On eve of the Four-Hills Tournament on 29th December in Oberstdorf (GER), FIS caught up with Ski Jumping Race Director Walter Hofer to get his latest insights on the Tournament, the FIS World Cup tour and the Olympics.
We are looking ahead to the 66th edition of the prestigious Four-Hills Tournament. What has kept Tournament so attractive throughout the years?
First of all, tradition and the period around New Year´s Eve are the basic elements for this premium contest. Secondly, for all parties and persons involved, it is a very busy and stressful but very exciting sprint between four different sites within ten days. Last but not least, it is the most prestigious series within the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup.
How would you describe the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup season so far?
We have seen very well organised events at the five venues we have visited in Wisla (POL), Ruka (FIN), Nizhny Tagil (RUS), Titisee-Neustadt (GER) and Engelberg (SUI). It has been a great and exciting season to date, especially as there were five different winners.
In your role as Race Director, how do you keep the sport attractive?
The most significant element is the extraordinary performance of the athletes which needs to be presented in the right way to be attractive for public and media.
What are the biggest challenges the discipline is facing?
Ski Jumping is an outdoor sport and we are depending on weather conditions.
With some 50 days left until the start of the Olympic Winter Games, what can we expect from the Ski Jumping competitions in PyeongChang?
Ski Jumping in PyeongChang will be contested from 8th-19th February, with medals awarded in four different events: Men's normal hill, ladies’ normal hill, men’s large hill and men’s team large hill.
The venue – the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre located in the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster – was successfully tested when both, the ladies’ and men’s World Cup tours stopped there in February. It is in excellent shape and after an extensive period of preparations, everyone involved is very much looking forward to the start of the events.
What is the latest news from there?
Members of the hill crew from the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee visited us at the World Cup events in Engelberg last weekend to brief us on the latest developments, both in preparing and carrying out competitions at the highest level.
Last but not least, tell us one thing every spectator should know about Ski Jumping.
Ski jumpers are flying down the landing slope without any form of artificial energy. Only gravity, leg power and aerodynamic movements make them fly, so Ski Jumping is a purely green sport.