|News from the World of Skiing|
Three Questions to Marcel Looze ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Marlies Schild (AUT)|
|Benjamin Raich (AUT)|
Benjamin Raich (AUT) celebrated his 24th World Cup and 11th World Cup slalom victory last weekend in Levi (FIN) where he dominated the field in the opening event of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup. Raich prevailed on the "Levi Black" course before Markus Larsson (SWE) and Giorgio Rocca (ITA), the 2006 FIS slalom World Cup champion.
Jens Byggmark, also of Sweden and at 21 years of age the youngest Top 10 finisher, finished sixth in his fifth ever World Cup start .
In the ladies' World Cup season opener on Saturday, Marlies Schild led an Austrian sweep of the podium, with Nicole Hosp in 2nd and Kathrin Zettel in 3rd place. This was the first all-Austrian podium since 1990. The young Croatian talent Ana Jelusic was 4th, narrowly missing her first podium in her best World Cup performance so far. Susanne Riesch (GER), aged 18 and the younger sister of Maria Riesch, came in 5th in her 2nd World Cup start.
For the Raich-Schild couple, it was the first time they won on the same course on one weekend. Last season both won races on the same weekend but not in the same venue.
The next men's events - a downhill and a super-g - will take place in Lake Louise (CAN). The next ladies' races are planned in two weeks at Aspen (USA).
|Florian Mausser (AUT)|
10'000 fans saw Matevz Petek (SLO) win the first big air in the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup 2006/2007, held at the Olympic stadium in Stockholm (SWE). Petek triumphed in the big final against Peetu Piiroinen (FIN). This was the first Snowboarding event staged in the Swedish capital following the highly successful FIS Cross-Country World Cup sprint races staged there earlier. Aged 18, the Finnish freestyler was the youngest snowboarder in the finals of the best 16 qualifiers that applied the ˙new rules using the knock-out-format for the first time. In the semi-finals, Piiroinen relegated his team mate Risto Mattila to the small final (3rd and 4th), while Petek won against Florian Mausser of Austria. In the small final, Mattila successfully competed against Mausser taking the last place on the podium. For complete results, click here.
|Benjamin Raich (AUT)|
Benjamin Raich has received yet another award to honor his enormously successful 2005/2006 season. The Association of Alpine Ski Journalists last week named Raich the Best Alpine Skier last season. This prestigious award, known as the Serge-Lang-Trophy or Alpine Skieur d'Or, will compliment his two Olympic gold medals from Turin and the large crystal globe denoting his overall World Cup victory last season. Raich received a majority of the vote from the AIJS membership, clearly ahead of Ted Ligety (USA) and Anja Prson (SWE). Last year, he ranked third behind Bode Miller (USA) and Prson.
|"Dundret" ski area|
After a very successful World Cup kick-off in the German metropolis of Dsseldorf, the next Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country event will take place in Scandinavia, Gllivare (SWE) this coming weekend 18th-19th November.
Gllivare - situated about 70km north of the Arctic Circle - will be hosting the Cross-Country World Cup for the third time. "Everything is ready in Gllivare. We received some 35 cm of snow in the night from Saturday to Sunday on top of the man-made snow already on our courses and the forecast calls for more snow for the rest of the week," said Lars-Gunnar Pettersen, Chief of Competition in Gllivare. "After 1995 and 2004, when we stood in for stersund, it is an honor for us to host the FIS World Cup again."
In Gllivare, the competition schedule includes individual start distance races in the free technique on Saturday and relays on Sunday. At least 26 nations will be at start in the "Dundret" ski area, named after the largest mountain (823m) of Gllivare. The field includes 104 men and 87 ladies, among them such local heros as Lina Andersson, Olympic Champion in Team Sprint, Charlotte Kalla, 2005 Junior World Champion in Pursuit, and Marcus Hellner.
|FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI)|
The FIS Council will meet for its traditional Autumn Meeting at the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI) on Friday, 17th November. Among its deliberations will be such topics as requests for financial support, various proposals and requests from the National Ski Associations and FIS Committees relating to rules, regulations and applications to host events, as well as review of the World Cup calendars for the 2007/2008 season proposed by the respective Technical Committees and setting the amounts for prize money paid out as from the 2007/2008 season.
The Council will also be considering substitutions to FIS Committee members for the current two-year period of 2006 - 2008, requests for changes of National Ski Association international license and applications for membership of FIS. Finally the Council will also select, from among ten candidates, the host of the 47th International Ski Congress in 2010. A short summary of the Council's most important decisions will be published in FIS Newsflash next week.
The organizers of the FIS World Championships in 2007 are required to provide free training days (600 each in Alpine and Nordic, 200 each in Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding) for the benefit of eligible member National Ski Associations in the FIS Aid and Promotion development program. The same requirement also applies to candidates for the FIS World Championships in which case 200 training days are required for all Alpine and Nordic candidates.
This program is highly appreciated by the participating National Ski Associations and has given significant benefits to the participating teams and their athletes, enabling such activities as a pre-championship training camp that would otherwise be outwith their means. To date, a total of 304 training days have been allocated during the season 2006/2007 to the 27 National Ski Associations that registered to participate in the training day program in Are (SWE), Sapporo (JPN), Madonna di Campiglio (ITA), Arosa (SUI) or in La Molina (SPA).
