|News from the World of Skiing|
Martin Schmitt wants to return to the top ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|La Base at Chapelco|
The Alpine Inter-Continental Cup with its five regional series (European Cup, Nor-Am Cup, Far East Cup, South America Cup and Australia/New Zealand Cup) represents the most important qualification opportunity and a stepping stone for the FIS Alpine World Cup.
The Southern hemisphere Continental Cup seasons are about to start. Traditionally, the South American Cup (SAC) will kick off at Chapelco (ARG) with the ladies' and men's giant slalom races on 6th August, 2006. Typical of Argentina, the Chapelco SAC races will be combined with the national championships in slalom and additional FIS races. The SAC will continue with more technical and the first super-g races at Cerro Catedral, Bariloche, and further slalom and giant slalom events in Las Lenas in mid-August.
At the end of August, the SAC will move to Chile, featuring the first downhill and other speed races in La Parva, most likely with substantial participation by leading European athletes who will take advantage of the training opportunities. Following a stint at El Colorado, near Santiago de Chile, the last two Cup weekends will take place in Termas de Chillan, a candidate for the 2010 FIS Junior Alpine World Ski Championships. The schedule at Termas de Chillan will also integrate the premiere super combined races in the SAC and all of Southern hemisphere. With just one race a season, there will be no separate standings or World Cup qualification, however. Three super combined races, as required for a valid discipline ranking, are being planned for this year's European Cup for the first time.
Meanwhile, the Australia / New Zealand Cup (ANC) will start at Mt. Hotham (AUS) with several races in the technical disciplines from 28th - 31st August, 2006. Traditionally the ANC is a very important opportunity for young athletes around the region to prove themselves but will be especially so this year due to the retirement of several leading regional skiers following the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Additional slalom races will be staged at Mt. Buller (AUS), followed by a move to New Zealand where the only speed weekend in this year's Cup will take place in mid-September, including the debut of the super combined in the ANC and all of Australasia. The grand finale of the ANC will be held in Whakapapa on the North Island (NZE) from 18th-22nd September.
|Jessica Jerome (USA)|
Photo: Matt Sullivan, USSA
The ladies' Continental Cup (COC) Ski Jumping 2006-2007 season began last weekend under the auspices of the VISA International Women's Ski Jumping Festival at Utah Olympic Park, Park City, Utah (USA). The first international competitions following the decision of the 45th International Ski Congress in Vilamoura (POR) to include a ladies' Ski Jumping event on the program of future FIS Nordic World Ski Championships as from 2009, the weekend's two competitions drew participants representing eight nations and included the top 11 from the 2006 COC points list. Both competitions took place on the normal hill (HS100) before blockbuster crowds as the parking lots were filled to capacity (1,600 cars).
Germany's 16-year-old Juliane Seyfahrt, the reigning junior world champion and fifth in the 2005-2006 standings, overcame the heat and jet-lag to win both competitions. She overtook Norway's Anette Sagen, the reigning COC champion, by one point on Saturday and triumphed over Daniela Irachko (AUT) by eight points on Sunday. Many of last season's leading names, including Jessica Jerome (USA) and Lindsay Van (USA), also appear to be in good early season form. Indications exist that the field is drawing closer together, compared to last year's competitions in Park City in October 2005, promising an exciting season.
The teams now head to Calgary (CAN) for another two normal hill jump meets on 25th-26th July before the tour returns to Europe for three stops in Germany (Klingenthal, Poehla and Meinerzhagen) and in Bischofshofen (AUT) in mid-August.
Photeo: OT Morzine
Last week, a small team led by Jrg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country visited the 2006 Tour de France in the town of Morzine (FRA) that served as the finishing area for the 17th Tour Stage. The goal of the trip was to gain valuable insight into the logistics, marketing implementation, television & internet production and accreditation services that are part of the organization of any world-class sports event consisting of multiple stages. The lessons learned should especially benefit the FIS Tour de Ski, scheduled to start on 29th December 2006.
"The logistical accomplishments of the local organizing committees at the Tour de France are truly remarkable. The mobile infrastructure is set up and dismantled very rapidly, even in very tight quarters such as here in Morzine. The entire Tour de France organization is aligned to constantly develop and optimize its operations. I am convinced that the organizers of the FIS World Cup Cross-Country could all learn a lot by reaching out to other sports and events in the future," commented Jrg Capol.
Tiit Pekk (EST), Chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for Cross-Country World Cup and Continental Cups, added: "This was my first time at `Le Tour.' I've wanted to see this event for years and although I came with high expectations, I was still amazed." He continued: "First of all, the atmosphere on the course was fantastic: the crowds were ecstatic hours before the athletes came, sharing the news about their favorites and getting ready to cheer them all up the `Col'. I know it will take years but a goal for the FIS Tour de Ski should be to develop similar excitement among the fans. Secondly, the professionalism of the venue buildup was extraordinary. In the early morning hours, the various installations were built without panic, dozens of trucks parked on the streets of a tiny mountain village, and tens of kilometers of cables spread out exactly where they were needed. The staff worked in teams, each knowing precisely the role of their particular team. As an event organizer, I could really appreciate this and hope this will be the direction for the FIS Tour de Ski to follow, too."
