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 WWW.FIS-SKI.COM Edition 58 | January 18th, 2006 

Welcome to the 58th Edition of the FIS Newsflash! There are only a few seats left on the plane to Turin now so excitement is building up as the days are being counted. January is also typically one of the busiest months in the FIS Calendar with lots to report so enjoy the news!


 News from the World of Skiing 

  Roar Ljoekelsoey - the flying Norwegian ...more

  Lots of World Cup action with 28 days to go to Turin ...more

  Oberstdorf - one year after FIS Nordic World Championships ...more

  Become the virtual king of the Hahnenkamm ...more


 Inside FIS 

  Cancelled Maribor Giant Slalom rescheduled for Ofterschwang (GER) ...more


 In Depth 

  From Lauberhorn to Kandahar: Men's FIS World Cup Alpine in historical venues

Toni Sailer on the meaning of the traditional venues and on the Olympic season ...more




 News from the World of Skiing 

Roar Ljoekelsoey - the flying Norwegian
Roar Ljoekelsoey

Even a feverish cold before the start of the 19th FIS Ski Flying World Championships in Tauplitz/Bad Mitterndorf (AUT) couldn't stop Roar Ljoekelsoey (NOR) on his way to another two Ski Flying gold medals. In the individual competition, the old and new World Champion beat Andreas Widhoelzl and Thomas Morgenstern (AUT). In the team event, Ljoekelsoey played a key role in securing the second gold medal for Norway. Finland also defended its silver medal from Planica (SLO) two years ago, while Germany came in 3rd..

Ljoekelsoey is only the second athlete in the history of the FIS Ski Flying World Championships to win two times in a row. Sven Hannawald (GER) became a two-time champion in 2000 and 2002. In addition, Walter Steiner (SUI) has claimed two Ski Flying World Championship titles, in Planica in 1972 and in Vikersund (NOR) in 1977.

During the Championships, there were 30 jumps measuring 200m or more. The honor for the 100th jump over 200m on the Kulm hill went to Alexander Herr (GER) who landed his personal best of 203.5 m in the final round.

Other highlights of the event included the ,Magic Moments in Sports"-show that besides Muhammad Ali also featured such world-famous sportsmen as Bob Beamon, Mark Spitz, Giacomo Agostini and Niki Lauda. Altogether, some 80 000 spectators attended the competitions, including 4000 accredited participants.

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Lots of World Cup action with 28 days to go to Turin
Giorgio Rocca in Wengen
Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe in Les Contamines

Four weeks before the start of the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, last weekend again saw a full competition schedule with five nations hosting FIS World Cup events. All in all, 17 nations celebrated top three finishes, with Austrian athletes claiming a total of eleven of them, the Swiss nine, and Finland and the USA both ending up with seven podium places.

Beautiful sunny skies and crispy winter weather welcomed Cross-Country skiers and Nordic Combined athletes in Val di Fiemme (ITA). In Cross-Country, several teams had a reason to rejoice as there were nine nations in the top ten in the ladies' mass start skating race, and eight in the men's, with Finland (ladies) and France (men) both placing three athletes in the top ten. In the relay, the Italian men's team raised the home audience's expectations for the Olympics by winning for the first time since November 2002. Finland also got a chance to celebrate in ladies' relay and in Nordic Combined, with Team Finland leaving others without a chance and Hannu Manninen claiming his 6th and 7th season victories.

The traditional men's FIS World Cup Alpine Lauberhorn weekend attracted almost 50 000 spectators to Wengen (SUI). In Friday's super combined, World Cup leader Benny Reich (AUT) won while Peter Fill (ITA) had his first-ever podium finish. On Saturday, the king of the "Birds of Prey" and the "Stelvio", Daron Rahlves (USA), also became of the king of the Lauberhorn, winning his third downhill of the season. At the same time, Finlay Mickel (GBR) celebrated his first top ten World Cup finish on the longest downhill course in the World Cup circuit. On Sunday, Italy's Giorgio Rocca won his fifth slalom in a row to equal the legendary Ingemar Stenmark und Marc Girardelli. If Rocca wins again next weekend in Kitzbhel (AUT), he can make World Cup history and become the first skier to win six times in a row. Behind Rocca, there were nine nations placing athletes in the top ten in Sunday's slalom, promising an exciting battle for the Olympic medals.

