|News from the World of Skiing|
Vegard Ulvang, Tom Kelly, Dick Taplin ... more
Almost 170 participants came together for the FIS Nordic World Cup Organizers' Meeting˙at Europa Park in Rust (GER) on 16-17th June. Held for the eight time, the˙seminar˙provided an update on the latest FIS news and an opportunity for sharing ideas about staging ever more successful FIS World Cup events.
Following the joint opening session˙that also˙included presentations by FIS Marketing Partner APF, Timing and Data Partner WIGE-Data˙and by IFM, a media analysis specialist, each discipline held its own specific sessions.
Within Cross-Country, the main focus of the 19 participating organizers was on a review of the newly-approved World Cup Organizers' Handbook. Specific attention was paid to topics related to marketing, PR & media, promotion/TV and event production.
A total of 31 Ski Jumping organizing committees, representing World Cup, Grand Prix and Continental Cup (ladies and men) organizers, were present in Rust. Besides a season review, they also heard about the innovation for next season: Introduction of the "Man of the Day". At each World Cup competition next season, the best ranked athlete from among those not in the Top 15 of the current World Cup standings will be honored with 2000 Euro, sponsored by Manner.
For Nordic Combined, 13 World Cup organizers were present to review the detailed season analysis and plan for the new season, while also hearing about the plans for better presenting the sport, including a survey planned to cover all the main stakeholder groups.
In all break-out sessions, representatives of WIGE-Data, Sufag, and APF discussed discipline-specific changes. Cross-Country and Ski Jumping participants also heard from the Oberstdorf-based company bestvent, an expert in event and stadium management, and Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined from Seil Frey GmbH, a specialist in plastic covering the hills to preserve the snow in winter time.
At Europa Park, elected by Forbes as one of the ten most fun theme parks worldwide, the participants enjoyed a Spanish-Moorish dinner and evening entertainment. Traveling schedule permitting, some even managed to visit the park, the largest seasonal leisure park worldwide.
The Icelandic Ski Association will celebrate its 60th anniversary this coming Friday, June 23rd. The Association has˙taken advantage of˙the opportunity to celebrate this milestone on several occasions in the past 12 months:
Last summer, the Ski Association installed a ski lift on one of the glaciers providing the scene for a number events, such as training camps for children and recreational skiers.
In January, the biggest shopping mall in Iceland staged a Week of Skiing, aimed at promoting skiing as well as the local ski clubs, ski resorts and the suppliers of the Association. The final event of the week was an indoor Cross-Country sprint inside the mall of 40 meters in length which attracted a lot of spectators. More than 30,000 people attended the theme week.
During the Icelandic championships in April, the celebrations continued with the official anniversary and extraordinary championships with more than 70 foreign competitors in the Alpine events. The finale of this year of celebrations was held in Akureyri in late April where the annual Donald Duck Championships took place. A record of 750 children aged between 9-14 years old played and competed for three days.
The Icelandic Ski Association has also recently welcomed a new President: Daniel Jakobsson took charge in May following the election of the previous president Fridrik Einarsson to the Icelandic Olympic Committee. Daniel previously competed as a Cross-Country skier, participating in the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, and in the FIS World Championships in Falun 93, Thunder Bay 95 and Trondheim 97.
|News from the World of Skiing|
Jerzy Jakobsche (58), a renowned winter sports journalist working for the PAP Agency of Poland, recently made history by being the first East European to be elected as President of UEPS. UEPS (Union Europeenne de La Presse Sportive), is the European continental section of AIPS, the International Sports Press Association. Previously a member of the AIPS Special Commission for Nordic Skiing, Jakobsche is also known for having introduced the Werner-Kirchhofer-Memorial Award for highly deserving Nordic journalists.
In May, Gianni Merlo (58), a prominent Alpine Skiing journalist working with Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, was elected President of AIPS. Merlo had previously reigned as UEPS President from 1994 to 1998, as well as served as Chairman of the AIPS Special Commissions for Alpine Skiing and athletics.
With the election of Merlo and Jakobsche, the two most important international sports press associations are being led by well-known winter sports journalists. FIS congratulates both newly-elected Presidents and looks forward to continuing great cooperation in the coming four years.
|Milan Zivic during his record|
A unique event recently took place on the 90m hill in Velenje (SLO): in a record attempt, Milan "Zivko" Zivic (age 25) set out to jump 150 times in 30 hours in a single series of jumps. Zivic is a former Slovenian national team member who is also known as the "helmet cam-man" for some of the longest on-camera˙flights (his longest jump in Planica last March measured 186m).
