News from the World of Skiing 

  Cross-Country: Successful Continental Cup series ... more

  8th World Conference on Sport and Environment focused on sustainable legacies ... more

  Kenyan's Cross-Country athlete Philip Boit in interview ... more

  Legends Race at Lauberhorn ... more

  FIS Speed Skiing World Cup underway ... more

 Inside FIS 

  GAISF rebranded as SportAccord ... more

  8th IOC Coordination Commission in Vancouver ... more

 Member News 

  Brazilian athletes showing great progress ... more

 In Depth 

  Season review Cross-Country with FIS Race Director Jrg Capol ... more

 News from the World of Skiing 

Cross-Country: Successful Continental Cup series
Lars Flora (USA)
Photo: Nordic Focus
OPA ladies winners
Photo: C. Niogret

The FIS Continental Cup (COC) series all over the world are some of the most important international competitions, also in Cross-Country Skiing. They allow the younger athletes to prepare themselves for the World Cup level in several ways. Nine different COC series in Cross-Country are held in the different parts of the world where Cross-Country Skiing is a top level competitive sport. Some of those during the Northern hemisphere winter period include the OPA Cup (Central Europe), the Scandinavian Cup as well as the US Super Tour.

The OPA Cup was a great success this season. 21 events at 9 different venues in five countries took place. The winners of this Cup, and therefore holders of a fixed starting place during the first World Cup period next season, are Italians Silvia Rupil and Florian Kostner.  Rupil won the OPA Cup ladies' ranking 156 points ahead of Laura Orgue (SPA) and 181 points ahead of the Swiss skier Ursina Badilatti. Kostner defended his overall victory from the season before, 6 points ahead of his teammate Fulvio Scola whilst Benoit Chauvet (FRA) finished third, 271 points behind the winner.

In the Scandinavian Cup, 5 different venues with a total of 10 competitions formed the series.  Norwegians dominated the top of the standings having seven skiers in the men's top 10, and six athletes among the top 8 on the ladies' side. Roger Aa Djupvik (NOR), the brother of the World Cup coach Morten Aa Djupvik, and Sara Svendsen (NOR) clearly won the overall rankings. The runner-up on the men's side, 83 points behind Djupvik, was his teammate Geir Ludvig Aasen Ouren whilst Jesper Modin (SWE) ranked third, 178 points behind the winner. On the ladies side, Norwegians Kristin Mürer Stemland  (2nd place) and Agnetha Asheim (3rd place) rounded out the podium.

The US SuperTour just concluded with the final competitions in Fairbanks (USA) last weekend. The winners of the series are Kristina Strandberg (SWE), who had her World Cup debut just a few weeks ago in Lahti, and Lars Flora from the USA.

The next Continental Cup series will kick off in July/August in the Southern hemisphere.

Overview of the Northern hemisphere Continental Cup series winners:
OPA:   Silvia Rupil , Florian Kostner (both ITA)
Scandinavian Cup: Sara Svendsen, Roger Aa Djupvik (both NOR)
NorAm : Daria Gaiazova , David Nighbor (both CAN)
Slavic Cup: Mariusz Michalek (POL), Kamila Rajdlova (CZE)
Eastern European Cup: Olga Mikhailova, Stanislav Volzhentsev (both RUS)
Far East Cup: Chisa Obayashi,Tomio Kanamaru (both JPN)
Balkan Cup: Kelime Cetinkaya (TUR), Paul Pepene (ROU)
US Super Tour: Kristina Strandberg (SWE), Lars Flora (USA)


8th World Conference on Sport and Environment focused on sustainable legacies

Every two years, the IOC in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program hosts a World Conference on Sport and the Environment (WCSE) that brings together the world of sport and environment to share knowledge and discuss their relationship with communities and the environment. This year's edition was held in Vancouver (CAN) from 29th-31st March with the focus on "Innovation and Inspiration" and "Harnessing the Power of Sport for Changes".

During the 8th WCSE, the IOC pledged its commitment to provide sustainable legacies by strongly supporting - as Principal Supporting Partner -  the Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit (SSET), a joint initiative by the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS) and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

Specifically designed as a "How To" guide for sports organizers, the SSET provides a practical way to create a sustainable commitment and strategy around environmental issues ranging from selection and construction of the venue to community and supply chain involvement, and from transportation and accommodation to marketing and communications. 

The WCSE was also used by the IOC to announce the first winners of the IOC Award for Sport and the Environment awarded for tremendous contributions to the implementation of outstanding practices in the field of sustainable sport and the environment. For Europe, the award was presented to the German Olympic Sports Confederation that issued the "Green champions in sport and environment - A Guide to environmentally-sound large sporting events". This publication provides guidance and examples of good practices undertaken in Germany based on the ecological impact that the different parties involved in sport have on the environment. Through this Guide, not only sports organizations but also individuals are encouraged to be champions for sport and environment. FIS Environmental Expert Erwin Lauterwasser was one of the key contributors to this guide.