On the ladies side in Bad Kleinkirchheim (AUT), Janica Kostelic (CRO) won the first World Cup downhill of her career, and after also winning the super-G on Sunday, became only the fourth lady in World Cup history to win races in all five disciplines. Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister made the podium in all the three races on her home turf whilst newcomer Nike Bent (SWE) celebrated her career-first podium finish in Saturday's downhill.

At the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup in Kronplatz (ITA), the Swiss had grounds to party: the alpine nation conquered half of the twelve available podium places as World Cup points were awarded in snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom. In Saturday's snowboardcross, it was also the last World Cup race for Karine Ruby (FRA) who stepped down after 11 years and 122 podium finishes. In the same race, Alexandra Jekova finished third and claimed the first-ever Snowboard World Cup podium for Bulgaria. In men's parallel giant slalom, the Swiss team repeated their first-four victory from S”lden earlier in the season and from Kronplatz last year.

In Freestyle Skiing, the World Cup `rocked on' with aerials and moguls in Deer Valley (USA), and half pipe and ski cross in Les Contamines (FRA). All of the competitions were held under the lights, except for the ski cross. In Deer Valley, the freestyle venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, an enthusiastic crowd of 10,000 people wowed two of their own onto the podium in both moguls and aerials. Meanwhile, in France for the fourth time in a row, the half pipe and Ski Cross opened for the season. In men's half pipe, 16-year-old Kalle Leinonen (FIN) became the youngest male and second youngest overall winner in the history of Freestyle World Cup.

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Oberstdorf - one year after the FIS Nordic World Championships

One year after the highly successful FIS Nordic World Ski Championships - with more than 370 000 spectators - the southernmost village of Germany will again host a FIS World Cup Cross-Country on January 21st-22nd. The Allg„u region, the town of Oberstdorf and President of the Organizing Committee Thomas Mller are all looking forward to the return of the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country: "We invested more than 6 Million Euros in the cross-country infrastructure so that we could regularly stage world-class events. It is a pleasure for us to host the World Cup Cross-Country this season and we welcome the first-ever FIS Tour de Ski in January 2007."

22 nations have registered to compete in the pursuit races on Saturday and in the sprint competitions in the classic style on Sunday. In all probability, the acting World Champion in sprint, Vassili Rotchev (RUS), and his team mate Julija Tchepalova, the World Champion in pursuit, will both start in Oberstdorf.

The sporting program also includes the FIS B-World Cup Nordic Combined on Friday and Saturday. As during the FIS World Championships, the official prize ceremonies will take place in the Nordic Park together with a diverse social program as part of the traditional Winterfest taking place in January.

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Become the virtual king of the Hahnenkamm

Ever dreamed about winning on Kitzbhel's Hahnenkamm but thought that your technical skills left something to be desired? Now, your time has finally come, provided that you own a computer and an Internet connection: "the Ski Challenge", brought to you by ORF in Austria and SF in Switzerland is a 3-D virtual opportunity to test your choice of the line and the landing of your jump on computer-simulated slopes. Almost a million Austrians and more than 100 000 Swiss have already registered to compete in over 15 million gaming sessions at FIS World Cup Alpine downhill courses in Gr”den, Bormio, Wengen and this week, in Kitzbhel. The game is available for free from the sponsoring TV station's websites.

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 Inside FIS 

Cancelled Maribor Giant Slalom rescheduled for Ofterschwang (GER)

The FIS World Cup Alpine ladies' giant slalom that had to be cancelled on January 7th, 2006, in Maribor (SLO) has been rescheduled for Ofterschwang (GER) on Friday, February 3rd, 2006. The Giant Slalom will take place in addition to the already scheduled giant slalom on Saturday, February 4th, and slalom on Sunday, February 6th.

