ladies' dual moguls, recording a historic double victory for Japan. In the men's dual mogul competition, Nobuyuki Nishi, 4th in the individual moguls, won the silver and became only the second Freestyle World Championship medal for a Japanese male after Yugo Tsukita also won silver in dual moguls at Deer Valley in 2003.
The most challenging mogul course in the world proved difficult even for the main favorites. The men's 2009 mogul World Cup champion, Canada's Alexandre Bilodeau, struggled in the first event but came back to capture the title in the dual moguls. The ladies' World Cup leader Hannah Kearney of the USA managed a bronze medal in the ladies' dual moguls.
In the second ever FIS World Championship in half-pipe - the first one was held at Ruka (FIN) in 2005 (2007 was cancelled due to snow conditions) - the gold medals went to Switzerland and France. Virginie Faivre (SUI), the 26-year-old current half-pipe World Cup standings leader, secured the gold medal ahead of 16-year-old Megan Gunning (CAN). In the men's competition, the French team had five athletes in the finals, and won two medals. 19-year-old Kevin Rolland (FRA) delivered big airs including a double flip and 1260 (three and a half spins) to win the gold while Xavier Bertoni took the bronze. The silver medal went to Justin Dorey of Canada.
Canada was the best nation at Inawashiro 2009 by a huge margin with a total of nine medals, two of which gold, followed by Japan and the USA, each with four medals. Altogether ten nations won medals.
Chairman of the FIS Freestyle Committee Chris Robinson stated: "The organizers have set a new benchmark for the FIS Freestyle World Championships. Our sincerest thanks go to the incredibly hard-working team in Inawashiro for staging outstanding events that provided Freestyle Skiing with excellent promotion."
After seven weeks of the FIS World Ski Championships 2009 in the Olympic disciplines, they concluded last weekend in Inawashiro (JPN) with the Freestyle Skiing events. Starting with the first-ever FIS Snowboard World Championships in Asia, in Sungwoo, Gangwon Province (KOR) in January, this winter has seen one highlight after another. After Val d'IsŠre (FRA) staged marvelous, memorable FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in early February, the busy calendar continued with the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE), the biggest sports event in the history of the independent Czech Republic.
A total of 147 medals were awarded in the 49 title events at the four FIS World Championships. The most medals were won by Austria which heads the winter's medals table with 17 medals, of which eight were gold, six silver and three bronze. Austria is followed by the USA with a total of 14 medals (8/1/5) and Norway, the 2007 table leader, with 15 (7/4/4). As two years ago, Switzerland is in 4th place, this time with a total of 13 medals (5/4/4), followed by Canada in 5th with 14 medals (4/5/5) and Japan in 6th with 9 (4/2/1). Finland in 7th place collected 13 medals, while Germany and France each recorded 12 medals.
A total of 21 nations, compared with 18 in 2007, won medals in this year's FIS World Championships. For the complete 2009 medals table, please click here. For the 2007 version, click here
|Sepp Gerber (SUI)|
Photo: Swiss Ski
The FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships 2009 concluded at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) on Friday with the men's slalom and ladies' downhill races. Originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, the ladies' downhill was moved forward due to a poor weather forecast for the weekend.
Among the many shining young talents, many of whom have already made a name at FIS World Cup level, the stars of Garmisch-Partenkirchen included Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg with two gold medals (giant slalom and super-G) and Italy's Dominik Paris who collected a silver (downhill) and two bronze medals (super-G and combined). Austria's Marcel Hirscher, one of the favorites and a three-time junior world champion in the last two years, increased his medal collection with his first medal in a speed event (silver in super-G) and a bronze in giant slalom. The gold medals in the men's technical events went to Jesper Riis-Johannessen of Norway and Alexis Pinturault of France. Pinturault is the first Frenchman ever to win giant slalom gold in the Juniors while Marine Gauthier is the first French female to capture gold in the Junior ladies' downhill since the victory of M‚lanie Suchet in 1994. The combined titles went to Italy's Federica Brignone and Switzerland's Sepp Gerber both of whom delivered highly consistent results in the three events (SL, GS and DH) added together.
