Special Communiqu‚ 

  Passing of Toni Sailer ... more

 News from the World of Skiing 

  White and Liu best in LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season opening ... more

  FIS Grand Prix continues in Zakopane ... more

  Graessler (GER) tops ladies' Ski Jumping summer series ... more

  Last Coordination Commission visit to Vancouver ... more

  IOC is collecting feedback on future of Olympics .... more

 Inside FIS 

  FIS launches FIS Marketing AG ... more

  FIS and Zaugg extend partnership ... more

 In Depth 

  Presenting FIS partners: Longines

Interview with Walter von K„nel ... more

 Special Communiqu‚ 

Passing of Toni Sailer
Toni Sailer
Photo: Private Collection

FIS sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Toni Sailer, a good colleague and friend to many in the FIS family, triple Olympic gold medalist, seven-time world champion and Chairman of the FIS Alpine Committee since 1993. Toni Sailer (73) passed away on Monday 25th August. The death of Toni Sailer leaves a great void in the international world of skiing.

FIS President Gian Franco Kasper stated: "Skiing has lost a true legend. In addition to Toni's unsurpassed sporting achievements, his commitment and passion for the sport has kept him at its forefront for more than 50 years, admired by generations of skiers from Austria and all over the world. One of Toni's many special qualities during his 16 years as chairman of the Alpine Committee was his ability to see the woods through the trees, in the best interest of the sport."


 News from the World of Skiing 

White and Liu best in LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season opening
Cardrona men's podium
Photo: FIS/Oliver Kraus
Cardrona superpipe
Photo: FIS/Oliver Kraus

In the first half-pipe competition of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup 2009/10 season Shaun White (USA) and Jiayu Liu (CHN) left the competition no chance. In Cardrona, New Zealand, White set the standard with his first run that scored 47.1 points which turned out to be too high for the others to match. Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland and Kazuhiro Kokubo of Japan completed the podium.

In the ladies' competition, reigning World Cup half-pipe and world champion Jiayu Liu also built the basis for her victory in her first run. The strong US team claimed the remaining podium places with Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler in 2nd and 3rd places.

The windy weather caused some havoc with the schedule. Instead of the regular schedule of semi-finals and finals, the competition was completed in finals with 18 riders. The upcoming Olympic Winter Games, now less than 6 months away, were already clearly visible in the extremely high quality of the competition. White, the 22-year-old reigning Olympic champion in the half-pipe, delivered a historic run in the 22 feet superpipe with a "Lien Air" followed by a "Backside 900", "Frontside 720", "Cab Double Cork 1080" and ending with a "Frontside 1080."

White commented: "I think that Double Corks are the future of the sport. It shouldn't be about throwing in as many spins as possible but about the style. And everyone could see today that those tricks are still hard to do." He added: "And, I still something in store. I'm always trying to stay ahead of the rest. I have more tricks which I might reveal at the national qualifiers for the Olympics."


FIS Grand Prix continues in Zakopane
Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT)
Photo: Horst Nilgen
Anders Jacobsen (NOR)
Photo: Horst Nilgen

The FIS Grand Prix in Ski Jumping continued last weekend in Zakopane (POL). The sixth individual competition saw the return of last season's dominator Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) whilst his teammate Wolfgang Loitzl, did not compete in the initial summer competitions.

In his first appearance this summer, Schlierenzauer not only won the qualification, but also the first competition on Saturday. He was followed by newcomer Johan Remen Evensen from Norway and to the delight of thousands of local fans, the Polish veteran Adam Malysz.

On Sunday, it was time for another Norwegian to climb to the top of the podium as Anders Jacobsen beat Schlierenzauer in a remarkable competition in rainy weather and celebrated his first victory this summer. Evensen showed the longest jump of the day with 137m and reappeared on the podium in 3rd place. Besides Evensen and Jacobsen, the entire Norwegian team did well in Zakopane, with Tom Hilde (8th) and Bjoern Einar Romoeren (9th) in the top 10 on Saturday and Hilde in 4th on Sunday.

After a successful return to competition, Schlierenzauer commented: "My jumps are not perfect yet. I will not go to Japan, but will probably compete again in Klingenthal. For me it was important to see what shape I am in after my injury and now I know that I can compete with the best again."

The FIS Grand Prix continues at the weekend with two competitions in Hakuba (JPN). Switzerland's Simon Ammann solidified his lead in the overall GP rankings with 5th and 6th place finishes in Zakopane. Before the Far East excursion, Ammann leads the standings by 123 points ahead of Adam Malysz. After Hakuba, the Grand Prix final will be held in Klingenthal (GER) on 3rd October 2009.


