|News from the World of Skiing|
Interview with Roald Bahr ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
The Asian stop of the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping 2006 became a celebration of the blue and white flags. Finland's Janne Happonen returned to the series by winning both of the competitions held in Hakuba (JPN) last weekend. Antonin Hajek (CZE) managed the first GP podium finishes of his career by placing third on both days.
In the Grand Prix standings, Wolfgang Loitzl (AUT) - who was second in last year's tournament - now leads with 404 points, 47 points ahead of Simon Ammann (SUI) and 59 points ahead of Adam Malysz (POL). There are two competitions remaining in this year's tournament: in Klingenthal (GER) on 30th September and in Oberhof (GER) on 3rd October.
|Ingrid Hirschofer (AUT)|
An exciting 2006 Grass Skiing season has now finished. The international calendar kicked off at the end of May with a series of FIS races held in Altenseebach (GER), Traisen and Bad Tatzmannsdorf (AUT), Frais (ITA) and Wilhelmsburg (AUT). The first highlight event was the FIS Junior World Championships in Horn” Lhota (CZE) which featured competitors from nine countries. Despite the short preparation time, all participants and friends of Grass Skiing were delighted by the high standard of the event. The JWSC also showed that the sport can look forward to exciting competitions with highly talented athletes far into the future!
The JWSC were followed by the innovations in this year`s schedule: the Swiss Tour and Bohemia Cup, both of which exceeded all expectations. On the Swiss Tour, five FIS races took place in four days in Bmmeli and Marbach (SUI) while the Bohemia Cup hosted the Grass Skiing family in the Czech Republic for ten days. Following a FIS race in Branna, the pre-WSC took place in Olesnice v Orlickych horach and the Cup culminated in the first Grass Skiing World Cup race in Ceske Petrovice.
Bad weather in Hochstckli (SUI) forced the cancellation of the second World Cup event (slalom). The World Cup finals held in Forni di Sopra (ITA) were dedicated to the speed disciplines as a giant slalom and two super-Gs took place.
The stars of the Grass Skiing season included Ingrid Hirschofer (AUT), FIS World Cup champion in the ladies, and Jan Nemec (CZE), the FIS World Cup winner along with his main challengers Edoardo Frau and Fausto Cerentin (ITA). The Czech Republic won the team competition in Forni di Sopra narrowly ahead of the Italian team.
Experiences from this season highlight the need to change the World Cup bonus points system for next year. There is also a need to concentrate resources on developing Grass Skiing equipment. Moreover, integration of new countries (RUS, LTV) will need the Committee's help, as will international camps and children's competitions.
Contributed by Jir” Russwurm
|Sarah Lewis and Yoshiro Ito|
|Sapporo 2007 mascot Norkey|
Beautiful, sunny and warm late summer days in the city of Sapporo greeted the participants to the Final Inspection for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships just 5 months - or 163 days to be precise - before the event gets underway. A significant milestone for the FIS Nordic Disciplines, this will be the first time the championships will be staged in Japan and Asia.*
Two days of technical inspections together with the host broadcaster as well as preparatory discussions preceded the seven-hour general meeting. Following the opening by FIS Vice President, President of the Japanese Ski Association (SAJ) and Vice President of the Sapporo Organizing Committee, Yoshiro Ito, General Secretary Hishashi Sasaki led the 161-page presentation. The respective OC department directors presented their status reports with detailed diagrams, charts and explanatory comments as the FIS Technical Delegates, Race Directors and Marketing and Communications Director as well as the EBU and APF representatives added their feedback. Constructive dialogue and collaboration between all parties summarizes the spirit of cooperation among the parties.
A special highlight of the championships will be the events that will take place in the magnificent Sapporo Dome, including the Opening Ceremony on Thursday 22nd February. The Dome is a flexible multi-purpose facility which can be set up with different surfaces and is home to the city's successful baseball team the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and the football team Sapporo Konsadore as well as numerous other events. It is quite appropriate for a nation renowned for being at the forefront of innovation to host the first indoor ski championships competitions, including the Cross-Country individual and team sprint and the Nordic Combined sprint events, at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
Yoshiro Ito concluded: "We are satisfied with the assessment from the Final Inspection and can now refine our preparations in the short time left before the championships commence. The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships is Sapporo represent a vital opportunity to promote Nordic Skiing in Japan and Asia, and we are determined to make the most of it".