Finally, during the WCSE, VANOC announced its target to neutralize up to 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the Games. To meet this target, VANOC is in advanced sponsorship negotiations with carbon offset management companies to create a unique 2010 carbon offset portfolio that will showcase climate change solutions.

Includes contribution by IOC and VANOC


Kenyan's Cross-Country athlete Philip Boit in interview
Philip Boit (KEN)
Photo: Zoom

The latest issue of the Olympic Review features an interview of 37-year-old Philip Boit from Kenya who caught the world's attention at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games at Nagano. He was Kenya's first winter Olympian and the public was mesmerized by the fact he had first strapped on a pair of skis only two years previously. Boit struggled home last in the 10km Cross-C­ountry competition and the winner, Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway, was so inspired by Boit's determination that he refused to accept his medal until Boit finished the race. The Kenyan, who has competed in three FIS Nordic World Ski Championships including in Liberec in February 2009, has no plans on hanging up his skis just yet. He is training for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Kenya isn't known for its winter sports. How did you get started in skiing?

Philip Boit: It was in February 1996 that I started, so it has been more than ten years now. At the time we were sponsored by a sportswear company which suggested that we try winter sports. I was a middle distance runner but switched sports for the Winter Games. I was the first Kenyan to compete in the Olympic Winter Games. The first time I saw snow was when I arrived in Finland to start training! My first experiences were very difficult. I couldn't handle the skis at all and when I tried to stand, I would fall over. I spent a lot of time lying in the snow, freezing cold. I was in a lot of pain and I remember thinking if this goes on forever I might quit skiing.

And now you've been to three Olympic Winter Games and are training for your fourth. How is your training going?

I have a great coach and really enjoy training. I train for about two and a half hours outside every day and alternate the style of training. For instance, today was classic style; tomorrow will be skating style. When I am in Kenya of course I have to train differently because we don't have snow. There I run and go to the gym to work on my endurance. Sometimes I walk with poles or roller­skates. At the Games in Nagano, Salt Lake City and Turin I did the sprints and the 10­km classic, and in Vancouver I will compete in the same events.

For the full interview, please access the latest issue of Olympic Review here.

Source: Olympic Solidarity


Legends Race at Lauberhorn

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the traditional Lauberhorn FIS Alpine World Cup competition, a Legends' Race took place in Wengen (SUI) last Saturday, 28th March. Former athletes such as Walter Tresch (SUI), Bojan Krizaj (SLO) and Kristian Ghedina (ITA) took part in a giant slalom competition with 31 other former podium finishers from the Lauberhorn race. Under the sun of Wengen, both participants and spectators enjoyed racing on the course next to the traditional slalom slope and cheering for the former stars.   

The fastest athlete on the giant slalom course was Gustav Oehrli but the winner, after application of bonus seconds (athletes over 40 received a tenth of a second as a bonus for each year of age), was Walter Tresch from Switzerland ahead of Reinhard Tritschler (AUT) and the fastest of the day - Gustav Oerhli. A total of 34 legends raced including the oldest competitor Martin Julen who is 81 years old.

The Legends' Race at Wengen was the kick-off for the 80th anniversary season in 2009/2010 for the organizers of the Lauberhorn race. More information and results of the race you can find here.



FIS Speed Skiing World Cup underway
Sanna Tidstrand (SWE)
Photo: Skidor

While the six Olympic disciplines in the FIS family have finished their World Cup season, the Speed skiers continue their World Cup until the middle of April. Their World Cup Final will take place in Verbier (SUI) from 20th to 23rd April. The OC of Verbier-Nendaz will carry out two World Cup competitions as they took over the cancelled event from Breuil/Cervinia (ITA).

So far five World Cup events have taken place successfully this season. The lady to beat in Verbier will be Sanna Tidstrand from Sweden who has won all five races so far. The fast lady from Sälen (SWE) is therefore in the lead of the overall World Cup standings, 30 points ahead of the world champion from Vars 2009, Karine Dubouchet (FRA). On the men's side, the dominator of the season is the three-time world champion Simone Origone from Italy. He is leading the overall ranking with 460 points. Philippe May (SUI) is currently second with 345 points while Bastien Montes (FRA) is third.


 Inside FIS 

GAISF rebranded as SportAccord

The annual General Assembly of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) concluded the 7th edition of SportAccord sports convention last weekend in Denver (USA). The first SportAccord held in North America saw the participation of more than 100 sports federations and 1'500 delegates.

A main decision taken by GAISF was to rebrand itself. From now on GAISF is to be known as Sportaccord, taking on the name of the annual convention launched by the organization six years ago. GAISF owns 45% of the company staging the event while the remainder is held by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations.