The record attempt started on June 16th at 16:28 CET and ended on June 17th at 22:08 CET, after total jumping time of 29h 40min. The total count of jumps amounted to 155. Zivko's longest jump was his 107th in row, with the distance of 89m. It took him 8 hours for the first 50 jumps (completed on June 17th at 00:19 CET), 8.5 hours for the following 50 (at 08:49 CET), and almost 11 hours for the third set of 50 jumps (150th jump taking place at 19:27 CET). The average jump distance in the series measured 82.7m, with the shortest distance at 71m and the total "flight mileage" at whopping 12,739m. The event also attracted a good crowd of spectators.
As reported, the FIS Council appointed several new Committee Chairmen following the FIS Congress in Vilamoura (POR). In this first part of a series, the FIS Newsflash is proud to present the initial thoughts by three of them as they embark on their new tasks:
Vegard Ulvang, new Chairman of the Cross-Country Committee
"Firstly, I am very proud of the trust I have been given by the FIS Council through my appointment as Chairman.
In terms of our sport, I feel that Cross-Country skiing has experienced a lot of changes in the last ten years, including the new Championships program that premiered in Oberstdorf. I think now it is time for things to settle down so that both athletes and spectators can get used to this program.
Before, most racers competed in all disciplines. Today, we offer great variety with distinct opportunities to sprinters and distance racers, classic and skating specialists. This is exciting but also challenges us to keep up the interest in our main trophy, the overall World Cup. The FIS Tour de Ski, which brings all our best racers together in one competition, is so far our best answer to that. I am very much looking forward to the kick off in Nove Mesto in late December!
Effective TV pictures are key to the success of our sport. Much has already been done but I think we must further improve our cooperation with broadcasters and producers to optimize the way we present our sport to the TV audiences. New technologies bring new possibilities to communicate with our fans. We have to be part of that development.
In terms of committee work, I plan to encourage the members to be representatives for their country and region, and to engage in our topics also between our meetings. Through our discussions, I hope, they will understand that the Cross-Country family is very diverse which is why our decisions sometimes have to be compromises. I will also continue to seek direct contact with FIS and our athletes to ensure effective dialogue. And I would like to see more surveys and analyses as background for our decisions."
Tom Kelly, new Chairman of the PR and Mass Media Committee
"I'm honored to be named Chairman, together with Vice-Chairman Ignacio Valenzuela (SPA). I'm especially proud to follow the late Kuki Bergant, a great sport journalist, and Elizabeth Hussey, one of our sport's great historians.
The PR and Mass Media Committee has recently seen a real strengthening of its membership with marketing and communications professionals from the national associations. To engage these professionals for the overall benefit of our sport, I have two primary goals over the next two years:
1. Develop more active, year-round participation from the committee members; and
2. Focus the national associations, together with FIS, on more modern, pro-active means of blending marketing, media and communications to increase global public awareness of our competitions and athletes.
Specific ideas for doing this include our tentative plan to convene a TV and media workshop not just to talk about TV rights, but to talk about how TV and media can be used as a platform to promote the sport. And, I would like to foster closer collaboration among the national associations on the World Cup by, for example, utilizing the travels of top athletes from Austria or Germany to the USA (and vice versa) for promoting our sport.
I feel this comes at a very good time with FIS, which is expanding the professionalism of its own communications department. At the same time, I plan to work very closely with our Vice-Chairman on all committee matters. I will also be very active in communicating with the committee and seeking input on issues and topics."
Dick Taplin, new Chairman of the Speed Skiing Committee
"Speed Skiing is the fastest non-motorized sport on earth. It is elegantly simple, offering spectacle, excitement and aesthetics in one discipline.
However, it is also a sport balancing on the cusp of widespread acceptance and of limited participation. Hence, I feel that the first task of the committee is to build on the work of Kalevi H„kkinen to make the sport more accessible to all. We must encourage newcomers with more events, with lower-cost entry methods and, specifically, by encouraging young racers to enter the sport.
All these initiatives require funding. We cannot expect resorts to continue to organize events without compensation. Hence a major focus of our future work will be on identifying and attracting sponsorship opportunities. To achieve our aims, I plan to ask the members of the committee - both full and corresponding - to take responsibility for different elements of the sport: TD coordination; homologation management; media research and communication; athlete and organizer liaison; and sponsorship identification and conversion.
Our overall role is to help all athletes to reach their potential, and we shall strive to achieve that, with the support of the FIS family and the many national ski federations."