News from the World of Skiing 

  Olympic Day: IOC turns 115 ... more

  Dramatically improved media distribution for LG Snowboard FIS World Cup ... more

  The way to Sochi 2014: Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Competition programs for 2011 World Championships ... more

  Freestyle Judges' training updated ... more


 Member News 

  DSV Charity Cup collects 9'000 Euro ... more


 In Depth 

  Introducing Members of FIS Athletes' Commission: Ryan Blais (CAN) ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Olympic Day: IOC turns 115
Olympic Day Run
Photo: Argentine NOC

It was 115 years ago that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was created on 23rd June 1894. The Olympic Day, celebrated again this year on Tuesday 23rd June, is an annual event during which the National Olympic Committees (NOC) can share the most celebrated Olympic event after the Olympic Games with their respective communities.

The Olympic Day was originally created in 1948 and in 1987, the Olympic Day Run was introduced to build a program of sporting and educational actions around this anniversary, with the objective of getting as many people as possible across the globe moving and experiencing the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

Today, under the theme "Move, learn, discover!", the NOCs are now encouraged to organize a wider range of activities such as helping people discover new sports or Olympic education seminars allowing participants to learn about the Olympic values. This year, Olympic Day was celebrated in more than 150 nations on or around 23rd June, with a wide range of sporting and cultural activities aimed to attract anywhere from 100 to 100,000 participants. The traditional Olympic Day reception also took place last week at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

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Dramatically improved media distribution for LG Snowboard FIS World Cup

Based on the detailed season analysis of the LG Snowboard World Cup 2008/09 season, the recent focus on enhanced marketing and communications has already borne fruit. Over three seasons, the number of competitions produced for live TV coverage has doubled. The live broadcast duration in 38 countries now transmitting has tripled compared to the 2005/06 season and since the previous season, it increased by 24% to 700 hours in the 2008/09 season. France, Germany, Italy and USA generated most of the event broadcasting time, while the United Kingdom and Italy generated most of the magazine broadcasting duration. There has also been a demonstrated increase in coverage in the print media and enhanced visibility on the Internet, aided by the new World Cup website at www.fissnowboardworldcup.com.

Latest research conducted by IFM Sports Marketing Surveys which carried out research on spectators at selected LG Snowboard World Cup events shows that the discipline and competitions have a very positive image. Snowboarding is seen as fun, exciting, cool, creative and exhilarating. The FIS Snowboard World Cup adds credibility to the competitions, and the World Cup events are seen as the premium competitions. 70% of event attendees were in the target age group of 16-34 years and 50% of event attendees were current snowboarders. Enjoyment of the events by the on-site spectators was very high - consistently above 4+ out of 5 which led to a high likelihood to attend again or to recommend attendance to a friend!

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The way to Sochi 2014: Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding
Aibga Ridge

Just a few days ago, Sochi 2014 - the host of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games - delivered an update on the strong recent progress it has made in preparations for Russia's first Winter Games to the Executive Board of the IOC in Lausanne (SUI), outlining the team's achievements as 1689 days remain until the start of the 2014 Games.

During the Sochi Games, to be held from 7th to 23rd February 2014, the skiing events will be staged around the village of Krasnaya Polyana, about 40 minute journey from the Olympic Park. Both the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding events are planned to be carried out to the west of the Rosa Khutor Plateau on the Aibga Ridge where a Snowboard Park and a Freestyle Center will be created. Originally, the Freestyle venue was planned at another location, but following a proposal from the FIS President, and a tecnical inspection, the Freestyle site was relocated to Aibga Ridge. This facility is scheduled to be put into operation in November 2011 for test competitions during the 2011/2012 season.

As planned for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding will share a single venue in 2014, which brings some logistical challenges but also many significant synergies. The Aibga Ridge venue will be split in two sections: One focusing on the timed events -˙snowboard cross, ski cross and parallel giant slalom - and the other one on the judged events, half-pipe, moguls and aerials. This will enable the creation of the right atmosphere for each event.

