The 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships presented by Stora Enso got underway today, 22nd
February in Lahti (FIN) with two Cross Country qualification events in the men’s ladies’ sprint competitions, in addition to the Opening Ceremony, kicking off 12 days of action.
The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will include 12 medal events for Cross Country, five medal events for Ski Jumping and four medal events in Nordic Combined. In total, 21 gold medals will be handed out when the Championships officially conclude with the men’s 50 km Cross Country race on 5th March.
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper and Secretary General Sarah Lewis met the media for the official opening press conference together with the CEO of the Lahti 2017 Organsing Committee Janne Leskinen where the two discussed the next two weeks of Nordic action. This evening both were on hand for the Opening Ceremony, which also kicked off the 100 Year’s celebration for Finland’s Independence.
In total, 61 nations are taking part in this year’s edition of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, with the biggest team, Norway bringing 41 athletes and the furthest away nation being Tonga with one athlete and a 16,000 kilometre trip. All in all, 683 athletes have entered to participate in the 2017 World Championships with 464 in Cross Country, 146 in Ski Jumping and 71 in Nordic Combined.
“Lahti has such a rich Nordic tradition, this is their seventh time hosting the Nordic World Ski Championships, which speaks for the passion of the region and country for Nordic skiing, as well as the strength of the Organisers, who have worked tirelessly to make these Championships the best-ever staged in Lahti,” said President Kasper.
All 21 medal competitions, in addition to the qualification events, will be held at the Salpausselka Stadium, which features completely renovated ski jumps and new cross-country tracks that will be at the disposal of the public after the championships. The medal ceremonies will be held each evening in downtown Lahti, in the main town square with a full line-up of entertainment at the venue.
Leskinen commented, “We have worked very hard in the last few years to bring fans of Nordic skiing an unforgettable experience, both when they arrive on site and when they are watching the action on TV. We are especially proud that we are an integral part of the 100 Years Celebration of Finnish Independence in 2017, and look forward to starting those celebrations off in style.”
The first medals will be handed out tomorrow in the Cross-Country sprint events. Ladies’ Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined will have their first medal events on Friday, while the men’s Ski Jumping athletes take centre stage on Saturday.
Already the Lahti 2017 Organisers have announced that 160,000 tickets have been sold for the 12 days of competitions. They have even added another 3,000 seats to accommodate the high demand. Saturday, 25th February is already a total sell-out with more than 35,000 fans expected.
The host broadcast operation is being carried out by YLE (Finnish Television) with all races produced in HDTV. EBU (European Broadcasting Union), the media and marketing rights holder, reported that the World Championships will be broadcast in more than 55 countries with more than 1’500 representatives across television, print and online media present in Lahti including 18 television stations and nine radio stations on-site.
The international commercial partners secured by the EBU’s marketing sales company Tridem Sports include: Stora Enso (Presenting Sponsor) and International Sponsors: Viessmann, LiquiMoly, Veltins, Luhta; Paroc, Audi, Bauhaus, Helvetia, Intersport and Polar.