Last week, the International Ski Federation (FIS) concluded its fall Cross-Country Committee meetings. The most pressing issues are COVID related and concern the calendaring and running of safe events. Many variables remain in play, like how each hosting country experiences a predicted uptick in COVID cases this winter. Within this context, the Cross-Country Committee made several recommendations that have yet to be approved by the FIS Council. The FIS Council is scheduled to meet on Oct, 9.
The 2021 Nordic Junior World Ski Championships to be held in Zakopane, Poland will be rescheduled. The Polish Ski Association asked for a 2022 date in Zakopane. The FIS said it is “committed to find alternative solutions” for a Junior Worlds competition this season.
The other newsworthy item of note was the linked schedule in the FIS posting. The linked schedule remains a typical looking World Cup schedule. For example, between Periods I-II, athletes will race in Finland, Norway, Switzerland, and Germany before a short respite before the Tour de Ski, which begins in Switzerland.
Looking further out, the schedule includes a “reserve” weekend at the beginning of February. Those dates will serve as an open weekend for the possibility of rescheduling races.
The always well received Drammen city sprint in Norway, usually run mid-week prior to the Holmenkollen 30 k/ 50 k, has been swapped out for a classic sprint in Oslo. The Oslo sprint runs on Friday, March 12, the day prior to the women’s 30 k skate. The men’s 50 k skate is scheduled for Sunday, the 14th.
Beijing is penned to hold the World Cup finals — a pre-Olympic test event for the 2022 Games. That three day series of races begins on March 19 and concludes on the 21st.
Otherwise, the World Cup calendar appears to be the same semi-modified series of races presented last May.
Another key measure approved at the committee level was a change to an athlete’s “maternity protection status”. This provision protects an athlete’s FIS point status during maternity leave. The period of protection was extended from nine to a maximum of 24 months.
In recent years, several new moms have excelled at championship events, including Kikkan Randall and Marit Bjørgen.