News from the World of Skiing 

  Ammann becomes first Swiss to win FIS Grand Prix ... more

  Grass Skiing Worlds get underway in Rettenbach (AUT) ... more

  Inaugural NZE Winter Games a great success ... more

  Worldloppet season kicks off ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS supports inclusion of ladies Ski Jumping in Winter YOG 2012, Sochi 2014 ... more

  Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski preparations in full force ... more

  Time to update athlete biographies on FIS website ... more


 Member News 

  Emotional farewell for Toni Sailer ... more

  Vaucher new Director of Swiss-Ski ... more


 In Depth 

  Introducing Members of FIS Athletes' Commission: Jan Schmid (NOR) ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Ammann becomes first Swiss to win FIS Grand Prix
Simon Ammann (SUI)
Photo: Horst Nilgen

The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping˙continued in Hakuba (JPN) last weekend. In the two Asian competitions, host nation Japan delivered impressive team performances on both days, including victory on Saturday, whilst Slovenia took its first victory this summer on Sunday. After the veteran Noriaki Kasai was best in the first event, it was Robert Kranjec's turn in the second competition.. Interestingly, jumpers from five different nations have claimed victory in the eight individual FIS GP competitions held so far.

By ranking third on both days, including setting a new hill record on Saturday, Simon Ammann of Switzerland secured his overall victory in the Grand Prix summer series with one competition remaining. With 537 points he has a lead of 140 points over Kranjec before the final competition in Klingenthal (GER) on 3rd October. He commented: "I only achieved some of my goals here in Hakuba. Whilst I did secure the overall title in the FIS Grand Prix as the first Swiss to do so, my jumps here were not good enough. There is still some work to do until the FIS World Cup begins in Kuusamo."

Seven nations have already earned the Grand Prix title in its 16 year history. Norway is the only "big" Ski Jumping nation missing from the list while Austria is the only team with four different winners. Adam Malysz (POL) holds the individual record with three overall victories.

Sunday's competition in Hakuba also put the new rules being piloted during the GP to a good test. In the first round, Japan's Ito jumped 134m, which is a few meters over the hill size. As a result, the jury reduced the inrun length for Kranjec and Ammann who received bonus points. Previously the jury would have needed to either risk the health of the top athletes or restart the entire round.

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Grass Skiing World Champions get underway in Rettenbach (AUT)
Michael Stocker (AUT)
Photo: OeSV

The FIS Grass Skiing World Championships 2009 began on Wednesday in Rettenbach (AUT). After the official opening ceremony scheduled for Wednesday evening, the competitions will get underway Thursday with the giant slalom events for ladies and men. On Friday, it is time for the super-G followed by slalom on Saturday and super combined (with super-G) on Sunday. The organizing committee led by Dr. Johann Gschwandtner, supported by Heribert Petermann, is well prepared and can feel comfortable thanks to experienced technical support provided by Dieter Posch, technical director of the Austrian Ski Association as chief of competition, and FIS technical delegate and race organizer, Hans Peter Brandl, as technical advisor.

The last World Cup event before the World Championships was held in Maria Gugging (AUT). Before the season highlight event in Rettenbach, the men's World Cup standings are led by Czech Jan Nemec although the dress rehearsal for the Worlds was won by Austrian Michael Stocker. Last season's World Cup champion, Eduardo Frau (ITA) is ranked 3rd at present. On the ladies' side, Austrian experienced standings leader Ingrid Hirschhofer can expect a great challenge from Japan's Yokiyo Shintani who won both competitions in Maria Gugging, as well as her younger teammate Jaqueline Gerlach and Germany's Anna-Lena Bdenbender, current #2 in the World Cup rankings. The World Cup finals will be held in Forni di Sopra (ITA) on 12th-13th September.

