FIS Newsflash interviewed FIS Nordic Combined Race Director Lasse Ottesen about his vision for the discipline, the development of ladies’ Nordic Combined and the upcoming Olympic season.
In early July, the IOC Executive Board agreed on the programme for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne (SUI) and it includes the addition of ladies’ Nordic Combined, a big milestone for the discipline. What are your thoughts?
We are extremely happy that the ladies have been included on the programme of the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2020 – a key step has been made. In the past years, we have worked very hard to develop the ladies’ side of Nordic Combined together with the National Ski Associations and will continue this good work in the coming years.
Besides establishing the ladies’ side of Nordic Combined, what kind of developments are planned to develop the discipline?
We will continue to develop the discipline together with the National Ski Associations and our trusted Organising Committees with a main focus on promoting the athletes and the various events. The coming season will also see an upgrade to the TV product.
What is your vision?
Along with the worldwide development of Nordic Combined, our ambitious vision is to see both genders, ladies and men, compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and to have 20 nations participating.
The men are gearing up for the first Grand Prix competitions on 19th and 20th August in Oberwiesenthal (GER). What can we look forward to and what’s new this year?
The Summer Grand Prix has enjoyed very positive developments over the past years. This year, all Nordic Combined nations including all their stars will be at the start. We are expecting 25’000-30’000 spectators in total. Following competitions in Tschagguns (AUT) and Oberstdorf (GER), new Grand Prix Organiser Planica (SLO) will celebrate its debut and we are really looking forward to exciting competitions in the new highly acclaimed Nordic Centre there.
The Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang are on the horizon. From your point of view, who will be fighting for the medals?
The Olympic Winter Games are always something very special for everyone involved. It is difficult to predict any results. Last season, Germany was the nation to beat, but we also saw strong performances from Japan, Norway, France, Italy and Austria. Furthermore, nations including the Czech Republic, Poland, Finland and Slovenia all delivered good results from young up and coming athletes. I am sure we will see fair and exciting competitions in PyeongChang with a great fight for the medals all the way to the finish line.
What did you do this summer to recharge your batteries?
I spent two weeks in Croatia with my family and one week in Denmark at a football tournament, so my batteries are fully charged for an exciting season :-)