This year, the medals table was led by Italy with a total of 7 medals (2 gold/2 silver/3 bronze), followed by France, Germany and Switzerland each with two gold medals. Austria won the most medals with ten, including only one gold, but with five silver medals and four bronze medals. Altogether nine nations won medals.
The coveted Marc-Hodler-Trophy, named after the long-time former FIS President, for which the best two racers from each nation score points, was again won by Austria with 107 points. Italy took 2nd with 92 points, followed by France (64 points), USA (53) and Germany in 5th (52 points).
|Half-pipe under sunny skies|
Photo: Peter Krogoll
Photo: Peter Krogoll
The FIS Junior Snowboard World Championships 2009 were held last week in the region of Nagano (JPN), with competitions held at three different resorts; snowboard cross at Ryuoo Ski Park while the parallel events took place at the Kitashiga Yomase Ski area and half-pipe at the Kitashiga Takaifuji Ski area. Thanks to the great efforts by the organizing team, all the competitions were carried out despite extremely variable weather conditions. Before the beginning of the championships, the shaping of the snowboard cross course was challenged by very warm weather and heavy rain and then before the day of the first SBX training the course was covered by 15 cm of fresh snow. The SBX qualification was carried out in good conditions whilst the day of the finals experienced very thick fog which forced its cancellation and rescheduling to next competition day. The title competitions finally got underway a day late with both the snowboard cross and the parallel giant slalom races on the same day. This was no easy feat since the two events each were held at different resorts and required significant manpower as well as transfer of equipment. The parallel slalom races then were held in quite humid conditions before the half-pipe events enjoyed cold weather and beautiful sunshine..
"We were able to hold the competitions in fair conditions despite the challenging weather. Compliments to the Nagano organizing committee! The half-pipe was very well-shaped and received a lot of praise. Our thanks belong also to the teams that were very patient and cooperative in helping the event run smoothly. And we are especially happy to see so many nations on the podium!" commented Peter Krogoll, FIS coordinator at the event.
Altogether, 14 nations won medals, eight of them gold. The most medals went to Austria with five. Austria also won the Marc-Hodler-Trophy with 70 points ahead of the USA and Switzerland. Two young riders returned home with two medals: 16-year-old Julia Zogg of Switzerland and Sabine Sch”ffmann of Austria each won gold and silver (Zogg) respectively bronze (Sch”ffmann) in the two parallel events.. The French ladies dominated the SBX placing four riders in the top six while the Bulgarian men took a double victory in the men's PGS. In the ladies' half-pipe China captured two medals, showing that the country's current World Cup stars can expect some domestic competition shortly.
|Alexander Legkov (RUS)|
|Takanobu Okabe (JPN)|
Photo: Horst Nilgen
After the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup continued with the traditional Lahti Ski Games (FIN). In the ladies' sprint competition, the winner was Petra Majdic (SLO) for the 6th time this season. Unfortunately sick during Liberec 2009, she has already secured her 2nd consecutive sprint title and has now also claimed the lead in the overall World Cup. In the men's competition, three-time world champion Petter Nothug (NOR) again demonstrated his legendary acceleration capacity as he won the sprint ahead of sprint world champion Ola Vigen Hattestad who now stands certain as the sprint World Cup winner.
In the distance race, double world champion Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) impressed again, taking her fourth World Cup victory this season. In the overall World Cup ranking, Kowalczyk is now the new runner behind Majdic. Three-time world champion Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) missed her home World Cups due to illness and fell to 3rd place in the overall standings. In the men's 15km competition, Russian Alexander Legkov won ahead of Pietro Piller Cottrer from Italy. For Legkov it was his first victory of the season and comes after he fell in the pursuit competition in Liberec, missing a seemingly certain medal. In the men's overall World Cup, Swiss Dario Cologna has now lost all but 89 points of his advantage over Petter Northug who remains in excellent shape with two more weeks of the Cross-Country World Cup.