For more information visit www.grasskiwm2009.at

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Inaugural NZE Winter Games a great success
FIS World Cup opening in Cardrona
Photo: SnowsportsNZ
ANC Cross-Country
Photo: SnowsportsNZ

The inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games closed last Sunday at Coronet Peak after 10 days of world-class competition in nine different sports, including Cross-Country, Alpine and Freestyle Skiing as well as Snowboarding of the FIS disciplines. The celebrations were marked by a closing ceremony that featured aerials, a parade of Coronet Peak ski instructors carrying all the nations' flags down the mountain and a celebratory fireworks display. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key presented of the final day's awards to the successful athletes, as well as complementing the large number of international athletes who were committed to competing in spite of challenging weather conditions. Prime Minister Key also indicated that he was proud to showcase New Zealand to the international athletes and their supporters, as well as the considerable television viewing audience and went on to indicate the government's support for the continuation of regular 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games with the next edition in 2011.

Winter Games NZ Chairman, Sir Eion Edgar, handed over the magnificent trophy for the top performing country to Canada that won 10 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals. The USA was runner-up, followed by Japan. The Winter Games were formally closed in a brief ceremony by Ngai Tahu elder Sir Tipene O'Regan on behalf of the indigenous Maori people of the area in which the Winter Games were held.

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NZ Winter Games super-G
Photo: SnowsportsNZ
Over 800 athletes from 40 countries competed in 37 events over the 10 days, which were heralded as a success by athletes, stakeholders and organizers. The 400 volunteers, included specialists from Canada who ensured that all but one of the events was completed despite the difficult weather and snow conditions.

FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis attended the last three days of Winter Games NZ. At the final teams' captain's meeting for the ANC SL races, the officials and coaches paid their respects to Toni Sailer and showed pride that his funeral would be held at the same time as the start of the slalom event. Sarah Lewis commented to the assembled group that such as such a passionate ski racing fan, Toni would have been pleased to share the day with a ski race.

With the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games now only a few months away, numerous potential Olympians enjoyed the high quality of competition at the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games to enhance their prospects of success at the Olympics.

Contributed by David Howden

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Worldloppet season kicks off
2009 Kangaroohoppet start
Photo: Chris Hocking

With the nineteenth annual Kangaroo Hoppet in Falls Creek (AUS), the Worldloppet season 2009/10 kicked off at the past weekend. Rain and wind caused the races to be shortened and the main event was held over 25km instead of the usual 42km. Australian Ben Sim won the men's 25km event, breaking away from Thomas Diezig of Switzerland in the last 3km and winning by 40 seconds. The winning margin in the women's 25km was almost the same, with Katherine Calder of New Zealand taking first place 38 seconds ahead of local skier Esther Bottomley (AUS). Over 1200 competitors from 22 nations entered in the three race distances of 25km, 15km, and 5km, although it is likely that the weather deterred a number of skiers from starting.

The Kangaroo Hoppet was also the final race in the 2009 FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) in Cross-Country Skiing, one of eight Continental Cup series around the world endorsed by FIS. Diezig from Switzerland and Calder from New Zealand secured the series win with their results. The winners of the Continental Cup series receive a special start position in the 2009/2010 World Cup.

Contributed by Allan & Finn Marsland

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 Inside FIS 

FIS supports inclusion of ladies Ski Jumping in Winter YOG 2012, Sochi 2014
2009 Ladies Jumping World Championship podium
Photo: NordicFocus

FIS is pleased to confirm that it has re-proposed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include ladies' Ski Jumping as well as the Alpine Team Event on the program of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014, in accordance with the decisions of the FIS Congress in Vilamoura (POR) in 2006.

"FIS also welcomes the plan of the IOC to include ladies' Ski Jumping as part of the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 2012, in order˙to support its development and to contribute to bringing more participants into the sport," commented FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, head of the IOC's Coordination Commission for Innsbruck 2012.

The first FIS World Championships in ladies' Ski Jumping were held last season in Liberec (CZE) whilst the FIS Junior World Championships have been taking place since 2006 and the ladies' Continental Cup in Ski Jumping exists since the 2004/05 season.

