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FIS Congress 2018: New future perspectives for Nordic Skiing

on 2018-05-21

This years FIS Congress is history. The 51st edition of this meeting of the officials of the International Ski Federation at the Greek Costa Navarino has brought some important decisions regarding the future of Nordic Skiing, such as electing the hosts for the FIS Ski Flying World Championships 2022 and the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships 2023. Skijumpinghills.com gives you an overview of who will host these events and what is on schedule for the ski jumpers and Nordic Combined athletes.

The FIS Congress is a biennial meeting of all the officials of the International Ski Federa-tion (FIS). As always, also representatives of the national ski associations, competition hosts and sponsors and suppliers belong to the guests of this congress. The highlight this time, besides a visit of the historic stadium in Olympia, were the announcement, respectively election, of the hosts for the FIS Ski Flying World Championships 2022 and the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships 2023.

Vikersund to host the FIS Ski Flying World Championships 2022

The FIS Ski Flying World Championships (SFWC) 2022 will be organized by the Organization Committee (OC) of Vikersund, Norway. For the fifth time, the new king of ski flying will be crowned in the region of Buskerud. The OC members thanked the FIS for their trust, but also said: “We already showed in the past that we are able to host big events like this.” Vikersund’s last FIS SFWC took place in 2012, but got into a bit of trouble due to difficult wind conditions, which were the reason for the fact that the individual event only saw two of the four competition rounds.

This individual event turned into a real thriller, in which’s end Robert Kranjec became the winner, only three points ahead of Rune Velta. Last winter, the Slovenian master of ski flying broke a heavy record of unbelievable 200 flights on and above 200 meters. Velta quit his career in August 2016. Bronze medalist Martin Koch retired in 2014 and became expert and co-commentator of the Austrian television ORF and also colleague of 1996’s FIS Ski Flying World Champion Andreas Goldberger. Both are also still test and camera jumpers.

In fourth attempt: Planica gets the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships 2023

In contrast to the FIS SFWC, the selection of the host for a FIS Nordic Ski World Championships (FIS WSC) is more than a formal action, it is a real election. The candidates for the FIS WSC 2023 were Trondheim (Norway) and Planica (Slovenia), two Mecca’s of Nordic Skiing. Also, both candidate for FIS WSC before. Trondheim tried its luck for the FIS WSC 2021, which will be held in Oberstdorf, which won the election in the fifth attempt. Planica already was already candidate for the FISC WSCs in 2017 (Lahti), 2019 (Seefeld) and also 2021. Nine to six votes finally brought Planica the win, which also will be the first FIS WSC for Slovenia ever.

Also the OC Planica has a big package of experience. With six (1972, 1979, 1985, 1994, 2004, 2010) and, at the time of the FIS WSC 2023 seven (2020 is already safe) editions of the FIS SFWC, the Slovenes hold the record for hosting the most editions. In addition to that, 33 FIS World Cup Finals, three other FIS World Cups in the December of the years 1993, 1994 and 1995 and recently two editions of the FIS Cross Country World Cup (sprint races), the OC Planica hosted more than 150 competitions on highest level in the era of FIS WSCs and FIS World Cup.

Another three milestones for women’s Nordic Combined

In contrast to Planica, women’s Nordic Combined is just getting started, but making some big steps. The FIS Council admitted the idea of the Nordic Combined Committee to include women’s Nordic Combined in the FIS Junior Ski World Championships (FIS JWSC) 2019 and the FIS WSC 2021. After the test competition at the JWSC 2018 in Kandersteg (Switzerland), the winner of the individual competition (one jump and five kilometer cross country race) next year can call herself the first official FIS Junior World Champion of women’s Nordic Combined. Just before this decision was made, the FIS announced that the JWSC 2019 will be held in Lahti, at not, as originally planned, in Vuokatti. The reason for this switch is the lack of a FIS hill certificate in Vuokatti.

In this summer and for the first time ever, there will be FIS Summer Grand Prix (FIS SGP) events for women. The competitions (two individuals with each one jump and a 4.5 kilometers cross country race) will take place in Oberwiesenthal (Germany) on 18th and 19th of August. These arrangements are three milestones in the development of women’s Nordic Combined. Race director Lasse Ottesen and his team continue the path towards the inclusion of women’s Nordic Combined in the program of the Olympic Winter Games, which was opened last winter when the first ever Continental Cup events in Rena (Norway) and Nizhniy Tagil (Russia) were organized. The COC calendar for the winter 2018/2019 includes twelve COCs, divided under five different hosts. Safe, in case the weather and snow conditions play their role in this game, are two competitions in Otepää (Estonia) on January 5th and 6th and another three from 8th until 10th of March in Nizhniy Tagil. The other seven – each two in Park City and Steamboat Springs (both USA) and three in Rena – still need a confirmation by the respective national ski association until the 5th of June.