In Ski Jumping, the Nordic Tournament represents one of the main late season highlights, awarding an additional Euro 50'000 in prize money. After two competitions in Lahti and Kuopio, the Tournament standings are led by Simon Ammann of Switzerland. While the season dominator Gregor Schlierenzauer won the individual competition in Lahti, his 11th season win˙- along with the team competition with Team Austria - he recorded his season worst rank in the second competition in Kuopio in 10th. Ammann is now 200 points behind Schlierenzauer as four individual events remain on the calendar. In Kuopio, Japan's 38-year-old Takanobu Okabe became the oldest Ski jumping World Cup winner in history. It was his fifth career win and the first win in 11 years!
|Nordic Combined leader trio|
|Michael Walchhofer (AUT) |
Photo: Agence Zoom
With two competitions to go, it isn't yet decided who will lift the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup trophy in Vikersund (NOR) this weekend. In Lahti, world champion Bill Demong (USA) celebrated his seventh World Cup victory with Anssi Koivuranta (FIN) in second; Jason Lamy-Chappuis in 3rd and challenger for the World Cup, Magnus Moan (NOR) in fourth. One day later, Moan made up a 1:51 minute disadvantage and won the race against Anssi Koivuranta in a photo finish. At the moment, Koivuranta leads the overall World Cup rankings by 59 points over Moan. As a victory awards 100 points everything is still possible and the pressure is on!
In Alpine Skiing, the last World Cup events before the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Finals, held in Ofterschwang (GER) and Kvitfjell (NOR), only brought the decision in ladies' slalom where the 5th place was enough for Germany's slalom world champion Maria Riesch to secure the small crystal globe in the slalom World Cup. Overall World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn (USA), leading after the first slalom run, failed to finish and postponed the decision for the overall World Cup to the first event in Are (SWE), where she took a clear victory in the downhill race on Wednesday. With that Vonn became the only American female to clinch to consecutive overall World Cup titles, while sharing the record for two consecutive downhill titles with Picabo Street.
The men's downhill title went to Michael Walchhofer (AUT) over teammate Klaus Kroell although Walchhofer did not finish the Are downhill. The race for the men's overall title remains open after the Kvitfjell super-G had to be cancelled. Thanks to his good showing in Kvitfjell and downhill win in Are, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal now leads the overall standings, while Benjamin Raich (AUT) trails by 72 points and Didier Cuche by 86. Ivica Kostelic (CRO) is also still in the game, just 6 points behind Cuche.
Claiming his second consecutive win in Moscow, Stefan Gimpl (AUT) underlined why he won his third big air World Cup title. In front of approximately 20,000 spectators on Moscow State University grounds, Gimpl delivered the best airs and most consistent tricks to relegate Thomas Franc (SUI) and Marko Grilc (SLO) to second and third ranks, respectively. With his second consecutive podium, the Slovenian wrapped up the season as Gimpl's runner-up in the big air World Cup ranking edging Finland's Peetu Piiroinen to third place.
|Anette Sagen (NOR)|
The ladies` FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping season concluded in Sapporo (JPN) last weekend. Due to inclement weather, the last two competitions were both held on Saturday. In the morning competition, the World Championship bronze medalist Anette Sagen (NOR) continued her winning ways from Zao (JPN) where she won both competitions. In the afternoon, Germany's Jenna Mohr took the honors. In both competitions, the 2nd and 3rd place went to Ulrike Graessler from Germany ahead of Austria's Daniela Iraschko.