The FIS Statutes, now including the changes approved by the 45th International Ski Congress in Vilamoura (POR) in May, are available for download from the FIS Internet site, under Rules and Regulations/FIS General Rules.
The organizers of the Four-Hills-Tournament are pleased to present a new title sponsor for the 55th edition of the traditional ski jumping tournament at the turn of the year. The outdoor equipment manufacturer Jack Wolfskin - already involved as presenting sponsor for several years - replaces the former title sponsor Vodafone.
"I'm very pleased that our marketing agency IMG was so quick to find a new title sponsor and that it's Jack Wolfskin. They go really well with our event," Tournament President Claus-Peter Horle said. The outdoor equipment manufacturer Jack Wolfskin hopes to increase its name recognition both on the national and international levels. Their goal is to become the number 1 in the European outdoor equipment market. "The Four-Hills-Tournament is one of the most important winter sports evens. Therefore it was a logical step to extend our sponsoring package and to become the title sponsor," Manfred Hell, CEO of Jack Wolfskin, said.
|Erdinger Arena, Oberstdorf (GER)|
It was on 9th December, 1906, that some ski enthusiasts founded the `Skilauf-Verein Oberstdorf/Allgu.' Later on, in 1910, the club was renamed `Ski Club Oberstdorf.' Known today as the organizer of the first stage of the Four-Hills Tournament since 1952, Ski Club Oberstdorf will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Saturday, 29th July, 2006.
"I'm very happy to be able to celebrate our anniversary together with the best German ski jumpers", said Ski Club Oberstdorf President Claus-Peter Horle. Before the big party starts at the Erdinger Arena, formerly known as the Schattenberg Ski Stadium, the first of two Continental Cup competitions will be held. Martin Schmitt, Oberstdorf resident Georg Spth and Michael Neumayer, along with other jumpers from Peter Rohwein's team, will all participate. Among the guests will be Mayor of Oberstdorf, Thomas Mller, Alfons Hrmann, President of the German Ski Association and Mirjam Vogt, President of the Bavarian Ski Association.
Only a year and half ago, Oberstdorf staged the 2005 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the second world ski championships there since 1987. During both championships, the Ski Club was led by one and the same President, Claus-Peter Horle, who took over the function in 1972! Horle was also the head of the WSC organizing committee in 1987.
The first ski competitions were held in the `Schrattenwang' area in 1909. In the same year, the first two jumping hills were built in the `Halden' area, a bit south of today's Ski Jumping stadium. There, at `Schattenberg,' the first jumping hill was built in 1923 and the first competition held on 27th December, 1925.
In 1949, the first Ski Flying hill was constructed in the `Birgsautal' (Birgsau Valley). In 1972, the current facility was built for the 1973 Ski Flying World Championships. The unusual tower, locally known as the "Leaning Tower of Oberstdorf", was named the Heini-Klopfer-Ski-Flying-Hill. Architect and ski jumper Heini Klopfer designed the plans for the first hill at this site and also performed the first jump on 2nd February, 1950. Until now, no less than four FIS Ski Flying World Championships were held on this hill: in 1973, 1981, 1988 and 1998. And the next ones will take place in 2008.
Martin Schmitt wants to return to the top
The fourth one in the series, this week's "Athletes in Summer Training" piece provides some insight into how the various Ski Jumping national teams are preparing for the new competition season.
By Kurt Henauer
It is only ten days until the start of the 13th FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping in Hinterzarten (GER). The teams have been in regular training and jumping on plastic since early May. Meanwhile, the coaches and other team staff have been occupied with the preparation of the equipment, such as adapting the jumping suits to the new rules.
The four-time World Champion and team Olympic Champion Martin Schmitt started his summer training already at the end of April. The 28-year-old German, who won the overall World Cup in 1999 and 2000, shared some thoughts about his training and season goals in the midst of preparation for his 11th World Cup season.
Kurt Henauer: How was the start of your training this spring; was it more difficult to get motivated than some years ago?
Martin Schmitt: No, it's the same as when I was younger. I was motivated to begin the summer training after my two-week-holiday. Of course it differs from year to year but this time it was very easy because I wanted to be in a good shape as soon as possible. My goal is to return to the top again and therefore it was no problem.
Kurt Henauer: Compared to the season before, did you change a lot in your summer training?
Martin Schmitt: We changed quite a lot on the athletic side. Our focus is to gain more strength. Therefore we've shifted towards more specific strength exercises and have done fewer jumping exercises. We also changed our jumping technique. I needed some time for this but it's progressed step by step and I'm quite satisfied at the moment.
Kurt Henauer: Where have you been jumping on plastic so far?
Martin Schmitt: First of all on my home hill in Hinterzarten but also in Oberstdorf, Berchtesgaden, Einsiedeln, Ramsau and Bischofshofen.
Kurt Henauer: Did you change anything in your equipment?
Martin Schmitt: Yes, I'm trying new skis as I'm testing the Atomic skis (Ed: last season on Fischer).
Kurt Henauer: Have you had time to do anything else apart from training?
Martin Schmitt: After my holidays, I have been completely focused on Ski Jumping. It's not possible to deal seriously with anything else.
Kurt Henauer: What are your goals for the upcoming FIS Grand Prix?
Martin Schmitt: It's the end of the first training period and the FIS Grand Prix provides a good comparison with the other athletes, an early indication of the season to come. My goal is to be among the top ten.