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The 38th Forum Nordicum in Klingenthal (Deutschland) - A review

on 2017-10-23

Just in the past week, the interest-community of Nordic ski journalists met in Klingenthal, for the 38th time. During this Forum Nordicum, the most important topics of and for the upcoming winter season were discussed. Our columnist Luis Holuch reports from this third appearance and starts this first of two parts with a summary of the happenings.

Luis on Ski Jumping Hill Tournament

By Ski Jumping Hill Archive author and photographer Luis Holuch

75 media representatives from 12 different nations – twice as much as last year – came together for this year’s Forum Nordicum. The annual meeting in the middle of October is the unofficial kick off for the journalists for the winter. Originally, it was initialized because journalists in the 1980’s were not satisfied with their working conditions and also wished for a better contact with the federations’ officials. Nowadays, it is a very useful meeting where information and experiences are being exchanged. The daily hours of presentations and speeches are always connected with a visit of cultural and culinary places during the evening.

The opening evening took place in the Vogtland Arena of Klingenthal. Besides a guided tour through the ski jumping hill facility, several (former) winter sport athletes from Saxony, like Jens Weißflog, came for the dinner. From the elite of active athletes, Nordic combined skier Björn Kircheisen and ski jumper Ulrike Gräßler attended. Gräßler spoke detailed about her life after a horrifying crash in Notodden (Norway) in December 2015. At this crash, Gräßler suffered a difficult knee injury, several broken rips and a broken collarbone. In the meantime, she came back to the hill and works on a comeback, while she sticks with cautious optimism. The difficulties of a crash is also topic that the surprise winner of the four hills tournament 2013/2014, Thomas Diethart, had to deal with after his crash in Brotterode 2017. The only difference to Gräßler’s issues, besides the time he could not jump, is that Diethart more had to deal with the mental influences, less than his actual injuries. But after a decent summer, Diethart has an optimistic view towards the future.

The following first conference day was almost all about biathlon. For the first time, German Eurosport commentator for biathlon and also athletics, Sigi Heinrich, took part of the Forum Nordicum. “Unfortunately, a little late”, he honestly admitted. Nevertheless, he took the stage in order to tell about his thoughts about the current situation of sports journalism. After his speech, several colleagues wanted to make their point about the topic and so a vivid discussion came on. The whole discussion, where also Luis Holuch took part of, can be found on the YouTube channel of “Avia-TV” and you can even understand it if you speak a bit of German (link: see below). The cultural part of the day was spend in the German museum of space flight at Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz and at the Wernersgrüner brewery.

The day after, also members of the International Ski Federation FIS were welcomed. Besides General Secretary Sarah Lewis, also Walter Hofer and Lasse Ottesen, the Race Directors of Ski Jumping Men and Nordic Combined attended. Sarah Lewis proved her clear view on the status of ski sports and also her language abilities as she spoke in German (Link: see below). Walter Hofer’s speech was one of three, which only dealt with ski jumping. Besides him, also fluege.de (which is back as a ski sponsor after a one-year-break) and Rass, the popular manufacturer of ski jumping boots gave an insight of their business. Also the members of the organizing committee of Willingen presented some new features, just as the “Willingen Five”. More details about the ski jumping related topics of the 38th Forum Nordicum are soon to come in the next article.

Lasse Ottesen put his focus especially on the development of Ladies’ Nordic Combined and went through the belonging paper once again (Link: see below). The upcoming season will be the debut season for the Continental Cup, which will take place in Otepää (Estonia), Rena (Norway) and Nizhniy Tagil (Russia). In addition to that, there will be a test competition at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships (JSWSC) in Kandersteg (Switzerland). Otherwise, than before and after, the ski jumping part will not take on a normal hill, but on a smaller, so called medium hill. The first goal of the officials is to include Ladies’ Nordic Combined in the programme of the FIS JWSC in 2019. Already confirmed is the participation at the Youth Olympic Games 2020 in Lausanne (Switzerland). This is supposed to be followed by the first World Cup season 2020/2021 and the participation at the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships 2021 in Oberstdorf. Final step should be the inclusion of the Olympic programme, which is planned for Beijing 2022.

In the afternoon, the World Cup hosts in the Black Forest informed about their upcoming winter. The delegation was lead by Hans-Peter Pohl, who guided the presentation as professional as used. He also made the audience laugh when he commented the fact that Schonach is host of the Nordic Combined World Cup Final during the last weekend of March with the words: “no matter if end of December, beginning of January or end of March, at our place the conditions are always similar…similar good.” As a closing of the part inside the conference room “Aschberg” of the IFA Ferienpark Schöneck/Vogtland a panel discussion about the situation of ski sport was held. Werner Rabe (former sport chief of German TV and radio station BR), former ski jumper Martin Schmitt (Eurosport expert), Jürg Capol (FIS Marketing), Hagen Boßdorf (sports management and marketing expert) and IOC Head of Communications for the German-speaking countries Christian Klaue discussed with help of the competent and entertaining Forum Nordicum coordinator Thorsten vom Wege (MDR radio).

Once again, the evening was split. At first, the media representatives visited the museum of music instrument factories in Markneukirchen. Divided into several groups, they went into the different workshops and were introduced into the art of building instruments. The manufacturers also explained how the different types of wood and their quality influence the quality of the sound of violins and guitars. Afterwards, the busses drove to the royal spa house of Bad Elster. There, the different types of spa, caring and healing opportunities and also the world of saunas and thermal springs in the small, but well-groomed village were presented.

The great hall of this house was also the location of the traditional FISCHER evening. The ski manufacturer had its review on a very successful past season and showed some new stuff for the upcoming season. The invited guests such as Michael Hayböck (due to his ankle injury) or Laura Dahlmeier and Eric Frenzel (both were equipped by the German Ski Association on that day) had to cancel their visit. But, double world champion and overall world cup winner Stefan Kraft sent a short interview and a greeting from his training camp in Cyprus.

The final morning was all about the Olympic Games in PyeongChang 2018. Christian Klaue opened up another discussion, this time about the topics of safety at Korea and also doping. Following that, Claudia Wagner gave a virtual tour through the German House at PyeongChang. This German House is not only the meeting point of the German athletes, but also a place where Eurosport is going to stay. The pan-European broadcasting station has bought some licenses for the next four Olympic Games (2018 PyeongChang, 2020 Tokio, 2022 Beijing and 2024 Paris). Werner Starz, Director Product Development of Eurosport Germany, and Martin Schmitt informed about the current status of the plans and announced: „The audience will get to see more of the Olympic Games than ever before.” Good news and a nice appetizer for the upcoming Olympic winter season.



Ski Jumps:

GER Klingenthal (Vogtland-Arena)

Links:

Homepage of the Forum Nordicum
Wo steht der Sportjournalismus im Jahr 2017? - Diskussion auf Avia-TV
Development Programme of the International Ski Federation (FIS) for Ladies' Nordic Combined
Sarah Lewis' Vortrag beim Forum Nordicum 2017 - Avia-TV

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