The rebranding is intended to make SportAccord better known. It comes with the adoption of a new strategy aimed at strengthening the organization, providing new services, promoting its members, the international sports federations and better leveraging the power of the united federations. Under the new vision for the future, SportAccord becomes more of a commercial venture, organizing and funding events, such as the first edition of the Martial Arts Games organized by the respective thirteen federations in Beijing in 2010, and other activities.
As part of the new strategy, an anti-doping staff position, funded partly by the IOC and WADA, is being created to support compliance with the WADA code among SportAccord's member organizations. FIS President Gian Franco Kasper is the SportAccord council member in charge of anti-doping matters and was instrumental in negotiating a "co-financing" agreement with the IOC and WADA for this purpose in the past week.

The General Assembly also voted to welcome the International Golf Federation as its newest member. IGF is one of the seven sports vying for addition to the 2016 Games.
GAISF meets again under the Sportaccord brand April 30, 2010 in Dubai where the next SportAccord convention will be held. Negotiations are underway to host the 2011 convention in London, the year before the 2012 Olympic Games in the UK capital.


8th IOC Coordination Commission in Vancouver

In only 10½ months the XXI Olympic Winter Games will take place in Vancouver (CAN). The test events for six of the seven sports on the Olympic Winter Games program were held in the last few months, with Ice Hockey to follow in August and the final preparations for the Games have started. The IOC Coordination Commission, which guides the IOC and the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games in their missions, has been meeting for the second last time in Vancouver from 30th March to 1st April. It is the Vancouver 2010 Coordination Commission's eighth visit to the city.

A key member of the ten person Coordination Commission is the FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, who is leader of the media coordination group. On the schedule of this important coordination meeting were issues including Sport Events, Ticketing, Broadcasting, Transport, Ceremonies, Medals Plaza, Medical Services and Technology as well as detailed items in the different working groups which guarantee the success of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.


 Member News 

Brazilian athletes showing great progress
Maya Harrisson (BRA)
Photo: Zoom
Isabel Clark (BRA)
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS

Two athletes from Brazil successfully competed at the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'Isère and a remarkable four athletes from the South American nation took part in the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec. Most importantly, all of them showed a great progress in their sports performances.

The just 16-year-old Maya Harrisson was the youngest competitor in her World Championships debut, finishing in 44th place in the ladies' giant slalom, whilst her teammate Jonathan Longhi took 26th place in the giant slalom qualification and was just edged out of the giant slalom final. Both athletes stayed in Europe after the World Champs and competed in different FIS competitions with the aim of qualifying for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The four Brazilian Cross-Country skiers from showed great improvements in their performances - all Brazilian records were broken in Liberec! Jaqueline Mourao, Mirlene Picin, Leandro Ribella and Helios Freitas participated in 11 races - both sprint and distance races. Mourao made the highlight result by taking 12th place in the 5 km qualification race and just missed the top ten by only a few seconds..

In the LG FIS Snowboard World Cup, Isabel Clark achieved 7th place at Sunday River (CAN) and reached the best ever ranking for a Brazilian athlete. "The seventh place of Isabel and the 360 points are a new South American record and a mark that crowns the effort of this great athlete in the direction of the Olympic qualification. This results shows that Brazilian talent coupled with a high level technical team can lead to impressive snow sports results," said Stefano Arnhold, President of the Brazilian Snow Sports Federation.

Includes contributions by the Brazilian Snow Sports Federation


 In Depth 

Season review Cross-Country with FIS Race Director Jrg Capol
Jrg Capol

FIS Newsflash: Your overall impressions of the 2008/2009 season?

Jürg Capol: We had a unique season with many beautiful competitions and lots of excitement until the last World Cup competition. The 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec were carried out in top conditions and the level of competitions was outstanding. The 3rd Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear was the best ever and we are convinced we are on the right way. The TV productions were better balanced. All our changes worked well and the sport is headed in the right direction. In total we had 16 different nations on the podium which shows that Cross-Country is a high level sport in many countries.

FIS Newsflash: What was from your perspective the highlight of the season and why?

Jürg Capol: I'm not picking out any individual performances, as I saw many of them. But the fight for the overall World Cup decision was carried out in the final races. We never had more excitement lasting until the end of the season than this year. Moreover our strategy to implement the Tour de Ski as a presentation platform for the sport is working well. The principles are easy to understand, create the right package and increase general interest in our sport.

FIS Newsflash: What needs to be reviewed for next season?

Jürg Capol: We will do a few corrections, but we will stay as defined in the long term World Cup calendar plans. We would like to implement a three-stage World Cup event in November 2009 following the Tour principle. A highlight to start the season should help increase the interest. At the same time, we would like to integrate all involved partners including the organizing committees at all FIS levels, industry, tourism etc. behind a joint marketing project. In general we should focus even more on promotion and communication to get more attention.