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 In Depth 

From Lauberhorn to Kandahar: Men's FIS World Cup Alpine in historical venues
Wengen
The Streif on 16th January 2006

There are few names that evoke as much excitement, and respect, in the world of skiing as do the legendary slopes of Lauberhorn, Hahnenkamm and Kandahar. While the 76th Lauberhorn races took place in Wengen, Switzerland, last weekend, this week it is time for the 66th Hahnenkamm races at Kitzbhel, Austria, and on January 28-29th, the men's World Cup will travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER). What seems to be common to all three is that each can only be conquered with as much courage and condition as technical skill.

Last year it was the 75th anniversary of the Lauberhorn race, at 4 450m the longest downhill course in the World Cup including such famous passages as Hundschopf, Hanneggschuss, and Silberhornsprung. This year, superb winter weather again attracted 47,600 spectators over the weekend to the beautiful, car-free village of Wengen in Berner Oberland, delivering powerful proof that the myth of Lauberhorn retains its charm.

The Hahnenkamm races, organized since the first race in 1931 by the Kitzbhel Ski Club, include the "Streif" for downhill and the "Ganslern" for slalom. Starting at the altitude of 1665m, the Streif's steepest passage - 85% steep - is located at the beginning of the infamous Mausefalle and has seen jumps of up to 80m in length.

The Hahnenkamm races are also known for offering the highest total prize money in the entire World Cup circus. This year, a total of _ 520.000,- will be awarded, including _ 65.000,- for the winners in downhill and slalom, with even the 30th-place-athletes netting up to _550.

The Kandahar course in Garmisch also belongs to the longest courses in the FIS World Cup Alpine. Given the total length of 3455m, the winning time there is expected to be over two minutes despite the top speeds at the Tr”glhang reaching up to 130 km/h. The host of the 1936 Olympic Winter Games, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also one of the two contenders for the 2011 FIS Alpine World Championships. The decision is between Schladming (AUT), who will host the 10th edition of their men's World Cup Night Slalom on 24th January 2006 and Garmisch-Partenkirchen will be taken by the FIS Council at the FIS Congress in Vilamoura, Portugal, in May 2006.

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Toni Sailer

Toni Sailer on the meaning of the traditional venues and on the Olympic season

FIS Newsflash caught Toni Sailer, Chairman of the FIS Executive Board for Alpine Skiing and famously triple Olympic Champion in Cortina in 1956, in the midst of the preparations for the 66th Hahnenkammrennen this weekend.

FIS Newsflash: Last weekend the Lauberhornrennen, this weekend the Hahnenkamm, and Garmisch in a week's time - in your view, what makes these three races so special even today?

Toni Sailer: These races are unique because of their tradition; several decades of it which does not leave anyone cold no matter how old or young. There are other wonderful races in the World Cup calendar, such as Val d'Isere, Gr”den and Beaver Creek, but they do not have the same history or the same number of races that have consistently and successfully taken place year after year. Of course, Wengen, Kitzbhel and Garmisch are all selective and require much from the athletes but it is their tradition that really sets them apart.

FIS Newsflash: Would you say that, for an alpine skier, it is more important to win at the Hahnenkamm than to win an Olympic gold medal?

Toni Sailer: No, because winning an Olympic gold medal is the ultimate goal for an athlete. The Olympics are known the world over, Hahnenkamm or Lauberhorn not. However, in the alpine ski sports, victory at all three is what differentiates the really exceptional skiers from the great ones, even if they had won one of the three.

FIS Newsflash: What do you expect from the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, just 24 days away now?

Toni Sailer: It has been a spectacular season so far: great races with fantastic atmosphere in both men's and ladies' World Cups. The fact that many races have set new spectator records goes to show how attractive today's ski racing is, in fact that its appeal is increasing, contrary to what some critics argue. From the Olympics, I expect a continuation of an already great season with good conditions, good snow, even if it is man-made, and good overall organization also in terms of the non-sport areas such as accommodation and transportation. There is always a lot of talk before the Games about things that might not go well, but once on site it all turns out fine. I also expect the winner of the Hahnenkamm to be one of the favorites for the Olympic gold medal, provided he does not get injured before Turin!

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