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Voices of New Sub-Committee Chairmen: Erik Roste
Following the FIS Congress in Kangwonland (KOR), the FIS Council appointed several new Sub-Committee Chairmen. In today’s edition, FIS Newsflash continues to present their initial thoughts as they embark on their new tasks for the 2012-2014 period.
Erik Roste, Sub-Committee Chairman for Cross-Country World Cup and Continental Cups:
In June I was appointed as Chairman after being a member of the Committee since 2004.
I have been involved in skiing in general and specifically Cross-Country Skiing since I started as a coach in my local club in 1977. At that time I was 17 years old. I studied sports at the Norwegian University of Sports, with Cross-Country as the main sport. From 1990 to 1998 I was employed by the Norwegian Ski Association as a coach for various national teams, in the past four years as sports director and coach of the men’s A-team. I’ve worked in the sports industry since 1998, but I’ve always kept a strong connection to skiing. In 1998 I was elected to the Sub-Committee for Popular Cross-Country Skiing for six years before I was elected to the Sub-Committee for World and Continental Cups.
Cross-Country skiing has undergone a great development in the last 20 years, perhaps the biggest change that any sport has undergone in such a short time ever in history. This has been a challenging processes first well led by the former chairman of the Cross-Country Committee Odd Martinsen together with Bengt Erik Bengtsson before the baton was passed on to the dream team of Vegard Ulvang and Jürg Capol 10 years ago. I will not go into all of the changes. The story is familiar to all of you, and my conclusion is that the changes of Cross-Country skiing would not be possible without the contributions of many in the international Cross-Country family. In recent years it can be characterised by a high degree of harmony, where everyone has been keen to find good solutions for the benefit of the future of the sport more than what is best for their own nation’s athletes. Many people have contributed to these discussions. Without this we would never have been where we are today where Cross-Country Skiing popularity has exploded in recent years and the television numbers have reached new heights.
With this in mind, my main goals as a newly appointed Chairman of the Sub-Committee can be summarized in five points:
1. In the short term, the next two to four years, I believe that we must develop the concept that we now have. It’s time for consolidation. After many changes in a short time, there is a need to adjust the various forms of competition. What works well and what does not work so well. Some have found their form, whereas when it comes to others, you may need to make adjustments. One example is what will be tested at Holmenkollen in the upcoming winter, with an extra loop for those who choose to change skis during the mass start competition.
2. Facing the commercial world we live in, Cross-Country has to fight for attention with all the other sports. Those sports featuring the best product will win. It's very much about TV exposure and television viewers. I think that some of the most important aspects we can focus on in future are to develop our Organisers and our television product. We have very many good ones, but also some who do not meet the requirements in 2012.
3. The task the World Cup Committee spends most of its time on is the four-year rolling calendars. I am of the opinion that we mainly need to develop regular Organisers to build up skills. This is the best way to develop our product. In addition, there should be room for new places from time to time, but it must first and foremost be a continuity of the organising venues.
4. We must also continue our efforts to introduce a Multi Stage World Ski Championship the years when there is no Nordic World Ski Championship or Olympics. This was adopted by the Congress in 2010 following a general agreement in the FIS Cross Country Committee, but in view of the current agreements, it will most probably not be possible until at least 2020. Cross-Country loses unfortunately much attention these years. A thought may be to move the Tour de Ski to February 2016. The Tour de Ski will be the 2016 season’s highlight and major goals for most of our best athletes. This could be an interesting discussion.
I hope that as Chairman of the Sub-Committee, I can contribute to constructive discussions where there is room for everyone and where the focus always should be on what we think is best for Cross-Country skiing.
I'm really looking forward to working with all of the Committee members and also with the 'new' but very experienced team in Cross-Country: Pierre Mignerey, Sandra Spitz and Michal Lamplot well supported by the FIS Office in Oberhofen. The commitment they show to their work is absolutely fantastic. That is very good for the future of Cross-Country skiing.