TT - Ottesen: "One of the most exciting seasons in the history of Nordic Combined"
With the Olympics in Sochi and the brand-new Nordic Combined Triple coming up, Nordic Combined is gearing up for one of its most exciting seasons ever. Race Director Lasse Ottesen sat down with us for the latest TUESDAY TALK to walk us through the most recent developments before the season kicks off in Kuusamo at the end of November.
It's only about 5 weeks until the season begins in earnest. With what kinds of things are you busy with right now in this last phase of preparation?
Lasse Ottesen: After our Committee meeting in Zürich on Oct 5th, all changes in rules and regulations are now confirmed for the upcoming season. Right now, the updates of the COC, WC and ICR rules are prepared, the quotas for the 1st period sent out and the final discussions with Swiss Timing are going on to establish and update the TV graphics. I will also be heading to Korea for the first OWG 2018 inspection, and the Final Inspection in Sochi is coming up on Nov 12th.
With the Olympics and also the new Nordic Combined Triple, there are two season highlights waiting this winter. What would you say are the main differences in running these competitions and can you say which one you are more excited for?
Ottesen: The 2013/14 season will be very exiting and interesting. The introduction of "The TRIPLE" in Seefeld is going to be a lot of fun. This is the premiere and we hope that we will have great weather and conditions in Seefeld. It will be very interesting to see our new World Cup highlight come to life. So far, the feedback from the media, athletes/coaches and spectators has been very good.
The Olympic Winter Games are the biggest event of the season for the Nordic Combined athletes. We had some issues in our last two Olympics which will not happen again. We are well prepared and together with the OC Sochi we will host great events for the whole world to take part in.
I am equally exited for both of the events, and we are looking forward to one of the most exiting seasons in Nordic Combined history.
After the test during the Summer Grand Prix, the rules for the Triple are now set. How satisfied are you with the whole setup?
Ottesen: I am very happy with the TRIPLE rules and regulations. This summer showed us that it will be a fight all the way to the finish line on Sunday. The rules are simple, we are using our normal formats, the normal points system and the athletes are taking the results with them from one day to the next.
You can find Lasse's first recap during the Triple test in the summer here:
The season will kick off in Kuusamo, Finland again. What's the special challenge about this venue and why have you decided to open the winter with a team event?
Ottesen: Kuusamo has been the Nordic Opening for more then 10 seasons, so we know the venue, conditions and atmosphere very well. The challenge with Kuusamo is that is can be very cold and windy for the first World Cup of the season. But in the last seasons we have seen some great events and I am sure that we will have a great start of the 2013/14 season again. We decided to start this Olympic season with a Team event to build the "patriotic" feelings a bit. Feedback from the athletes on this event is good and it is a great way to start the Olympic season with a lot of team spirit.
With Chaikovskiy, a new venue ascends to the status of World Cup venue this winter, having only hosted Continental Cups so far. What do you expect for this Russian World Cup weekend?
Ottesen: Russia is currently the nation on the Nordic Tour that is investing the most in new venues. Nishny Tagil, Sochi and Chaikovsky are all brand-new venues with top of the art facilities for Nordic Skiing. They hosted a great Continental Cup last season and I am expecting that we will have a new and great organizer on our Continental Cup and World Cup calendar in the future.
In addition to Chaikovskiy, Trondheim is also back on the World Cup calendar, giving Nordic Combined a packed "Nordic Tour" at the end of the winter with Lahti, Trondheim, Oslo and the pre-World Championship test in Falun. What was the thought behind this?
Ottesen: First of all, it was a wish of Trondheim and the Norwegian Ski Association to bring Nordic Combined back to Trondheim. Trondheim is also the home of several National Team athletes so it will hopefully be a great event with lots of spectators. Oslo is one of the highlights of the season, but with a full Nordic weekend there is only time for one Nordic Combined event in Holmenkollen this season. Falun is hosting the WSC in 2015, and it will be a great test event for all disciplines in March 2014. We are also discussing with the three Ski Associations of Norway, Sweden and Finland at the moment regarding a "Nordic Tour" in the future.