FIS - Can you imagine a better job than FIS Race Director? What makes the job as race director so interesting?
SP – Absolutely not. I’m very honoured to be the FIS Race Director for Ski Jumping. I have a huge passion for this sport. It’s a pleasure that I can work with so many professional people, teams, organizers, partners and colleagues with different backgrounds and from different nations. In the end we are a great family, that is trying to do the best for our great sport.
What did you enjoy most about last winter?
SP – The season was a challenge. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation the protocols for competitions changed almost every weekend but I’m very happy that we pushed through thanks to our great teamwork. We had many different winners during this season, which shows that our competitions are very open, fiercely competitive and that everything can happen. Taking all this into account it was a big excitement this year. The highlight was the big final of the season in Plancia.
How will you remember the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing 2022?
SP – We honestly admit, that we had some challenges during the team competition in Beijing 2022 and of course we are addressing this. Apart from that, I will never forget the amazing large hill competition that we had. It was a very emotional event with a thrilling competition until the very last jumper. What a great moment to present our sport to the world. All in all it has been an interesting opportunity to visit China and our amazing venue there was one of the highlights during the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing 2022. We are trying our best and plan to be back in China in order to develop our sport also in this big country.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in ski jumping for the coming season?
SP – We will work in many areas. One area is the equipment as we want to present a fair sport to everybody. Currently we are working very hard to prepare precise rules and a control system that will be more transparent in the future. We always want to grow our sport and if we manage to implement our improvements, we’ll move in the right direction. The standards are already high as we had a fully complete calendar last season with top level competitions.
What will be the most exciting change/novelty in the coming winter?
SP – We’ll have at least two exciting changes. First, we will allow for the first time ever a FIS Ski Flying competition for women. This is a huge step for our sport. Secondly, we would like to come up with a completely new concept. The calendar for the upcoming winter is a step into the future for Ski Jumping. The opening competitions of the 2022/2023 winter season will be held with an ice inrun track and a green (plastic) landing hill for the first time ever in the Ski Jumping World Cup. This sends a very clear message to the world that ski jumping is sustainable and can be a four season sport all year long.