|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Lindsey Vonn (USA) |
Photo: Agence Zoom
The winners of eight of the twelve crystal globes were unknown as the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Finals commenced in Are (SWE) last Wednesday. Besides the super combined globes, which went to Anja Prson (SWE) and Carlo Janka (SUI), just Lindsey Vonn (USA) had confirmed her second consecutive downhill title while Maria Riesch (GER) had the ladies' slalom one secured before the last competitions of the season in Sweden.
Winning both the final downhill and super-G, Vonn increased her FIS Alpine World Cup globe collection to a total of five: a second consecutive large globe for the overall title, along with two small ones for downhill and super-G. In so doing, Vonn became the first US female to win two consecutive overall World Cup titles, as well as the first one to win the super-G cup along with a sleuth of other records she set during her truly magical season.
The men's downhill title went to Michael Walchhofer (AUT), his third one, and in fact the only individual globe the Alpine powerhouse Austria collected this season. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) won the men's super-G title beating Are race winner Werner Heel (ITA) by 36 points. Hermann Maier (AUT), the points leader before the finals, failed to score in the last race and ended up fourth in the season rankings.
In the final men's giant slalom, Benjamin Raich (AUT) took his third season win in GS and rose to just two points behind overall leader Svindal before the final event, a slalom. Didier Cuche (SUI), the most consistent GS racer all season, earned the small crystal globe to join his two downhill titles. While most would have bet on veteran Raich to finish ahead of Svindal in the slalom and thereby become the 2009 overall World Cup champion, he too showed nerves and straddled a gate some 40 seconds into his first run. As a result, Svindal became the season's overall champion with the closest margin (2 points) and the lowest overall point total (1009) ever seen in the history of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. Cuche finished third overall, for the third time in a row, ahead of Ivica Kostelic (CRO). Mario Matt (AUT) picked up the season's last slalom win while France's Jean-Baptiste Grange came 3rd in the Are race and made sure to collect the slalom season trophy this time, after leading since the opening event at Levi (FIN).
|Didier Cuche (SUI)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
| Tanja Poutiainen (FIN)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
In the ladies' technical events, Sandrine Aubert (FRA) won the final slalom, her second consecutive victory. One of the most dramatic races was the ladies giant slalom, which saw Finland's Tanja Poutiainen attack until the end to win her second giant slalom trophy ahead of favorite Kathrin Zettel (AUT) who finished only 8th on Saturday. Tina Maze (SLO) scored the season's final GS victory with an impressive margin of 1.12 seconds.
On Sunday, the season's sole Nations' Team Event saw Italy and Austria finish equal on points after 4 super-G and 4 slalom runs, but the Italians clinched first place thanks to the number of wins (3 to 2). That did not, however, prevent Austria from taking its 20th consecutive Nations' Cup win.
Altogether, 14 nations made it on the podium during the 2008/09 season, 13 of them on the very top. The most wins were collected by Austria (18) followed by Switzerland with 12 and both the USA and Italy with 10. In terms of individual wins, Lindsey Vonn recorded a remarkable nine season victories, ahead of Maria Riesch with five. On the men's side, Benni Raich had four while Aksel Lund Svindal ended up with three season wins.
For the ski brands, Atomic and Rossignol delivered a close duel until the end, finishing ahead of Head, Voelkl and Fischer. For details, click here
Audi FIS Alpine World Cup 2008/2009 champions
Overall ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Overall men: Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)
Slalom ladies: Maria Riesch (GER)
Slalom men: Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)
Giant slalom ladies: Tanja Poutiainen (FIN)
Giant slalom men: Didier Cuche (SUI)
Super-G ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Super-G men: Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)
Downhill ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Downhill men: Michael Walchhofer (AUT)
Super combined ladies: Anja Prson (SUI)
Super combined men: Carlo Janka (SUI)
Nations' Cup: Austria
|Lindsey Vonn (USA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
It probably comes as no surprise that two-time World Cup overall champion, Lindsey Vonn is also sitting comfortably on top of the largest pile of prize money at the end of the 2009 Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season. With her tour-best nine victories through 34 races she made CHF 468 520. Good friend, German Maria Riesch came in second with CHF 373 000. Vonn does not only ski on men's skis but also made almost twice as much as her leading male counterpart, slalom specialist Jean-Baptiste Grange of France who netted CHF 277 364, but finished only 5th in the overall World Cup standings. Austria's Benjamin Raich was second after winning four of 36 races to the tune of CHF 237 891. Overall World Cup title holder, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal was third, earning 233 878 Swiss francs.
Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2008/09, Prize Money in CHF
1. Lindsey Vonn (USA) 468 520
2. Maria Riesch (GER) 373 000
3. Kathrin Zettel (AUT) 256 560
4. Anja Prson (SWE) 204 525
5. Tanja Poutiainen (FIN) 196 900
6. Tina Maze (SLO) 176 500
7. Fabienne Suter (SUI) 167 250
8. Nadia Fanchini (ITA) 141 500
9. Andrea Fischbacher (AUT) 113 406
10. Sarka Zahrobska (CZE) 107 000
1. Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA) 277 364
2. Benjamin Raich (AUT) 237 891
3. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 233 878
4. Ivica Kostelic (CRO) 213 815
5. Julien Lizeroux (FRA) 209 421
6. Didier Defago (SUI) 197 613
7. Didier Cuche (SUI) 184 525
8. Klaus Krll (AUT) 175 050
9. Michael Walchhofer (AUT) 165 075
10. Reinfried Herbst (AUT) 120 750
|Anssi Koivuranta (FIN) |
|One of the season's best jumpers|
The DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season was marked by the introduction of a new competition format. The discipline went through a complete rule revision during last summer and presented an easy-to-understand competition mode for the 2008/2009 season consisting of a single jump and a 10km cross-country race.
From the beginning of the season, Anssi Koivuranta (FIN) and Magnus H. Moan (NOR) delivered an exciting duel for the title of the best combined athlete. Winning his career-first World Cup the first weekend on his home hill and trails at Ruka, Kuusamo (FIN), Koivuranta claimed the leader's yellow jersey which he never relinquished throughout the course of the season. On the final weekend in Vikersund (NOR), Koivuranta all but secured his World Cup victory on Saturday by scoring full 100 points while Moan finished third. On Sunday, an eighth place finish was enough for him to confirm the season title, whilst Moan finished behind him in 13th place.
Both Koivuranta and Moan took seven victories each this season, leaving just nine victories to their challengers. In the end, just 111 points separated the two, with 20-year-old Koivuranta claiming the big crystal globe largely thanks to his great performances on the hill but also to significant improvements on the track.. Magnus Moan was one of the best skiers throughout the season. Behind the duo, Bill Demong from the strong US team which took three gold medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec (CZE), amassed five wins and finished third in the overall ranking ahead of Germany's Bjoern Kircheisen.
In the Nations' Cup, Germany won the trophy narrowly (56 points) ahead of Norway. Altogether, eight nations made it on the Nordic Combined podium this season, with five claiming the top spot at least once.
DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup 2008/2009 champions
Overall World Cup: Anssi Koivuranta (FIN)
Nations' Cup: Germany
|Petter Northug (NOR)|
|Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT)|
Another four FIS World Cup series will come to an end this week: the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup is in Sweden for the four-part mini-Tour series, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup will conclude its season traditionally in Planica (SLO), the Freestyle FIS World Cup sees its season finals in La Plagne whilst the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup returns to Valmalenco (ITA) for second finals in a row.
In Cross-Country, both overall titles are still up for grabs since a maximum of 400 points can be won at the finals. In the ladies' ranking, Petra Majdic (SLO) currently leads by 91 points ahead of Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland, who is 202 points behind. Thanks to finishing 2nd behind Majdic in the 30km race in Trondheim (NOR) on Saturday, Kowalczyk also confirmed victory in the distance World Cup. Majdic secured her second sprint globe already in mid-February and with her win in Trondheim on Thursday, has so far collected seven sprint and total of eight victories this season.
In the men's overall rankings, the 2009 Tour de Ski winner Dario Cologna (SUI) on Saturday had to surrender his yellow leader's bib to Norwegian Petter Northug, who won 45 World Cup points at the intermediate sprint points and finished fifth in the 50km mass start after taking 2nd in Thursday's sprint. Northug now leads Cologna by 20 points. The distance World Cup is also still undecided, with Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA)˙currently leading over Cologna by 67 points. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) has already confirmed his second consecutive sprint title.
At the world's largest Ski Flying hill in Planica (SLO) only the small crystal globe in Ski Flying remains to be decided. By recording his 12th season win - a record he currently shares with Janne Ahonen (FIN) - in Vikersund (NOR) on Sunday, Gregor Schlierenzauer has confirmed his overall World Cup victory, and that with a new point record since he already has 1938 points before the last two events. Simon Ammann (SUI) is 262 points behind in 2nd place. Schlierenzauer, who also won the Nordic Tournament 0.6 points ahead of Finn Harri Olli, currently leads the Ski Flying rankings.
|SBX opens the Valmalenco finals|
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
|Xavier Bertoni (FRA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
La Plagne (FRA) can look forward to decisions in two men's events - ski cross and half-pipe - and two ladies' events - moguls and half-pipe. Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau has already secured both the men's overall and mogul titles before the final dual mogul competition. Czech Tomas Kraus and Canadian Christopher Delbosco will compete for the title of ski cross champion in the final event of the season, while Frenchmen Xavier Bertoni and Kevin Rolland will fight out the half-pipe title on home snow.