The competition program for ladies Ski Jumping˙at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) 2012 in Innsbruck will feature both an individual competition as well as a three person team event with a male ski jumper and a Nordic Combined athlete. The highly youth-oriented program for the inaugural˙Winter YOG 2012 was confirmed by the IOC Executive Board at its recent meeting in Berlin and includes the following FIS competitions:

Cross-Country Skiing: individual distance & sprint, team event with Biathlon (1 girl, 1 boy each)

Ski Jumping: individual (girls and boys), team event (girl, boy & Nordic Combined)

Nordic Combined: individual, team event (see above)

Alpine Skiing: slalom, giant slalom, super-G, super combined, team parallel

Freestyle Skiing: ski cross, half-pipe

Snowboarding: half-pipe, slopestyle

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Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski preparations in full force
New Toblach stadium
Photo: Pinja Ojanen

In the past week, the main organizing team involved with the FIS Tour de Ski preparations visited the four Tour host venues Oberhof (GER), Prague (CZE), Toblach and Val di Fiemme (ITA). The 4th edition of the FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear will take place from 1st to 10th January 2010.

The site inspections started in Oberhof (GER), on the same day as the official opening of the first ski tunnel in Central Europe was held. The inspection group spent intense hours on the plans for the long Tour de Ski and Nordic Combined weekend which will commence with a team presentation in downtown Oberhof on 31st December 2009.

In Prague, the organizing team presented the new course at the venue on the former world expo grounds at Výstaviště Praha. Moving on to Toblach, the newcomer among the host cities, the Tour schedule foresees for the first time a race with start and finish in different locations. On 6th January 2010, the male athletes will race from Cortina to Toblach while the ladies will start towards the stadium in Toblach with a view of the famous Drei Zinnen ("Three Peaks", or three distinctive battlement-like peaks). In the stadium, a functional building is under construction under the race course. In Val di Fiemme, the focus of discussions was on logistical aspects, fan entertainment and ensuring high quality TV coverage by building upon the exciting races seen last season.

“I’m very satisfied with the progress for the Tour. Our new partner Toblach promises to increase the event’s value and complements our experienced hosts in Oberhof, Prague and Val di Fiemme. Our main focus for the 4th edition is to refine the logistics to make it easier for all team members and to attract even more spectators on site and in front of TV,” stated Jürg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country.

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Time to update athlete biographies on FIS website

The FIS website at www.fis-ski.com provides an important service by being an accurate source of quality statistical and basic biographical information on FIS athletes. The main responsibility for updating the individual athlete profiles for details such as name of ski club and personal websites etc. lies with the Member National Ski Associations who are able to access the data directly. The only exception is the equipment brand information for Alpine and Cross-Country athletes for which the updates are made by the Ski Racing Suppliers Association (SRS) respectively the equipment manufacturer.

The remaining weeks before the start of all FIS World Cup 2009/2010 series are the perfect time to make sure that the athlete's biographical information is up-to-date for the Olympic season. The Member NSAs are requested to make their updates by 30th November 2009 at the latest. For athletes who notice their details are not currentl please contact your National Ski Association: click here for a complete list of contact details.

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 Member News 

Emotional farewell for Toni Sailer
Toni Sailer
Photo: K.S.C.

The funeral service for the great ski legend Anton 'Toni` Sailer was held in the finish area of the traditional Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbhel (AUT) on Saturday, 30th August 2009. Several hundreds invited guests and private mourners bid their last farewells to the so-called `schwarze Blitz aus Kitz' before his closest family had a chance to say good-bye privately.

The coffin was decorated with roses and lilies and several guests gave emotional speeches including Toni Sailer's family members and well-known names from international skiing. All speeches highlighted the many contributions of Toni Sailer to the sport he deeply loved. In his farewell, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper noted that Toni Sailer was not just a friend and a colleague but a visionary and a highly successful sports leader, who always used his experience and relationships for the good of alpine ski racing. He concluded, "Servus Toni, FIS will never forget you!"