One free training day includes free accommodation, three meals and free access to all training facilities for one athlete. Overall value of these free training days based on a valuation of CHF 100 per day amounts to more than CHF 30'000.
In the world of sport's efforts to combat doping, WADA's mission to realize this objective led to the organization of a symposium to discuss ways in which anti-doping organizations can ensure how proper investigations can proceed in liaison with governments and other agencies. Hosted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the US Olympic Committee (USOC) in Colorado Springs (USA) on 14th - 15th November 2006, the FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis was one of a small number of international sport federation (IF) representatives invited to participate. Representatives from other IFs, National Anti-Doping Agencies, Governments as well legal experts listened to case studies highlighting such cooperation, shared experiences and discussed future models to extend assistance in efforts to fight the scourge of doping in sport.
Possibly as the first National Ski Association, Swiss-Ski has launched a series of Podcasts to inform the public about its teams' seasonal plans and goals. Published in fortnightly intervals, the Podcast series premiered with a season preview for the Swiss Alpine Skiing team two weeks ago. On November 9th, the second edition focused on Snowboard and included interviews and commentary by Olympic Champion Tanja Frieden, Granco Giovanoli, Head of Snowboard and Thomas Gurzeler, president of the Arosa 2007 FIS Snowboard World Championships organizing committee, among others.
Available at no charge from the Swiss-Ski web site or from itunes-store, the first Podcast in the series promptly made it on the Top 40 list of downloads by itunes Switzerland. It is possible to listen to the Swiss-Ski Podcasts directly on the web site, download them as MP3 files or subscribe to them as a regular Podcast feed. Swiss-Ski produces its Podcasts in cooperation with a specialist partner Swisscaster. The next episode in the series will be published on 30th November and will focus on Nordic Skiing.
Three Questions to Marcel Looze
The NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup started officially with an indoor parallel slalom in Landgraaf (NED) on 13th October, and then continued with a parallel giant slalom on the glacier in Soelden (AUT) on 21st-22nd October and most recently with the freestyle season opening big air in Stockholm (SWE) last weekend. FIS Newsflash asked Marcel Looze, FIS Race Director Snowboard, to share his thoughts into the new season.
FIS Newsflash: What is your general feeling about the 2006-2007 season?
Marcel Looze: So far, I am very happy with the way the season has started. Our two alpine events and the freestyle opener have all gone really well. We have a great team running the events, including a very knowledgeable team of FIS Technical Delegates and judges, our timing and data partner Swatch, our international media coordination partner Smaragd and our banner crew ASS. We slightly changed the role and responsibilities of the Technical Advisors for this season, and that is working out well. Most importantly, we have established excellent cooperation with the local organizing teams that are all very motivated to deliver great events and therefore also to work out solutions to any challenges we may encounter on the way. I would like to express a special thanks to our title sponsor NOKIA, who has been the partner for the FIS Snowboard World Cup for˙nine seasons and continues to come up with creative and dynamic initiatives for promoting the events which is great for the promotion of the sport. We are also very grateful for the regular support provided by Corona, our event sponsor partner.˙
FIS Newsflash: What is particular about this season?
Marcel Looze: Of course, it is the season after the Olympics, which means that there have been a few changes on the trainer side and in team management, and a few teams are faced with a challenging financial situation. The athletes are very motivated, however, and only a moderate number of athletes retired after Turin.
The fact that the FIS Snowboard World Championships will be held relatively early in the season means that qualification opportunities are few. That is˙why we have had such excellent participation in all three World Cups so far. The quality of the riders is also very high. In fact, the big air in Stockholm featured the biggest starting field ever as we had 63 competitors including all the European top names. In the Saas Fee half-pipe World Cup coming up, we have had to amend the schedule due to the starting field including over 130 competitors. Rather than having a single day event, we will now have the qualification on one day and the finals the following day.
Preparations for the 2007 World Championships in Arosa (SUI) are progressing well. The organizing team is very experienced and still being new in this job, I am quite happy to have the event so `close to home'. Most recently we have been working with the organizer and the host broadcaster Swiss TV to optimize broadcasting of the event. For example, we have added some new camera positions to ensure the audience can tell the difference in jump heights in half-pipe. And in snowboardcross we intend to build on the Turin success story by using new camera angles to make it easier to distinguish the different competitors as they race down the course.
FIS Newsflash: Are there any changes we should note?
Marcel Looze: From a rules perspective, the only novelty this season is the knock-out format that we premiered in the Stockholm big air. The new format was received very well by the public - in effect, we saw the audience show some real emotions at a few decisions. And the format proved itself also in terms of judging quality as the best rider that day won.
Otherwise the FIS Snowboard committee is continuing to work in the established direction. The biggest future refinements are likely to be in calendar planning where we aim to work towards fewer but higher quality events, especially in freestyle. That way we can ensure bigger audiences, more media attention and most importantly, the participation of all the best riders.