News from the World of Skiing 

  Lindsey Vonn nominated for Laureus top honor ... more

  10th edition of FIS Carving Cup sees three champions ... more

  Collaboration between IFs and NADOs in focus at WADA Symposium ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Liberec 2009 shares its lessons learned with Oslo 2011 ... more

  Peruvian athletes dream of Vancouver ... more

  Reminder: Tell us what you think about the FIS Newsflash ... more


 Member News 

  Juha Viertola new in charge of the Finnish Ski Association .... more


 In Depth 

  Season Review Freestyle and Snowboarding

With Joe Fitzgerald and Marcel Looze ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Lindsey Vonn nominated for Laureus top honor
Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Laureus World Sports Award

Two-time Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup overall champion and double 2009 world champion Lindsey Vonn (USA) has been nominated as World Sportswoman of the Year for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards.

Each year, the Laureus World Sports Academy honors the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports. Journalists from around the world generate athlete nominations with the eventual winners selected by a 46-member panel comprised of living sports legends.

Vonn's nomination stems from a record season where she made international ski racing history with two gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'IsŠre (FRA) and her second consecutive World Cup overall title. In addition she clinched the World Cup downhill title for the second straight season. With 22 World Cup victories, Vonn is recognized as the most successful female in American ski racing.

The awards will be presented individually at a series of presentations throughout May and June. Also nominated in the World Sportswoman of the Year category is Venus Williams (America, Tennis), Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia, Athletics), Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia, Athletics), Lorena Ochoa (Mexico, Golf) and Stephanie Rice (Australia, Swimming). The three previous award winners are Justine Henin (Belgium, Tennis, 2008), Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia, Athletes, 2007) and Janica Kostelic (Croatia, Skiing, 2006). For a complete list of current Laureus nominees, visit www.laureus.com.

Contributed by USSA

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10th edition of FIS Carving Cup sees three champions
2009 carving champions
Photo: www.carvingcup.com
Show carving in Zakopane
Photo: www..carvingcup.com

Thomas Bergamelli is the men's winner of the 10th edition of the FIS Carving Cup. On the ladies' side, there were two winners on the podium after six events: Alessandra Merlin and Melanie Buergener both of whom collected three victories and three second places. The season opened well for Melanie, and ended so for Alessandra. Altogether, 184 athletes from 10 nations participated. 41% of the athletes are between 16 and 21 years old, which is why a special Under 21 ranking was introduced.

The season began in January in Mt. Bondone, and then moved to Bardonecchia (both ITA). The Colomion revealed itself to be perfect terrain for a carving competition, thanks to a short, steep track. The season's championships were held in San Martino di Castrozza which saw gold medals awarded to Gianluca Grigoletto and Alessandra Merlin. Nine nations were at the start.

Zakopane (POL) hosted an unforgettable event: Besides the regular race, the ten top athletes competed in a show race on the outrun of the ski jump. About 20.000 persons saw the one-buoy-competitions won by Giancarlo Bergamelli and Marta Berezik. In Sauze d'Oulx, heavy fog made it impossible to compete. So before the big season final, the carving circus continued to France for a night race in Auron, just an hour from Nice. During the final in Roccaraso, not far away from L'Aquila which was destroyed in the recent earthquake, Thomas Bergamelli gained his first crystal trophy after a thrilling semi-final. He already seemed to have missed the final when Swiss Simon Baer made a mistake opening the door to Bergamelli to guard his 65 point advantage in the Carving Cup rankings.

For next season, some changes are pending. The most important is the planned birth of a second event, named "Speed Carving", whilst the traditional event will be called "Slalom Carving". The speed version sees just one buoy for each turn, will be much faster and will probably allow the use of poles. The idea will be presented at the FIS Calendar Conference in Dubrovnik and after some summer-.time tests, the new rules would be submitted for confirmation in the autumn. This new event should attract new athletes to carving as the FIS Carving Cup continues to work towards gaining World Cup status.

Contributed by Marco Di Marco

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Collaboration between IFs and NADOs in focus at WADA Symposium

WADA staged its 2009 Anti-Doping Organization Symposium in Lausanne from 21st - 22nd April. The symposium is one of the main events for the different anti-doping organizations to meet and share their experiences from the practical and administrative levels of the fight against doping in sport. The presentations during the 1 « day symposium featured many case studies presented by national anti-doping organizations and different international federations. Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General, presented on the topic of "The Independent Observer Report from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008: Lessons Learned" which allowed her to provide an overview of the IO findings from the Beijing Games and examine what lessons may be transferable to other anti-doping organizations attempting to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their own programs.