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Vaucher new Director of Swiss-Ski
Denis L. Vaucher

Swiss-Ski has named Denis L. Vaucher (43) as its new Director. The presidium of Swiss-Ski unanimously appointed the current director of the Swiss Ice Hockey League as successor of its present Director Hansruedi Laich who is stepping down on 2nd October. Vaucher is scheduled to begin in his new role on 1st January 2010. During the autumn, Swiss-Ski will be led by Andreas Christian Wenger, Head of Services and member of the board of Swiss-Ski.

Vaucher brings with him several years of experience in management positions, including two years as CEO of Loeb AG, a Swiss department store group, several years with Valora Management AG Deutschland and with UBS, among other engagements.

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 In Depth 

Introducing Members of FIS Athletes' Commission: Jan Schmid (NOR)
Jan Schmid (NOR)
Photo: NordicFocus
Jan Schmid (NOR)
Photo: NordicFocus

Jan, congratulations for your election to the FIS Athletes' Commission as Nordic Combined representative. To start with, can you tell us, who is Jan Schmid?

Jan Schmid: I was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, but my parents are Swiss. I have a younger brother, Tommy, who's also a Nordic Combined athlete, and a sister. When I was six years old, I tried Nordic Combined for the first time, inspired by watching Matti Nyk„nen on TV. At the age of 16, I got my first international start in the Alpencup for Switzerland. At 23, after the Olympics in Torino, I changed nationality and became a Norwegian citizen. Having lived in Norway my entire life, growing up among Norwegian kids and training with the Norwegians it just felt more natural starting for Norway. What fascinates me most about Nordic Combined is the challenging combination of speed/power and endurance. Also, by doing two different sports, training never gets boring as there is a natural change in pace throughout the year.

You are athletes' spokesperson for Nordic Combined. From your point of view, what's your main task?

Jan Schmid: When I first heard about the Athletes Commission elections, all I knew was that such a commission had existed for a few years, without it ever actually accomplishing much. I wasn't wild about being elected just to have my name on a paper, so I see it as my goal to try and change that gradually. I want the athletes to know that if they come to me with issues, I will try and bring these issues to the people it concerns. Our Commission doesn't have any legislative power in the specific disciplines in FIS, so all I can hope to do for my sport is to lobby the Nordic Combined Committee from the athletes' point of view. On a broader scale, we hope to bring some general athlete issues to the table as well. I guess the main goal is to establish the FIS Athletes' Commission as a recognized and respected body within FIS.

When your tenure is over in four years, what should we say about Jan Schmid?

Jan Schmid: I hope that I will be remembered as a spokesperson that was objective and easy to talk to, and that took suggestions and complaints seriously.

Do you think that your position changes with this election among the FIS Nordic Combined athletes?

Jan Schmid: We are a competitive sport and I don't think this election is going to change anything about my position within the group of athletes. Results still influence the hierarchy the most, and it's much easier to be taken seriously and be heard if you have the results to back you up. That being said, I'm going to fulfill my duties no matter how things go on the sporting level.

What are your goals as an athlete?

Jan Schmid: At the moment my goal is the Olympics in Vancouver where I want to be a part of the team that hopefully wins the team event. The next goal after that will be the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships at home in Oslo, where I want to be a medal contender.

Some former athletes have made a second career as officials of International Federations or the IOC, such as Pernilla Wiberg, Manuela Di Centa or Sergej Bubka. Could you imagine following in their footsteps?

Jan Schmid: Why not? It's not something that I've thought a lot about, but I think these positions need objective and rational people that know their sports, and I think it's very important that some of them have a background as athletes. Personally I'd like to spend some years after my career as coach; it seems very fulfilling to help others progress and achieve their goals.

Contributed by Egon Theiner

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