As customary after the big FIS Spring Meetings, Race Director Lasse Ottesen sat down to discuss the most important decision coming out of the Nordic Combined Committee meeting, as well as the immediate future with one of the biggest Summer Grand Prixs to date coming up in August.
With five venues split across only three weeks, Nordic Combined faces one of the most intense Summer Grand Prix ever in 2019. Why is this competition series so important and what will be the highlights to look forward this summer?
Lasse Ottesen: We have had many applications to host Summer Grand Prix events and are very happy about this interest. This year’s compact events will be very interesting, with the highlight being the first ever Mixed Team event in Oberwiesenthal without a doubt.
The ladies can also look forward to a drastically extended Summer Grand Prix Tour with five competitions at the three venues of Oberwiesenthal, Klingenthal and Oberhof.
Other big points to mention are the 10th anniversary SGP edition this year in Oberwiesenthal and Nordic Combined’s comeback to Oberhof after an absence of almost 10 years. The venue will host the men, the women and the FIS Youth Cup, making it one of the biggest Nordic Combined gatherings ever.
Speaking of the Mixed Team event: it will also be introduced in the JWSC programme, starting already this season. Why was it important to the Committee to include event?
Ottesen: The Mixed Team is the next step in the Nordic Combined development. We have seen great development with the Nordic Combined Ladies the last years and we are very excited to introduce the Mixed Team already this summer and then as a medal event at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Oberwiesenthal (GER). The Mixed Team will give more nations the chance to enter a team in the future.
The Nordic Combined Committee also decided to adapt the season highlight of the TRIPLE. Can you explain the reasoning behind this decision?
Ottesen: The Triple has had a very good appeal in its first years and has given us a great World Cup highlight. Now we wanted to do a small adjustment in the format to make it even more exiting for the years to come with more spectacular action on the cross-country track on the last day, while involving more athletes and nations.
Probably the biggest news to come out of the meeting was the presentation of a first Nordic Combined World Cup calendar for ladies for the 2020/21 season. Are you happy with the progress of the development of Ladies’ Nordic Combined?
Ottesen: We are thrilled to be able to present the first draft of a Nordic Combined Ladies World Cup Calendar. This is on schedule according to our strategy document and we are looking forward to present our Ladies to the world.
How will the FIS work proceed over the summer?
Ottesen: Now, inspections and technical meetings are coming up, as well as a TD Seminar for Nordic Combined officials in Wisla (POL). After an intense Summer Grand Prix in August, the Nordic Combined Committee will meet again in Zürich to finalise some decisions and prepare for the winter.