Hannah Kearney (USA) and Jennifer Heil (CAN) both have a shot at the ladies' mogul title while several athletes could still win the ladies' half-pipe, though Swiss world champion Virginie Faivre has the best odds. Thanks to a win and 2nd place finish on the Swiss ski cross tour, Ophelie David˙(FRA)˙has secured already her 6th World Cup title back-to-back and should also collect the ladies' overall globe. The aerial titles for Steve Omischl (CAN) and Lydia Lassila (AUS) were already decided before the Worlds at Inawashiro 2009.
In Snowboard, both parallel and overall titles are still to be decided. German Amelie Kober goes into the season final with a hat-trick of wins and the possibility of catching Austrian Doris Gnther's 238-point-lead. In the overall World Cup rankings, Gnther leads 320 points over the 2009 SBX World Cup champion Lindsay Jacobellis (USA). The Austrian has an advantage however as she will start in both SBX and PGS while Jacobellis only will enter the SBX.
On the men's side, the overall title is an Austrian affair. Markus Schairer, the 2009 SBX champion and current leader in the overall standings, had surgery last weekend and will not start in Valmalenco. This gives challenger Siegfried Grabner a chance at both the overall and parallel titles. In parallel, Grabner leads over teammate Benjamin Karl who still has at least a theoretical chance of winning the title.
Both half-pipe titles will go to Asia. Half-pipe World Cup winner Ryoh Aono (JPN) has already clinched his second title while the runner up in the ladies' rankings, Shiho Nakashima (JPN), appears not to be competing in Valmalenco which secures the title for Jiayu Liu (CHN), the first Snowboard World Cup title for a Chinese rider.
|Florian Scheiber (AUT)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Karin Hackl (AUT)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
Crans-Montana (SUI) hosted the Finals in the European Cup in Alpine Skiing last week. More than 150 racers from 22 nations competed in the final events for the important personal quota places in next season's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. These are awarded to the top three of each event ranking , as well as for the overall winners who - new as from 2009/10 - will have an individual starting place but that in all events during the 2009/2010 season.
Eight competitions were held last week in excellent conditions and, for the most part, stunning weather on the legendary Piste National, which saw the ladies' World Cup tour visiting last season and will also host a ladies' super-G and slalom next March, as well as the 2011 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships.
The overall European Cup trophies both went to Austria as 21-year-old Florian Scheiber took the men's overall title while still junior-aged Karin Hackl topped the ladies' ranking. Another Austrian young talent, 20-year-old Bernard Graf trailed Scheiber by just 50 points while the young Czech Petr Zahrobsky finished third overall and also won the super-G rankings. In the ladies' overall, Swiss Nadja Kamer managed to break the strong Austrian team taking 2nd ahead of Stefanie Moser (AUT), the EC downhill champion, in third place.
The ladies' slalom title went to Marianne Maier (GER) ahead of teammate Christina Geiger. Altogether the Germans had five ladies in the top nine of the slalom rankings. Overall winner Hackl also claimed the ladies giant slalom title while Malgret Altacher (AUT) was best in SG. Swiss Jessica Puenchera won the super combined.
In the men's technical events, World Cup regulars Matthias Hargin (SWE) and Alexander Ploner (ITA) took the honors in slalom and giant slalom, respectively. In the downhill, Swiss Patrick Kueng while the 2008 junior world champion in the downhill Hagen Patscheider of Italy won the men's super combined ranking.
|Marie-Michle Gagnon (CAN)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
|Louis-Pierre Hlie (CAN)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
The Finals in the North American Cup, NorAm, in Alpine Skiing were held at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid (USA), with a very strong participant field. Many North American racers who did not qualify for World Cup Finals in Are (SWE) were racing for coveted World Cup spots and FIS point results to improve their world rank. The Nor-Am Cup is the key stepping stone for Canadian and American athletes as they prepare for World Cup and Olympic competition and the highest level ski racing series in North America.
Racing began Thursday with a men's and ladies' super-G and ladies' super combined. Another ladies' super-G was held on Friday while the men's event had to be cancelled and with that also the super combined. On the weekend, the last technical races took place, a slalom and giant slalom for both ladies and men.
Two Canadian ski racers from Qubec, Marie-Michle Gagnon and Louis-Pierre Hlie, secured the personal World Cup spots in all events for the 2009/2010 season after finishing on top of the Nor-Am Cup standings.