Ski Jumping: Ladies and Men more often on tour together

Also the ski jumping ladies can look forward to some innovations. Especially the wish for more large hill competitions was accepted. For the first time ever, there will be large hill competitions during the FIS SGP: one in Courchevel on August 10th, one in Chaykovskiy on September 9th, where also a mixed-team-competitions will be held the day before and in Klingenthal on Octber 3rd. Except from another two competitions in Frenštát pod Radhoštêm (Czech Republic), ladies and men are both at the same place and jumping on the same hill.

The general idea of putting ladies’ and men’s circuit more together was already presented by Walter Hofer in a press conference which took place in Oslo in March. Hofer pointed the “revolutionary approach” of this idea out, since the ladies will “jump on a lot more large hills in the future”. Consequently, the Austrian made a generally positive report of the current situation of ladies’ ski jumping: “The current situation of the young, but also high developed series of the women allows us to make this step”. The FIS has also noticed some potential for itself, Hofer explained: ”A common data service, a common TV production and the reduced number of competition officials will reduce or costs a lot.”

Ladies’ World Cup Calendar with fresh flavor

Another good news for all female ski jumpers: The extend of the World Cup calendar becomes almost similar to the men’s. The next winter is supposed to have 25 individual-, plus three team- and one mixed-team-competition(s). The opening will be the Lillehammer Triple with two competitions on the normal and one competition on the large hill (November 30th and December 1st and 2nd), just as last winter. The following weekend will include an individual- and a mixed-team-competition in Titisee-Neustadt in Germany (8th and 9th of December) which will be a new host as probably Prémanon in France (15th and 16th of December). The last two competitions are not safe yet due to the fact that the HS 90 does not have a valid certificate.

The start into the new year will be the Japanese weeks in Sapporo (12th and 13th of January), where, for the first time ever, two large hill competitions will take place and in Zao, where, similar to last year, two individual competitions will frame one team competition. The journey will continue on the normal hills of Râşnov, Hinzenbach and Ljubno (same schedule as in Zao, also a premiere), until the last competitions ahead of the FIS WSC will take place in Oberstdorf; and as in 2017, the ladies will jump the large hill there. The season will end in Russia, where the first edition of the “Blue Bird” tour will take place. This tour consists of two normal hill competitions in Nizhniy Tagil and two competitions in Chaykovskiy. There, the finale will be held on the large hill, after the first competition on the normal hill.

“RAWAir” not secured yet – Val di Fiemme stays out

Seven large hill competitions and the mixed in Titisee-Neustadt are secured yet. And another three might come on top. The Norwegian ski federation would like to include the ladies in the program of the “RAWAir Tournament” in March: with three individual competitions in Oslo (10th of March), Lillehammer (12th of March) and Trondheim (14th of March). “We have the concept clear, but we are not sure how this project will be financed. But, we have good hope that we will reach our goal”, event manager Terje Lund said.

The federation also clarified that an unsecured funding will mean that the ladies will not be part of the “RAWAir” series in March 2019. The final decision is supposed to be made the latest during the FIS autumn meeting in October in Zurich. It is also not clear yet whether the traditional large hill competition on the Holmenkollen in Oslo will be held in case the ladies’ “RAWAir” will be canceled. A clear fact is, that one competition in Predazzo in Val di Fiemme (Italy) will not take place. It was part of the calendar draft which was made in the FIS spring meeting, but it did not make it into the final calendar.

Decision about the team-competition for women at the FIS WSC made

Despite all the positive news for female ski jumpers, there has been one negative news, towards team-competitions at the FIS JWSCs. The official program for the upcoming FIS WSC, which will be held in Seefeld from February 19th until March 3rd 2019 in Seefeld, does not include a team competition for the ladies – in contrast to what the female Austrian ski jumpers, especially Daniela Iraschko-Stolz wanted. As, since 2013, usual, two medal competitions for ladies will be held: the individual competition on February 27th (qualification the day before) and the mixed-team-competition on March 2nd.

