|FIS Congress Special|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|FIS Congress Special|
|Gian Franco Kasper|
Gian Franco Kasper was re-elected as FIS President with enthusiastic applause of the 45th International Ski Congress. Accepting his election, he began his third four-year term by promising to do his best for the federation, while adding that it will be up to others to judge whether that is enough.
In his opening speech to the Vilamoura Congress, Gian Franco Kasper commented on the two-year period since the 2004 Congress in Miami (USA). He observed that the 2004/05 and 2005/6 seasons have been "quite successful for FIS and for the sport of skiing," including carrying out an outstanding total of approximately 10'800 international skiing competitions, let alone several superb FIS World Championships and the magnificent Olympic Winter Games in Turin. However, he also noted that "quantity does not automatically mean quality" and that FIS will be challenged to "rectify certain shortcomings in the organization during the next competition seasons."
President Gian Franco Kasper also underlined that "the philosophy of FIS has never been and shall never be to work for the financial benefit of the organizers at very few National Ski Associations, but for the benefit of all National Ski Associations world-wide and the development of our sport as such." He stressed that it is his very personal philosophy to "generate income for the sport, but not from the sport" and asked the international ski family to continue to work together for "realistic solutions especially concerning finances and division of income" so as to ensure the promotion of skiing world-wide also in the future.
As reported earlier, the Congress Week in Vilamoura entailed meetings of most FIS Committees. The FIS Newsflash has collected the highlights of several of those meetings in a number of the disciplines:
The Cross-Country Committee approved the World Cup Organizer Handbook that has been prepared to help standardize many aspects of event organization, and most importantly, to take advantage of the collective know-how developed over the years by all organizers. The˙Handbook will be a living document that will be further improved on the basis of feedback received during the first season in use. The Cross-Country Committee also strongly supported the idea of a mandatory, annual meeting for all the World Cup host TV broadcasters to discuss their production plans with their peers. TD training, especially the criteria and guidelines for TD education, was also discussed at length. Finally, the Committee acknowledged the need for it to better support the development of the Continental Cups, including considering the establishment of a separate Sub-Committee for Continental Cups.
The Ski Jumping Committee discussed the proposals of the respective Sub-Committees which, based on the funnel system, had earlier been sent to the affiliated National Ski Associations for comments. After thorough discussion, the proposals were unanimously supported for presentation to the FIS Council for final approval. The approved proposals included a study on the athletes' flight trajectory in order to provide standardized data and formulas for the geometric elements of jumping hill side profiles, the extension of the start permission time to 10 seconds as well as enhanced specifications for competition equipment, e.g. for the running surface, the shape of the jumping skis, and that of the jumping suits.
Topics on the agenda of the 55th meeting of the Nordic Combined Committee included the proposed ICR adjustments, such as the inclusion in the ICR of the duties of a Race Director Assistant and certain World Cup rule changes. These included new quotas for A and B World Cups, a limitation on the number of competitors in the last jumping round of individual Gundersen competitions to the best 35, and an agreement to trial a condensed sprint competition at an appropriate venue next season. This will include minimizing the break between the end of the jumping and the start of the skiing to 25 min. The Nordic Combined Committee also confirmed that the World Cup calendar for the 2007/08 season will be based on the existing three-period system.
The Vilamoura meetings of the Alpine Committee and the Alpine Executive Board were focused on a successful finalization of the 2006/07 calendars for both the ladies and men's World Cup circuits, as well as working on the several proposals submitted to the Congress (for the highlights of the Congress decisions, please see previous edition of the FIS Newsflash). In addition, the Alpine Committee submitted a number of proposals for the approval of the Council, including rules changes referring to the starting order for the downhill and super combined, the definition of slalom technical data based on the number of direction changes in relation to the vertical drop, rather than on the number of gates, and making crash helmets compulsory in all FIS Alpine Skiing events, among others. Finally, the Alpine Committee expressed its concern with the rapid increase in lower leg injuries, primarily knees, and particularly to juniors. As a result, both ski and standing heights will be altered for the 2007-08 season. The new maximum height of ski, plate and binding will be reduced and the boot height will be restricted while ski widths will be expanded and giant slalom ski radiuses will be regulated.