The overall 2008/2009 Continental Cup victory went to Anette Sagen (1091 points). It was already her fifth triumph in a row. Daniela Iraschko (AUT) finished 2nd, ahead of Ulrike Graessler in 3rd, 159 and 164 points behind, respectively. World champion Lindsey Van (USA) took 4th, with 882 points. A total of 87 ladies scored Continental Cup points this season.
|Engadin Ski Marathon |
The last stage of the ten-race FIS Marathon Cup (FMC), the Birkebeinerrennet (NOR), is scheduled for 21st March. Even so, the 2008/2009 FMC champions are already confirmed: Swede Jenny Hansson (458 points) will top the ladies' ranking despite taking only 15th in the 41st Engadin Ski Marathon last weekend. With victories at the Jizersk Pades tka (CZE) and the K”nig Ludwig Lauf (GER) along with three 2nd place finishes (La Sgambeda, Marcialong and Vasaloppet), she is already 178 points ahead of runner-up Sandra Hansson (also SWE), the ladies' Vasaloppet champion.
In the men's ranking, Marco Cattaneo (ITA) has collected 524 points in eight of the nine events so far and will win the men's ranking. Swede Jerry Ahrlin, the 2009 Marcialonga champion, is in 2nd place, 120 points behind Cattaneo and with 100 points awarded to the winner, cannot catch Cattaneo even by winning Birkebeinerennet. Stanislav Rezac (288 points, CZE) in 3rd position is currently just 5 points ahead of the Vasaloppet winner Daniel Tynell (SWE). Fabio Santus, last weekend's winner in the Engadin, is in 11th position overall. The overall competition distance in all ten FMC popular races amounts to more than 550 km though participation in all races is not required or necessary to be classified in the FIS Marathon Cup standings.
The World Criterium Master in Alpine Skiing is underway in Piancavallo (ITA) from 9th-13th March 2009. Some 550 skiers from 23 nations will be competing for the world titles in the various master's age classes in the mountains of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Ernst Berger of Switzerland is the oldest skier racing, 89 years of age.
About 30 skiers at the start bring past World Cup experience to the event whose special guest is the former cross-country Olympic champion Gabriella Paruzzi. For the World Criterium, the 2009 event represents a return to Italy after the 2007 edition was held in Abetone. Piancavallo also organized the Winter Universiade in 2003, and just recently European Cup races for the men. For results and more information visit fismaster.senzaconfini.org ˙
The FIS Doping Panel chaired by Justice Patrick Smith has decided to impose an additional sanction of 12 months on athlete Ondrej Horyna (CZE). The Panel finds that the athlete has committed an anti-doping rule violation contrary to Article 10.9 of the FIS Anti-Doping Rules (Commencement of Ineligibility Period). This additional sanction of 12 months is supplementary to the sanction earlier imposed by the Arbitration Commission of the Czech Olympic Committee and makes the athlete ineligible to compete until 1st April 2010. The Panel stated that the athlete was not allowed to train together with the national team during a training camp, use the same courses or live in the same hotel during his period of ineligibility.
Furthermore, the FIS Doping Panel finds that the National Ski Association of the Czech Republic has violated articles 14.1 (Incorporation of FIS Anti-Doping Rules in NSA rules) and 14.5 (Recognition of Decisions by FIS and National Ski Associations) of the FIS Anti-Doping Rules, since it did not undertake the necessary steps in order to stop the athlete from training with the national team. As a result, the Czech National Ski Association was fined CHF 10'000.
FIS is hosting its first-ever World Cup Organizers' Seminar with all FIS Olympic˙disciplines together in conjunction with the FIS Calendar Conference which is scheduled in Cavtat-Dubrovnik from 20th - 24th May 2009. The goal of the two-day seminar is to enable experience sharing and information exchange among the organizers across the six Olympic disciplines. The invited speakers will also seek to provide the attendees with new ideas and inspiration to take their event to the next level. The program will focus on general topics on the first day and be more discipline specific on the second.
If your World Cup organizing committee has not received an invitation, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Fussek at email@example.com. The registration closes on 15th April 2009.