The FIS Cross-Country Committee met at the recent FIS Calendar Conference 2009 in Cavtat-Dubrovnik, Croatia. A number of topics were discussed, including the elimination of the B-Finals from sprint competition. Apparently the B-Final has attracted little interest from media and spectators alike. The Committee is forwarding a proposal to skip the B-Finals to the FIS Council for approval.
One of the ideas behind the B-Final was to provide additional rest for athletes advancing to the A-Finals. Langd.se reports that this time may instead be used for a “short awards ceremony” between the final races. It is unclear what exactly this means.
Several other significant recommendations were made by the Committee:
– Skiers will not have to complete the Tour de Ski to earn World Cup points from individual races. According to the FIS, this rule was implemented to avoid sick athletes racing the Tour to the end only in order to keep their points. This change will be advantageous to sprinters, and will likely result in stronger sprint fields.
– Rules for intermediate sprints in distance races and ski switching have been defined after successful trials. Both concepts were introduced in order to add an additional element of excitement into distance competitions.
– The Committee supported the idea of introducing a multi-stage World Championship on the basis of the Tour de Ski model in the years where no FIS Nordic World Ski Championships or Olympic Games are held. This currently occurs every four years. This format would allow more flexibility in venue choice. Ski jumping facilities would not be a pre-requisite, and there would be potential for the event to be held regionally in several venues. This would be a separate event from the current Nordic World Championships, and it is unclear whether this new event would be as prestigious.
– The Committee is proposing to reduce the starting field for the World Cup Finals. Only the 50 best athletes according to the World Cup standings, the Continental Cup leaders, and the U-23 World Champions would be allowed to take part in the Final. The new rule from the Tour de Ski allowing athletes to keep their World Cup points even if they stop before finishing the series would similarly apply.
Additional items from the meeting:
– Regarding prize money, two important clarifications will be introduced: In the future the prize money will be paid out only electronically by bank transfer and if there is a tie result, for example two athletes tying for first place, prize money for the first and second places is added together and divided by two.
– The FIS Cross-Country Committee also supported the wish from the Sub-Committee for Popular Skiing, which made the proposal to install the FIS points system for the FIS Marathon Cups.
– The Cross-Country Committee disagreed on the proposal to proceed with the idea to integrate an additional mini-Tour with a three-stage event at the beginning of the season in Kuusamo.
All the recommendations of the FIS Cross-Country Committee will be considered by the FIS Council in its next meeting on June 12-13th.
Sources: FIS, Langd.se
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Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.