Gagnon, 19, finished with 784 Nor-Am Cup points, 125 points ahead of her closest competitor American Julia Ford. "I was about 70 points ahead going into [last race] so I knew I needed a good result," said Gagnon. "I am going to be doing the World Cup circuit next season and my goal will be to finish in the top 30 consistently," she added.
Hlie had wrapped up the men's Nor-Am title a while ago, finishing with 1149 points. Jeffrey Frisch, another Quebecois, placed second with a total of 754 Nor-Am points. "I'm pretty happy with the season. It has been by far the best season of my life," said 23-year-old Hlie.
In the individual event rankings, the downhill wins went to the USA for Erik Fisher and Alice McKennis who also took the ladies' super-G. The men's super-G saw Stefan Quay bring victory to Canada. Brad Spence (CAN) collected the titles in both slalom and giant slalom while Marie-Michle Gagnon was best in ladies' GS and Sterling Grant in ladies' SL. Overall winner Louis-Pierre Hlie also won the men's super combined while Julia Ford (USA) took the ladies SC title. Although Canada took 7 of the twelve titles and 16 of the 22 of the personal World Cup quota places, the United States edged Canada 7791 to 7143 in the Nor-Am Nations Cup standings.
|Rykhus (NOR) and Reymond (SUI)|
|Amelie Reymond (SUI)|
Photo: Swiss Ski
The Telemark World Cup also concluded in Bjorli (NOR) with a three-day event last weekend. Altogether the season consisted of six competition weekends in five countries. After the World Championships held in Kreischberg-Murau (AUT) the tour visited Spain in Valdezcaray before moving to its country of origin, Norway for a total of six competition days in Rjukan and Bjorli.
In the ladies competition, Swiss Amelie Reymond continued her domination and secured not only victory in the final competitions in a clear fashion but also the overall World Cup title and event titles in the three individual events: classic, sprint classic and giant slalom. In the World Cup her worst rank all season was 2nd place, and in the end she took the overall globe with a margin of 380 points over second-placed Katinka Knudsen (NOR). Sandrine Mayer of Switzerland added to the great team result with her 3rd place ranking overall. Sigrid Rykhus (NOR) who won two gold medals at the World Championships at the end of January, since then has concentrated on racing ski cross.
In the men's overall Eirik Rykhus (NOR) won the overall ranking after 15 races, 142 points ahead of Swede Mathias Wagenius. It was Rykhus's fifth overall title. Borge Sovik (NOR) finished third just 16 points ahead of young Swiss Bastien Dayer. Sovik, too, has concentrated on racing in ski cross for parts of the season and was not in a position to challenge Rykhus and Wagenius for the overall trophy. Wagenius won both the Telemark classic and giant slalom event titles while Rykhus collected the small globe in the Telemark sprint classic.
The 7th edition of SportAccord, the annual international sports convention, will be held from 23rd - 28th March 2009 in Denver (USA). The first SportAccord in North America will also include meetings of the Council and the 2009 General Assembly of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) as well as the General Assemblies of the Summer and Winter International Federation Associations (ASOIF and AIOWF) and annual meetings of the World Games and Masters Games. The IOC Executive Board will also convene in Denver.
SportAccord brings representatives from the 104 international sports federations affiliated to GAISF together with many different parties in the organization and business of sport including sponsors, agencies, architects, sports lawyers, broadcasters and other specialists to discuss the key issues facing the sports industry. Some highlights of the schedule include sessions with Andre Agassi, former #1 professional tennis player and founder of Athletes for Hope charitable foundation; Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Ted Turner, Chairman, Turner Enterprises Inc, just to mention a few of the high caliber speakers. For more details, click here.
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, who is a member of the GAISF Council representing the international winter sports federations, will be participating in the General Assemblies of GAISF and AIOWF along with the meetings of the GAISF Council as well as numerous other sessions and meetings with the Olympic Movement. He will be joined in Denver by Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General, who is the winter sports federation representative in the steering group of SportAccord.
The Ski Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is holding the 2nd FIS alpine coaches' seminar in Sarajevo from 16th-19th April 2009. Targeted at Alpine coaches from South-Eastern Europe the seminar will be organized in cooperation with the University of Sarajevo, its Faculty of Sport and the National Olympic Committee. The program is especially focused on training youngsters and the safety aspects thereof. Approximately 50 coaches are expected to attend to benefit from presentations by international lecturers with the latest know-how.
The Sarajevo 2009 coaches' seminar will be coinciding with 3rd International Symposium of New Technologies in Sport. For more information, visit here.˙The participants will also be able to visit the sites of the XIV Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo, including the mountain venues of Bjelasnica (men's Alpine Skiing), Igman (Cross-country, Biathlon, Ski Jumping) and Jahorina (ladies' Alpine Skiing). For additional details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ˙