"The Aibga Ridge area offers great promise for our sport. While significant work remains to be done, the basics for an excellent future training and competition center are surely there," commented Joseph Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator. "Russia is historically one of the major Freestyle nations and with the emergence of several young talented skiers, especially in aerials, moguls and now ski cross, we are bound to have a great show at the Sochi Games. The two aerial Freestyle FIS World Cup events staged on the massive ramp on the Moscow University grounds have delivered spectacular audiences and amazing atmosphere." He added: "Young aerialist Vladimir Lebedev, bronze medalist at the 2006 Turin Olympics and holder of the honorary title of Master of Sports of Russia, was also recently named an Ambassador for Sochi 2014 and he will help promote the sport in the country."

Russia has been collecting experience with high level event organization in the FIS Snowboard World Cup. Four annual big air events have been staged on a ramp in Moscow since 2005, along with two parallel slalom events (ladies and men each) and a big air event in St. Petersburg as well as two parallel slalom events (for both genders) in Shukolovo in the last few years.

"We see great potential in the Russian market for Snowboarding and especially look forward to the first parallel slalom event on the famous ramp in Moscow in early March right after the Vancouver Games," commented Marcel Looze, FIS Snowboard Race Director. "Continuing education of competition officials and collection of top event organization experience are probably the highest priority in the next few years in the build-up to the Games."

Obviously, the building of a brand new competition venue represents a much greater challenge than extending or refurbishing an established ski area for the purposes of a major event. Little over two-and-a-half years remains to complete venues under the fast-track construction timetable. The next visit of the IOC Coordination Commission chief, ski legend Jean-Claude Killy to Sochi is scheduled for the second half of July.

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 Inside FIS 

Competition programs for 2011 World Championships

The FIS Council approved the competition programs for the 2011 FIS World Ski Championships in its last meeting in Vancouver (CAN) on 12th June 2009. These programs are now available for download from the FIS website as follows. The program for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) here; program for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 in Oslo (NOR) here; and program for the FIS Freestyle World Championships 2011 in Deer Valley (USA) here. The FIS Council will review the competition program for the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2011 in La Molina (SPA) in its autumn meeting.

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Freestyle Judges' training updated
Freestyle Proctors' training

Last weekend,˙eleven Freestyle officials from seven nations convened to re-evaluate over 100 competition runs and jumps from last season's Freestyle FIS World Cup. The three-day FIS Freestyle Judges' Proctors meeting was held in Munich (GER). The pre-meeting work made great use of the most advanced video technology - check out as an example the Dartfish TV clip entitled '''Front Flip vs. Front Flip''' here.

In cooperation with all aspects of the discipline, including input from the team coaches, different Working Groups of the Rules and Officials Sub-Committee prepared detailed material under FIS coordination. By the end of the seminar, 20 hours of material, with 80 mogul runs, 20 half-pipe runs and 50 aerial jumps had been detailed and a total of 70 gigabits of video data were produced. The material will be used for the series of annual continental judges' clinics this autumn. A level judges' clinics will be held in Jindabyne (AUS), Queenstown (NZL), Stockholm (SWE), Montreal (CAN), Roggenbeuren Bodensee (GER), Toyama (JPN) and a East European location either in Belarus or Ukraine, while some B level clinics will be held in North America, Europe and Asia. More than 350 Freestyle Judges are expected to be trained before the start of next season.

The video material will be available from www.fot.ch, or on Dartfish TV here. The Freestyle online training website is up and running now. The report from the meeting can be reviewed on the FIS Wiki here.

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 Member News 

DSV Charity Cup collects 9'000 Euro
Check for charity
Photo: DSV
Tobias Angerer
Photo: DSV

In Germany, the mid-summer weekend offered occasion for the 2009 edition of the DSV Charity Cup 2009, a 18-hole charity golf tournament. The participants in the event included many of the leading names in German skiing, from overall Cross-Country World Cup winners. Tobias Angerer and Ren‚ Sommerfeldt to Steffi B”hler and Viktoria Rebensburg and all German Ski Association head coaches. The attending celebrities from sport, politics, industry and the media included former boxing champion Sven Ottke, Karl Dopfner, board member of FC Bayern, Ralf Rangnik,from FC Hoffenheim, FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis, as well as representatives of the DSV sponsors Deutsche Bank, E.ON Ruhrgas AG, Audi, Bogner, Adidas, Wrth and Club Aldian.

