Oberhofen / Thunersee, Mar 25, 2014: “Happy” and “satisfied” are the two terms, Race Director Lasse Ottesen comes up with most these days when he is looking back at the last season and the development of his discipline. Even though the weather and especially the lack of snow in almost all of the venues of the Nordic Combined winter have not made things easy for organisers, FIS professionals and athletes alike, only the last competition of the season in Falun had to be cancelled due to dangerous wind conditions.
“All in all we have had a great season, even though it was a difficult one in terms of weather and snow. We have had great Olympics and created a star in Eric Frenzel who has been dominant. We had a lot of new faces coming up onto the podiums, young athletes winning jumping competitions and so on. The future of Nordic Combined looks really really positive”, Ottesen sums up.
And really, the three highlights of the season 2013/14, the new Nordic Combined TRIPLE, the Olympics and the pre-World Championship test events in Falun went well, showcasing the talent and the similarly strong levels of performance the top stars of the discipline, resulting in tight nailbiters of medal decisions at Sochi. It also saw the rise of Germany’s Eric Frenzel to superstar dom in Nordic Combined by taking the TRIPLE crown, an Olympic gold medal and the World Cup overall in one season.
Nordic Combined TRIPLE: a success
One thing the Race Director is especially proud of, is how the implementation of the new season highlight, the TRIPLE, worked: “Two years of planning were finally completed in Seefeld. We had high expectations and looking back on the weekend, we are very happy with the result. We saw three very exiting and good competitions, fights all the way for the top places and from our side, the rules and regulations worked as we had planned.”
The long term goal for the TRIPLE now is to make it even more known to the fans, spectators and media alike. No big changes are planned in regards to the concept. “It is important to be patient and give the highlight of the season time to build and grow in the coming seasons”, Ottesen points out.
Positive pre-World Championships in Falun
The Swedish venue of Falun made its successful comeback into the calendar of Nordic Combined after an absence for about 15 years. Even though the wind conditions challenged the organisers quite heavily, the weekend can be seen in a positive light: “The organizers have done a great job to prepare for the World Cup events and it was a good finale. Yes, the wind gave us some difficulties in the jump hill, but the OC showed great preparations, good communications and was hard working.” With 11 months to complete the finale preparations for the WSC 2015, all signs are set for great World Championships next winter.
Development of Ladies Nordic Combined as most important point on the agenda
With the hustle and bustle of the season over, all energy will now go into the planning and setup of new, hopefully even better, Nordic Combined seasons. All signs are set towards the next title events in Falun 2015, Lahti 2017 and the next Winter Olympics in PyeongChang 2018.
A main topic on the agenda for the FIS meetings and Congress in springtime will be the development of Ladies Nordic Combined. “It’s our goal to have the first international training camp this summer, in conjunction with our Summer Grand Prix”, Ottesen says. “During the meetings, we are also trying to get a better overview over the situation in Ladies Nordic Combined around the world.” Other than that, only small upgrades and changes in the existing rules and regulations have to be made.
“We are really looking forward to planning and making sure next season will be even better and we hope that all of you will follow Nordic Combined on TV, web, facebook, twitter and all other social media channels you can find”, the Race Director finishes up with a smile, already on the way to the next step on the way of developing Nordic Combined. —- FIS
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