Discussion at the FIS Freestyle Skiing Committee's Vilamoura meetings focused on opportunities for transitioning towards a more measurement-based sport with the help of new video technologies. The Committee decided to begin studying the different measurement systems for athletic performance based on technologies such as `real time' digital video and biomechanical analysis software, and to begin the development of new performance criteria. The goal of the exercise is to `effectively and efficiently measure what can be measured and determine what cannot.' It is anticipated that there will be a shift toward more refined measurement criteria as of the season of 2007/08. A report will be presented in the fall meeting. The Committee also considered the introduction of compulsory back protection to further enhance athlete safety. Currently many Freestyle Skiing athletes already choose to wear back protectors that are specifically made for their events. The Committee also discussed, and accepted in principle, the introduction of a new head-to-head event format for aerials while applauding the `cross-over" discipline engagement of several alpine technical delegates in World Cup ski cross races. Finally, the Committee expressed its pleasure with the strong performance of Freestyle Skiing in terms of overall TV viewers for the 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games.
The main item on the FIS Snowboard Committee's agenda was the finalization of the 06/07 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup calendar with an optimized plan that now exhibits a true˙around-the-world tour. The Snowboard Coordination Group also deliberated various future options for the sport of Snowboard, including the role of the new slopestyle event. Further Committee discussion centered on several proposals for rules changes, such as the introduction of a head-to-head format for the Big Air finals. The Committee also warmly welcomed the candidacy and election of La Molina (SPA) as the organizer of the 2011 FIS Snowboard World Championships.
|News from the World of Skiing|
One of the most important decisions during the Congress Week in Vilamoura (POR) was the approval by the Council of the final versions of the FIS World Cup calendars for the 2006/2007 season.
For the fifth time since 2002/03, the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country season will kick off on the Rheine promenade in the old town of Dsseldorf (GER) on Oct 28th-29th. Also for the fifth time, all the three Nordic disciplines will come together for the Nordic Opening at Ruka, Kuusamo (FIN) on 24th-26th November, which also represents the official start of the season for the e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping and the Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined series.
The early season highlights for the Nordics include the first ever FIS Tour de Ski for Cross-Country, from 29th December - 7th January, the 55th Four-Hills-Tournament for Ski Jumping from 30th December until, for the first time, 7th January, and the Warsteiner Grand Prix Germany for Nordic Combined from 30th December - 6th January. Besides the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo (JPN) from 22nd February - 4th March, 2007, the three Nordic disciplines will also be held together at the Lahti Ski Games (FIN) from 9th-11th March and at the Holmenkollen Ski Festival (NOR) from 17th-18th March. Oslo will host the season finals for Nordic Combined while the Ski Jumping season will culminate on the Ski Flying hill of Planica (SLO) on 24th-25th March and the Cross-Country skiers end their season in Falun (SWE) on 24th-25th March.
In the Audi Alpine FIS World Cups, the season will start, for the seventh time, with the ladies' and men's giant slalom on the glacier in Slden (AUT) on 28th-29th October. The season sees an innovation by continuing after just a two-week break with slalom competitions at Levi (FIN), which will˙also be the first-ever men's World Cup race in Finland. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are scheduled in re (SWE) from 3rd - 18th February. All in all, both the ladies' and men's tours will include 17 venues on two continents. Like in 2004/05, the 2006/07 season finals will be held at Lenzerheide (SUI) from 14th - 18th March, 2007.
As has become the tradition, the Freestyle FIS World Cup will commence during the Southern hemisphere season at Mt. Buller (AUS) with two aerials competitions from 2nd - 3rd September, 2006. Altogether the season will include 13 venues in ten nations on four continents, not forgetting the season highlight of the Freestyle FIS World Ski Championships which will be held in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA) from 22nd - 28th January, 2007.
The Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup will also launch with the traditional South American Season Opening in Valle Nevado (CHI) scheduled for 14th -17th September 2006. This season, the spectacular city Big Airs will be held in Prague (CZE), Stockholm (SWE), Klagenfurt (AUT) and Winterberg (GER). The Snowboard circuit will again tour the world: after the Snowboard FIS World Championships in Arosa (SUI) from 13th - 20th January, 2007,˙and the rest of the European tour, it will move to Korea and Japan at the end of February before closing the season off in North America, where Quebec (CAN) will host the finals from 15th -18th March.
FIS development activities have just received an allocation of US$ 40'000 from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to support the `Snow Sports for Kids' project.
The `Snow Sports for Kids' project is designed to bring kids and youngsters on snow, notably in developing ski nations. The project involves special programs to convince young people to try skiing especially in countries where skiing is not the first choice of winter leisure activity. It includes a number of seminars for coaches and leaders of kids and youngsters providing them with specific training to coach Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing and Snowboard athletes. The 2006 seminar focusing on including ski sport in school sports education and providing examples of practical training for youngsters on snow, is scheduled for 13th - 15th October in Landgraaf/Zoetermeer (NED). Detailed information with speakers and logistics will be sent out at the end of June.