Graessler (GER) tops ladies' Ski Jumping summer series
Ulrike Graessler won in Lillehammer & summer series
Photo: OC Lillehammer

The final competitions in the ladies' FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping summer series were held in Lillehammer (NOR) last week. In the first competition on Friday, Ulrike Graessler (GER) celebrated already her fourth victory this summer. Line Jahr from Norway finished second ahead of 15-year-old American Sarah Hendrickson. On Saturday, local hero Jahr clearly won the competition and was joined on the podium by Hendrickson in second and Yuki Itoh of Japan in third.

With the competitions in Lillehammer, the summer season ended for the ladies. Ulrike Graessler took a clear win in the overall rankings with a total of 580 points, followed by Ayumi Watase (JPN) with 339 points and Graessler's teammate Melanie Faisst in 3rd with 289 points. Hendrickson finished 4th and Bigna Windmueller (SUI) 5th. The ladies' next COC event will take place in Rovaniemi (FIN) in early December.

Meanwhile, the men's COC series also visited Lillehammer for two competitions. After seven events, the rankings are led by Robert Kranjec (SLO) ahead of teammate Primoz Pikl and Akseli Kokkonen who now starts for Norway. The men's summer Continental Cup series continues on 5th-6th September at the Alpensia Resort in Korea.


Last Coordination Commission visit to Vancouver

The IOC's Coordination Commission is paying its ninth and last visit to the next Olympic host city of Vancouver this week. The Commission, including FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, will spend two days - 25th to 26th August - hearing from the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC) about its progress, as it looks to stage spectacular Olympic Winter Games. This visit will also see the participation of representatives of the Olympic Winter International Federations (IFs), with FIS represented by Secretary General Sarah Lewis, who will review the detailed planning around all aspects of the 2010 program.

With a little under six months to the Games, the IOC's Coordination Commission will be working with VANOC to make sure that the Games stakeholders, such as the athletes, National Olympic Committees, IFs, rights-holding broadcasters, media and spectators are going to be happy with the services that VANOC plans to deliver at Games time. As it is the final meeting of the Commission, they will also be looking at where the project is globally and examining in detail a number of areas such as transport, access to venues and ticketing, which will be key to ensuring effective operations and a great Games-time experience.

With VANOC's competition venues now completed and the two Olympic Villages in Vancouver and Whistler well on their way to being handed over to VANOC for use at Games time, members of the Commission will also tour a selection of Vancouver's Olympic venues. This will allow them to see the Olympic venues finalized after following their progress over the past six years during their construction.


IOC is collecting feedback on future of Olympics

The IOC has launched a contest on YouTube, inviting the general public to post a video reply to the question "What do you think is the future of the Olympic Games?" asked by triple Olympic gold medalist and recent world champion Usain Bolt, as you can see here.

The best video contribution will win one of two trips to Copenhagen to attend the Olympic Congress from 3rd-5th October 2009. The contest runs until 15 September! The Olympic Congress is a platform where discussions are held by the IOC President, IOC members and the Olympic family on how to improve the Olympic Games. You can have your say here.


 Inside FIS 

FIS launches FIS Marketing AG

FIS has announced the establishment of a new company, FIS Marketing AG, together with its marketing partners Tridem Sports and Infront Sports & Media. The strategic joint venture has the objective of enhancing the value of FIS marketing rights and developing sponsorship projects as well as providing improved service to FIS partners. FIS will be the majority shareholder of FIS Marketing AG with Tridem Sports and Infront Sports & Media holding the remaining shares as equal partners.

The new company will be based in Switzerland, incorporated under Swiss law and headed by Christian Pirzer, CEO of Tridem Sports. FIS Marketing AG will be structured as an independent and separately staffed entity tasked with the sales and handling of FIS controlled marketing rights.

The rights portfolio of the new company is being established and will include FIS World Cup title sponsorships and the data/timing packages across the disciplines. Marketing rights to the specific FIS World Cup events are held by the respective National Ski Associations. FIS Marketing AG's services will also be available to other organizations in the ski world, including National Ski Associations and ski clubs.

FIS President Gian Franco Kasper said: "This is a milestone in the history of FIS. It represents the realization of a long-standing intention to strengthen our marketing expertise and resources, in order to exploit the commercial rights to our flagship events to the full benefit of the sport." He added: "This is a win-win proposition for all parties involved. Equally importantly, it will deliver tangible benefits for the commercial partners of skiing. FIS remains in full control of its rights while taking advantage of external, specialist know-how from tried and trusted partners."

For more information, click here.