Despite the rather cool summer weather good spirits dominated the atmosphere at the traditional charity event at Margarethenhof at Tegernsee, Bavaria (GER). The coveted Joska trophies for the day's best players were awarded to former ski racer Michaela Gerg-Leitner who took the ladies' overall victory and the prize for the longest drive (218 m). Former World Cup winner May Rieger topped the men's ranking and won the `Nearest to the pin' award with 68 cm.. Johannes Stehle and Max Rauffer claimed the remaining trophies.

The event delivered, with the important support of the participating sponsors, a donation of Euro 9'000 to a group entitled "Friends of the German National Ski Team" which provides educational, social and medical support for DSV athletes in dire need.

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 In Depth 

Introducing Members of FIS Athletes' Commission: Ryan Blais (CAN)
Ryan Blais (CAN)
Air Blais

Ryan Blais (CAN) is the male Freestyle Skiing representative on the FIS Athletes' Commission. He debuted on the Freestyle FIS World Cup tour in January 1999 and has 40 World Cup starts including 7 World Cup podium finishes in his palmarŠs. The Grand Prairie (AB) native is currently in training for a winning performance at his home country Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in February 2010.

FIS Newsflash: As a newly-elected member of the FIS Athletes' Commission, what are your goals in this role?

Ryan Blais: Generally speaking, I've never liked to criticize the efforts of the people in charge! I certainly didn't run for the position of Athlete Rep for this reason and I don't have a specific agenda to take forward. I simply have one major goal: Drastically increase the level of communication & transparency between FIS and the Athlete Reps and to find unique ways to actively engage FIS athletes. The creation of www.DemocraSki.com, which is a niche social network for FIS athletes, was the first step towards the realization of this goal.

FIS Newsflash: What do you hope to achieve with the creation of www.DemocraSki.com?

Ryan Blais: I wanted to create a centralized "online platform" that would aid the Athletes' Commission in self-organizing itself and engaging all FIS members. I've taken advantage of numerous new technologies, services and platforms and have heavily integrated "Social Media" features to encourage transparency and allow important messages, ideas and projects to go "viral" within the FIS community. These new tools will break down barriers that have previously resulted in athletes feeling left in the dark!

FIS Newsflash: What was your first impression from the Athletes' Commission meeting and the FIS Committee Meetings?

Ryan Blais: I had mixed feelings about the meetings in Croatia. At first I was pleased to find out that ALL 12 Athlete Reps were there, eager to get started. Once in the meeting, it became clear, however, that our Commission is really breaking new ground! There really wasn't any set structure, mandate, terms of reference or much to push us in any direction. Where do we start? What's important to the athletes and what, if anything, can we do about it? It became very clear to me: our Commission has a responsibility to define its own structure, roles, and direction. Our group must be aware that we have the opportunity to set precedence for what can and should be expected from the Athletes' Commission and how effective we can be at engaging FIS and keeping it athlete-centered.

FIS Newsflash: Besides your work for the Athletes' Commission, what will do you this summer to prepare for the Olympic season?

Ryan Blais: I am currently in full-time training (just like the other 11 Athlete Reps) and have committed myself to the fact that training must come first. For me this is very important; so much so that I suggested the following be included in the FIS Athlete Commission Mandate: "Although the role and responsibilities of the Athletes' Commission are of utmost importance to its Athlete Representatives, we recognize that in order for membership on the Athletes' Commission to remain viable in the long term it must not jeopardize an Athlete's performance potential." So, I have dedicated myself to training which currently entails long days at the "Water Ramps" in Quebec City as well as trampoline sessions and workouts in the gym. Summer on the ramps is our most intensive training phase and represents our final chance to prepare for the Olympic season. I will be training in Quebec until the beginning of October! You can see my training facility here.

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