Representatives from the Organizing Committees of Liberec and Oslo, hosts of the championships in 2009 and 2011, attended the events, notably through the FIS Technical Delegates in Sapporo for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, Roman Kumpost and Torgeir Nordby, who will transfer their knowledge and experiences to their respective teams in the Czech Republic and Norway after the conclusion of the 2007 championships.
*This statistic does not include when the championships were still part of the Olympic Winter Games.
|Planning the Final Climb|
Less than four months remain until the start of the FIS Tour de Ski 2006/2007 on December 29th, 2006. During the past week and a half, a team of Tour Board members led by FIS Race Director Cross-Country Jrg Capol visited all the future Tour sites to discuss the status of the preparations with the local organizing committees and to iron out the final logistical details.
"I was pleased to see how well the inaugural FIS Tour de Ski is coming together. While we still have some hard work ahead of us, each Tour venue has an enthusiastic organizational team that fully stands behind the concept and is making solid progress towards our common objectives," noted Capol. Compared to regular Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country races, the Tour poses new organizational challenges, starting from a single entry process to a shared Tour accreditation and to a single prize money pot that will only be awarded after the last Stage. Logistically, especially the last Stage - the Final Climb in Val di Fiemme - where the winners will reach the Tour's summit requires highly detailed planning.
Key participants at the site inspections were the responsible host broadcasters. "For us in Germany, the first Tour de Ski will surely represent one of the highlights of our winter sport coverage and we plan to profile it strongly," commented Steffen Lunkenheimer, responsible editor for sports at Bayerischer Rundfunk/ARD. "We think the idea is excellent but like a flower, it needs to be tended to properly." Ensuring consistently high-quality TV production of the FIS Tour de Ski is one of such measures. For this, the Tour's host broadcasters will come together for a special Tour TV Seminar under the auspices of FIS later on this fall.
|Looze & Fitzgerald with Minister Chong|
It was all hands on deck last Tuesday and Wednesday, as key VANOC officials, including Eric Fremont, VANOC Manager for Freestyle and Snowboard, Joseph Fitzgerald, FIS Coordinator for Freestyle and Marcel Looze, FIS Snowboard Race Director, together with representatives from the Canadian Snowsports Association (CSSA) and Canadian Snowboard Federation (CSF) including Dave Pym and Tom McIllfaterick, reviewed the developments at Cypress Mountain. They were accompanied by The Hon. Michael Chong, Canadian Minister for Sport and Intergovernmental Affairs, whose visit followed the announcement last week by Canadian provincial and federal governments of an extra 110 million CDN dollars in funding for VANOC.
Cypress Mountain, the to-be-site of Snowboard and Freestyle Skiing competitions in 2010, is located in North Vancouver and will be the only snow sport venue in the greater Vancouver area.
Joe Fitzgerald commented: "It is great to see how far VANOC has progressed. Basically, they have finished constructing the mogul and aerial courses on time and on budget. The final grading of the courses should be finished in two weeks. The snow making and lighting will be completed next summer. It is pleasing that the Cypress Mountain venue will feature outstanding courses for the events and include all the necessary sport facilities for the 2010 Games relatively inexpensively, due to the great location and the small footprint of the courses. It was good to understand that’the athletes will stay in the Olympic Village in Vancouver, where there is lots of room.'' He added: "I was also able to observe the Snowboard courses and think that without too much work, the snowboardcross course can be easily converted into a ski cross course, if that event gets added to the program."
Marcel Looze noted: "Work for the three Snowboard disciplines is just starting. While a lot remains to be done, the situation is totally under control by VANOC and Eric Fremont's team at Cypress. The plans by Jeff Ihaksi for the snowboardcross course look great. I am also glad that we will be taking advantage of some synergies: while the pipe in Cypress is being built, new pipes will also be built in Calgary and Quebec according to the same specifications, all under the supervision of Steve Petrie who is doing a wonderful job!"