So, a third competition for the ladies will be included in the program of the FIS WSC from 2021 in Oberstdorf on. This decision probably might not change Iraschko-Stolz’s opinion. On March, 26th, just after the World Cup Final was history, the 13-time-World Cup-winner posted on Facebook: “Not hosting a team competition for the ladies will be a step back for the whole sport of ladies’ ski jumping and a sad story for Austria”.

No big news in the men’s calendar – Norwegian hills to be modified

The men’s calendar does not include any big surprises; it is basically the same program which was the standard for the past couple of years. In 2018, World Cup competitions will take place in Wisła (in case a wind protection is available there), Ruka, Nizhniy Tagil, Titisee-Neustadt and Engelberg, before the Four Hills Tournament will follow. Originally, afterwards a World CUp in Liberec was supposed to be held, but it has been cancelled since the Czech Ski Federation did not confirm it will take place. Information about a substitute organizer will follow on 10th of July. In January, events in Zakopane and Sapporo are scheduled. The first ski flying competitions of the season will held a bit later as usual: on the first weekend of February in Oberstdorf. Afterwards, the circus will go to Lahti, before the last form check ahead of the FIS WSC in Seefeld will take place in Willingen during the “WillingenFive”.

The FIS WSC has a bit of a special in the program, as the jumpers will jump on the large hill first. Since there is no large hill in Seefeld, the Bergisel hill in Innsbruck will be the destination then. In contrast to their female colleagues, the men will have a team competition, on the large hill. This event is scheduled for the 24th of February. The individual event on the large hill is in the calendar on February 23rd, the qualification for this event the day before. The same game will be played on the normal hill on 1st of March (competition) and 28th of February (qualification).

The program after the FIS WSC sounds familiar: before the big finale in Planica, the third edition of the “RAWAir Tournament” in Norway comes up. Indeed, the certificates of the hills in Lillehammer, Trondheim and Vikersund are currently invalid, but there is a as simple reason as simple solution for this: Lillehammer and Trondheim need a few start gates, Vikersund needs to modify the hill profile in the lower part of the hill. As the Norwegian ski federation posted, Trondheim needs to install four new gates below the existing ones, Lillehammer needs five new start gates. Terje Lund explained: “We are in a good process. The FIS will come for a final inspection in autumn after the works are done and give us new certificates. We have had some good meetings and conversations with the FIS in Greece and are 100 percent sure that we will find some good solutions for these challenges.”

Renn talks situation of the hills in the world – worries about the “small”

Also the sub-committee for ski jumping hills held its meeting during the FIS Congress in Greece. In the FIS Book of Reports, its chairman Hans-Martin Renn evaluates the gene-ral situation of the ski jumping hills all over the world like this: “There are currently 123 ski jumping hills registered around the world, with 24 of these accreditations due to ex-pire in 2018. At the moment there are five accredited ski flying hills. It remains our ob-jective to prioritize inspections in order to facilitate and speed up the process for exten-ding jumping hill certificates for the operators of older hills in need of corrective main-tenance.

The only worry, the FIS at the moment has, is the allocation of collected points under all athletes, but especially of those from smaller countries. Mika Kojonkoski, chairman of the FIS committee for ski jumping said clear: “Ten years ago, the bext six nations earned 85 percent of World Cup points, last year it was 94 percent. The reduction of amount of athletes earning points is 30 percent in FIS Cup level, 13 percent in COC level and 13 percent in World Cup level. We need to be award about that development and consider our decisions. In the future there should be more athletes from different nations in the game. That would be good for everybody, when we are willing to see the big picture.”

Ski Jumps:

NOR Vikersund (Skiflygingsbakke)
SLO Planica (Velikanka)
RUS Chaykovskiy (Snezhinka)
FRA Courchevel (Le Praz)
GER Klingenthal (Vogtland-Arena)
GER Titisee-Neustadt (Hochfirst)
FRA Prémanon (Les Tuffes)
NOR Lillehammer (Lysgård)
NOR Trondheim (Granåsen Rekruttsenter)

Links:

Nordic WSC 2023 in Planica (English)
Nordische Ski-WM 2023 in Planica (German)
WC Calendar Ski Jumping Men
WC Calendar Ski Jumping Ladies
FIS Summary Ladies Nordic Combined (English)
No World Cup and Grand Prix in Liberec
FIS Book of Reports


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