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 Inside FIS 

Liberec 2009 shares its lessons learned with Oslo 2011
Oslo 2011 coordination group
Photo: Oslo 2011

Key members of the Liberec 2009 organizing committee had an opportunity to share their experiences from the past two years with the team preparing the 2011 championships in Oslo (NOR) during the Official Debrief of the FIS Nordic Word Ski Championships 2009 held on Monday. The meeting participants included representatives of the Oslo 2011 organizing committee, the Norwegian Ski Federation, Skiforening, FIS, its television and marketing partners EBU and APF, and organizers of the 2013 FIS championships in Val di Fiemme (ITA). The 2009 Liberec delegation presented a comprehensive and frank analysis of the critical areas of their event organization. Detailing their key success factors and several recommendations, the team elaborated extensively on their lessons learned, provided feedback and shared many actionable ideas for the 2011 organizers. It was a long and highly informative session that will undoubtedly be helpful for Oslo 2011 which is coming up in just 22 months.

Following a site inspection and a presentation by the City of Oslo on the status of the reconstruction of the Holmenkollen Ski Stadium and the host broadcaster NRK's report on Monday afternoon, the spring coordination group meeting for the 2011 championships was held on Tuesday. The review of the preparations included status reports from all main departments under the leadership of Asne Havnelid. The current focus of the Oslo 2011 organizing committee are details of logistical planning in areas such as accommodation, accreditation and transportation, and most importantly, close cooperation with the City of Oslo that is in charge of the rebuilding of the venues and also in the process of building a new train line directly into Holmenkollen. Additionally, local partner search is in progress under the guidance of the EBU. As a recent highlight, the Oslo 2011 team has recently moved its offices into the so-called WM pavilion, a special promotional, which is located at the 7th of June Square (7. Juni plassen) in the Oslo city center and will also serve as an information office for the public.

Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General, summarized: "After the conclusion of the successful championships in Liberec, this spring's coordination group meeting in Oslo signifies the change from the planning and strategy phase of the Oslo 2011 organizing committee's life to the operational one. With all members of the management team now in place, it is fully equipped to do so in the just over 10 months until the FIS World Cup events in March 2010 which will be the crucial championship test in the new Holmenkollen venue, currently under construction."

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Peruvian athletes dream of Vancouver
Sandro Garcia & President Kasper

Sandro Garcia Egoavil, President of the Peruvian Winter Sports Federation, visited the FIS offices in Oberhofen last week together with Sophie Bordet, international coordinator, and Gianni Barbetta, who is newly in charge of technical services for the Peruvian Alpine team. The focus of the discussions with FIS President Gian Franco Kasper was ensuring the best possible conditions for the preparation of the Peruvian athletes aiming to qualify for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (CAN) - which would signify the first time that Peru would ever have participated in the Winter Games - and the plans for the long-term development of snow sports in Peru through an education and training program for local leaders. The current priority of the Peruvian plans lies on Alpine and Cross-Country Skiing as well as Snowboarding and on introducing children and young people to snow sports. Opportunities for cooperation with the established programs in Brazil, Chile and Argentina were also highlighted as well as potential benefits from coordination of activities and common projects with neighboring Bolivia.

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Reminder: Tell us what you think about the FIS Newsflash

Your feedback is important to us and will help us develop the FIS Newsflash! If you have not told us what you think about it, please click here to take a brief FIS Newsflash Reader Survey - it will take you less than five minutes to complete. Please respond by 30th April: all survey participants will be included in a draw to win a framed Audi FIS Alpine World Cup leader's jersey signed by this season's men's giant slalom World Cup winners: Didier Cuche, Benjamin Raich and Ted Ligety.

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 Member News 

Juha Viertola new in charge of the Finnish Ski Association
Juha Viertola
Photo: SLU

The Finnish Ski Association (FSA) has named Juha Viertola as its new Chief of Operations. Viertola (44) is currently working for the Finnish Sports Federation, the umbrella organization for Finnish sports, as Director of Sports Policy. Licentiate in Law by education, Viertola previously served as secretary general of the Finnish Anti Doping Organization. He will commence in his new position in May 2009.

Viertola was unanimously elected by the board of the Finnish Ski Association from among several candidates on 17th April. Viertola will be charged with leading the entity following the separation of Alpine and Freestyle Skiing into an independent Ski Sports Finland organization at the beginning of the year and a dramatic reorganization within the Nordic departments which led to the reduction of several positions including that of Managing Director Jari Piirainen. The Finnish Snowboard Association, founded in 1988, has always operated independently of the FSA which represents it within FIS. The Finnish Ski Association will remain the sole Finnish member of FIS.

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 In Depth 

Season Review Freestyle and Snowboarding
Joseph T. Fitzgerald

With Joe Fitzgerald and Marcel Looze

Joseph T.˙Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator, and Marcel Looze, FIS Race Director Snowboard, provided their thoughts on the 2008/2009 season in the FIS Freestyle and LG Snowboard FIS World Cups.

