The Cross-Country Committees will travel a long way this time to agree upon the new calendars and optimized competition rules. Kangwonland, Korea, not far away from the Olympic arenas of 2018, is the place where representatives from the biggest ski nations will come together to decide the frames for next year’s competitions.
No major changes are forecast on the agenda. It might be a sign that our new competition program and calendar organization is about to settle among athletes, journalists and spectators alike.
National Ski Associations have sent two Cross-Country proposals to the Congress. The Slovak Ski Association is proposing a new European Championship and the German Ski Association is proposing to replace the skiathlon event with a skating or free technique event of 15 and 30 km at the Junior World Ski Championships. The Cross-Country Committee will discuss both cases and give its advice to the Congress.
Calendar discussions - frames, quality vs. quantity, travel distances and competition programs - will as usual occupy the time in the World Cup Committee. From a meeting with the TV experts at the end of April we gained some important feedback to discuss, such as: How to bring the athletes closer to the TV cameras during their warmi-up and how to show more atmosphere from the stress in the waxing areas to TV viewers or fans in the stadiums. More emotions are wanted from our biggest stars without interfering with their competition preparations.
Sports-wise there is a lot of positive feedback to our Organizers from the different surveys that will be presented during the meetings. I am very happy to note that the general quality of our events is improving. Most negative feedback is (not surprisingly) connected to single day city sprints. It’s a hard job to handle new competition courses in a city environment for Organizers who tackle this for the first time.
Also our Popular Committee has an important agenda: dealing with the increasing interest in long distance races, the structure and names of their Cups and calendars connected to their TV rights.
Finally a very important farewell is to be said to the FIS Race Director Jürg Capol who is moving from FIS to FIS Marketing AG. The whole Cross-Country family owes him a big thank you for being the mind and arms behind all the important changes and renewals in Cross-Country Skiing since 2003. We wish him good luck in his new job!
Vegard Ulvang: FIS Cross Country Comittee