To prepare well for the 2010 Games, VANOC and FIS are currently looking for an appropriate test event in the 2008/2009 season. An ideal option could be organizing the World Cup finals for both disciplines, which would require all the events on the program of the Olympic Winter Games to take place in nine days.
|Saturday's Alpencup winners|
Der Alpencup (,The Alpine Cup"), a series of international Ski Jumping competitions for juniors under the age of 19, began in Einsiedeln (SUI) with the first two of the total of six competitions held last weekend. 61 athletes, representing the six Alpine countries of Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland, were at start. In fabulous conditions, the first competition on the Swisscom hill (HS 77) was won by Thomas Thurnbichler (AUT) while on Sunday, it was the turn of Manuel Poppinger (AUT) to take home the honors on the AKAD hill (HS 117). A highlight of the event was the new hill distance record set by 16-year-old Tobias Bogner (GER) with his jump of 119m. For more details, please visit www.einsiedlerschanzen.ch.
|Professor Roald Bahr|
Interview with Roald Bahr
As of this season, FIS is launching an Injury Surveillance System (ISS) for all FIS disciplines. The research for the FIS ISS is led by the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC) and supported by research partner DJO Incorporated,’a global medical device company’specializing in rehabilitation and regeneration products including the DonJoy brand's products. Roald Bahr, MD PhD and Chair of the OSTRC, is overseeing the research project, in close coordination with the FIS ISS Steering Committee and FIS Medical Committee.
"I am delighted to see FIS as the governing body for the sport of skiing to take the problem of injuries in its sports seriously. By focusing on systematically collecting data on all injuries across the disciplines, FIS will be able to develop the means to prevent injuries effectively in the near future," Professor Bahr commented.
Excited to launch the project at the start of the season, Professor Bahr happily answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the FIS ISS. For more information, download the project brochure here or email the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is the main objective of the FIS ISS?
A: The project is aimed at reducing the number of injuries suffered by elite athletes in the FIS disciplines. As long as we do not fully understand why injuries happen and what the risk factors are, we cannot suggest effective preventive measures. By gathering reliable data in a concerted, systematic manner, we can begin to see injury patterns and decipher trends in injury risk across FIS disciplines. We will also be able to provide background data for in-depth studies on the causes of injury for particular injury types in specific disciplines, for example knee injuries in alpine skiing and head injuries in snowboarding.
Q. Which races and disciplines does the FIS ISS apply to?
A. The FIS ISS covers all FIS disciplines that are on the program of the Olympic Winter Games, from Cross-Country Skiing to Snowboarding. It also covers all FIS races, from the World Cups to Continental Cups and beyond. For the best results, we need as complete data as possible from all competitions, but especially from the World Cup events.
Q. What is different about the FIS ISS compared to the existing injury reporting system?
A. The biggest difference is the updated Injury Report. The new form was designed to make injury reporting simpler and less time-consuming (less writing, more check boxes!) but also more structured and more easily comparable. Unlike in the past, we will also be validating the data by interviewing the teams and their medical staff to check on the number of injuries during and after the season.
Q. What has remained the same in comparison to past seasons?
A. The definition of an injury has not changed. As before, we need an Injury Report on all injuries that occur during competition or official training and require attention by medical personnel. This means that if an injured athlete is seen or attended to by the race doctor, ski patrol or his own team's medical staff, we would like the injury to be recorded. Also, the Technical Delegate will still, as always, carry the main responsibility for supervising the collection of Injury Reports and sending them to the FIS Office.
Q. What if some data is missing from the Injury Report - should it still be submitted?
A. Yes, for the FIS ISS project, it is critical to get a complete picture of all injuries that happen each season. Please report the injury even if some details may be missing. There is the option of ticking the box for "I don't know" regarding specific injury details on the new form. The project team will work to fill out the missing details.
Q. Is any other information required beyond the Injury Report?
A. To determine how injuries actually happened, and thereby to better understand how they could be prevented, audiovisual evidence will be extremely helpful. This includes TV coverage but also videos taken by coaches and other team members. The ISS project team will obtain the material as long as they have the contact information for those who have it.
Q. When can we expect to see some results from the FIS ISS?
A. Injury reporting is not new and this type of a data collection project is by default a long-time undertaking. FIS as the governing body for the sport of skiing has a responsibility to understand and document the risk in its sports given the developments in equipment and techniques. From the FIS ISS, we can expect the first results to be available in a year's time when we have data describing the risk of injury in the various disciplines such as what types of injuries, how serious were they and how often did they happen. In two year's time, when we'll have a season-to-season comparison, we can start to see some trends and can then raise the first red flags for injury prevention.