FIS Newsflash: What was your overall impression?

Joe Fitzgerald: "It was a long season with many competitions, new competitors, and much travelling for the teams and officials. In Freestyle, we seek to develop the sport globally and consequently have a diverse group of athletes on the podium. We again set new records for the number of participants (over 500 with 181 ladies / 324 men), entries (some 2350 starts) and number of nations (34 nations from 5 continents). Overall this season served as positive promotion for the expansion of skiing in the world.

The Freestyle Committee's goal of `adding value' to the TV production standards provided some positive results. The cooperation with Infront and the different TV producers allowed for higher quality TV productions and resulted in an improved status in the marketplace.

The work to develop four new organizers, in Central Europe and Scandinavia, bore fruit and nicely complemented the stable group of well experienced organizers in Japan, China, Russia and North America."

Marcel Looze: "Overall it has been a really good season. We have been able to work towards our three goals: increasing value for the riders, sponsors and spectators.
On the sports side, we have made further improvements on event quality as the local organizers and National Associations continued to deliver excellent work. A big thank you belongs to the local teams for putting in enormous efforts to stage the events.

The season was characterized by well-organized competitions including those carried out by the newcomers Chapelco , London, Grenoble and Sudelfeld. The 2009 Snowboard World Championships in Gangwon were the first ones held in Asia and featured exciting competitions. It was also the first time that the 2011 World Championship hosts in La Molina organized SBX and half-pipe events. With some adjustments to the SBX course it looks very promising for 2011. And Stoneham, host of the 2013 World Championships, delivered an excellent four event set-up for the first time this season. Both of these future Championship organizers are well on their way which tunes us very positively..

On the sponsor front, it worked well with our new title sponsor LG Electronics. They received some excellent exposure and great value for their investment. In terms of communication, especially TV, we again increased both the total hours of coverage and audience reach. In fact, since 06/07 we have increased our coverage by 50% in hours and have opened up some of the main European markets (Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland). Adding it all together, it was a good season."

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

Joe Fitzgerald: "Witnessing the emergence of national champions is the most rewarding aspect of the season. The success of local athletes makes it all worthwhile for the home audience and organizer. This happened for example in the Freestyle World Championships in Inawashiro with the two gold medals by Aiko Uemura (JPN); the ski cross victory at Branaes by Lars Lewen (SWE), and the Canadian domination at the ski cross Olympic test events in Cypress, let alone the wins by Ophelie David (FRA) and Kevin Rolland (FRA) at the finals in La Plagne (FRA).

The 2009 Inawashiro FIS World Championships were also very special, our biggest ever. They were very well organized and set a new record in attendance (36 nations, up 6 from 2007) and entries (258, up 62 from 2007).

After seven seasons, the Freestyle Ski Cross FIS World Cup has matured into a very competitive event series. Half-pipe skiing also took a big step forward this season with all of the competitions having excellent technical standards which allowed for great performances.

The finals in the different events provided a great conclusion all around: the aerial final in Moscow was attended by 35,000 Muscovites who saw a great night time air show. In La Plagne, we had great spring weather and saw it all come down to the decisive final runs in moguls, half pipe and ski cross competitions."

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Marcel Looze

Marcel Looze: "Clearly one of the main season highlights was the fact that both the overall and parallel crystal globes were only decided in the very last race of the season at the Finals in Valmalenco (ITA). This delivered athletic excitement never seen before.

Another highlight was the number of spectators who attended our events. This applies especially to our big air city events which were really spectacular starting with our European outdoor season opening in London, followed by Stockholm, Grenoble and Moscow.

An equally important highlight is the growth in our TV broadcasting figures which makes us more attractive to new sponsors and allows us to continue to improve the quality of our events."

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

Joe Fitzgerald: "We are experiencing a growth phase and certain systems need to be strengthened to meet these increasing demands. Officials training, course and slope preparation are key development areas. Course preparation principles and work by the organizers needs to be well-planned and carried out in advance of the competitions to ensure everything is set and prepared for the live TV situations.

The growth in entry numbers makes it difficult to ensure the high quality of the competitions That is why the total number of entries needs to be reduced by 15 to 20%. Ski cross will make it Olympic d‚but and there a few rules and regulations which need adjustment in order to make sure this event is totally ready for `prime time'."

Marcel Looze: "We have to focus on the preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. There are some challenges we have to overcome especially in course preparation at the venue, Cypress Mountain. The specific challenge is the competition schedule which provides very limited time between the SBX, ski cross and PGS competitions, all held on the very same course. I will visit Vancouver in June to discuss the details.

Otherwise we will stay the course and continue to focus on improving the quality of our events, on attracting additional sponsors and improving our communications to reach our main target group, the 15-35 year old."

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