Today, on Wednesday 23 February the 48th FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will kick off.
It all started with ski jumps of only a few feet in the middle of old Christiania, which was Oslo’s name back in 1866. To ensure good snow conditions, the jumping was moved further up the hill to Holmenkollen, where the first Holmenkollen ski event took place in January 1892.
Since then, there have been 18 reconstructions, many of which have been extensive. It was for the Winter Olympics in 1952 that the ski jumping hill got the look that is the most similar to that of today. And with the exception of the years during the Second World War, the Holmenkollen ski event has taken place almost every year.
Qualification race at noon
Before that, at noon first Cross-Country race will take place. It will not be a medal event though but qualification race 5 and 10 km Classic for the main event 10 and 15 km Classic Ladies and Men. “Ladies with more than 120.00 FIS distance points according to the last FIS point list have to do the qualification as well as men with more than 90.00 FIS distance points according to the last FIS point list,” explains Assistant Race Director Cross-Country Pierre Mignerey. Top ten ladies and top ten men will proceed to the main race, which takes place on Monday for ladies and Tuesday for men.
Holmenkollen is ready for thousands of fans
Holmenkollen national arena with the jumping hill is the most visited place in Norway. For the Championships the Organizing Committee has sold more than 225.000 tickets in total for all three disciplines. Not only that some Cross-Country events such as Men’s relay are sold out but also many fans will camp alongside the course. It has become a tradition in Norway to camp in the forest during the big events. Since the beginning of this week first tents have appeared in the specially designated zones. Fans simply wanted to reserve the best place and put up their tents so early.
Official opening tonight
At 18:00 CET sharp the official opening in the University Square. Led by the King's Guard and the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces, a parade of 1700 children, Norwegian mayors and 2200 WSC volunteers will leave the Royal Palace Hill at 18:00 pm, and walk down to the University Square. At the University Square, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper accompanied by Oslo 2011 Chairman Svein Aaser will formally open the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang will welcome the public to the Oslo. The official WSC song will also be performed by Maria Haukaas Mittet.