FIS and Zaugg extend partnership

FIS and Zaugg AG Eggiwil, a global leader in the manufacture of snow clearing and ski-slope preparation machines, have announced an extension of their cooperation whereby Zaugg continues as the `Official FIS Snowboard Service Provider for Half-Pipe Grinders'. The agreement covers the FIS Snowboard World Cup events during the 2009/2010 season.

Through the partnership, Zaugg will continue to make available its experience and technical know-how in planning and building FIS Snowboard half-pipe competition sites to FIS event organizers especially in its area of expertise as manufacturer of specialized snow shaping equipment. Zaugg will also help develop the FIS Snowboard competition venues and snow clearing and preparation techniques used in top level Snowboarding.

"FIS is pleased to continue the partnership with Zaugg which is well-aligned with our goal of enhancing the quality of organization. Zaugg's technical expertise in building and shaping Snowboard half-pipe competition venues plays a key role in this strategy," commented FIS Snowboard Race Director Marcel Looze. "During the first year of cooperation, many of the FIS organizers already had a chance to use the latest technology in snow shaping and we look forward to offering the best possible conditions for the riders into the future."

"We were very satisfied with the first year of our partnership with FIS and are pleased to extend our cooperation into the Olympic season. We can see this collaboration delivering many benefits not just to FIS and Zaugg but also to the National Associations and their organizing committees, and most importantly, to the world's best snowboarders through increased quality of their competition venues," added Daniel Frutiger, CEO of Zaugg.


 In Depth 

Presenting FIS partners: Longines
Walter von K„nel

Interview with Walter von K„nel

Longines (www.longines.com) is the official timing and data partner for the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup since 2007. Walter von K„nel, President of Longines, discussed his company's long tradition in sports timekeeping and the rationale for Longines' extensive involvement in Alpine Skiing.

Q. How does sport sponsoring help Longines meet its marketing and communication goals?

Walter von K„nel: Longines has a strong historical link with the world of sports and even more specifically with sports timekeeping since 1878, when everything started with its legendary first pocket chronograph known as the 20H caliber. Ever since then Longines has played a key role in the development of sports timekeeping. The brand's long-lasting association with skiing began in Chamonix in 1933. From that time on, winter events have been the occasion for Longines to distinguish itself through numerous technological, often revolutionary innovations: the photoelectric-cell-based light beam barrier device (1945), the first luminous scoreboard (1962), time measurement to 1/1000th of a second (1964), an automatic 100 images/second recording system with integrated individual times (1971), time measurement to 1/10,000th of a second (1973), the first insert of "Longines Timing" on TV screens (1975) and so forth.

Although by no means exhaustive, this list of achievements bears witness to the sustained commitment that has enabled Longines to make its mark in the world of top-class competition and sports timekeeping.

Longines decided to support Alpine Skiing because this sport requires strength, technique and precision, which reflects the demands and accuracy of the craft of watch making. Through Alpine Skiing and Longines' Ambassador of Elegance, Aksel Lund Svindal, we raise the brand awareness and promote the watches of our Longines Sport Collection, with the brand's slogan: "Elegance is an attitude".

Q. Longines has long been involved in skiing - please describe how you engage?

Walter von K„nel: From the beginning, the aim of Longines was not only to be a partner of FIS or Aksel Lund Svindal but to also be involved in the technical matters and to improve season after season the technology provided to the athletes, the press and the public, with increasingly accurate information about timing, speed, gaps between runners, etc.

Q. What is it that makes skiing special for Longines?

Walter von K„nel: Certainly the long-lasting and even historical relationship of Longines with the world of Alpine Skiing. But also the fact of having evolved our timekeeping skills hand in hand with the evolution of the sport itself.

Q. From a sponsor's perspective, is there any special message that you would like to deliver to FIS?

Walter von K„nel: First of all we would like to thank you for all the hard work and great organization throughout the season! We are sure you will continue your efforts in all winter sports and especially in Alpine Skiing to ensure this sport remains at a top level for the athletes, the media and the TV viewers.

From our side we can assure you that Longines will do its utmost to provide the FIS with efficient and innovative timekeeping devices to help achieve this goal.

Q. What was your personal skiing highlight in the past season and what do you expect from the upcoming season?

Walter von K„nel: The two great victories of Aksel Lund Svindal in Beaver Creek were unforgettable highlights. We lived very intense moments, especially keeping in mind what had happened there a year earlier. But the most memorable moment was during the World Cup Finals in Are, when, on a freezing cold morning, we anxiously observed the war of nerves between Benjamin Raich and Aksel Lund Svindal.

We expect a great upcoming season, full of strong, intense and unforgettable competitions. We are looking forward to seeing the athletes compete again after their summer training. You can be assured that we will not miss a single race!