- 08 Feb 2006
- Olympic News
TORINO 2006: What Is New In The FIS Disciplines?
Since 2002, the most changes for any FIS discipline have taken place in cross-country skiing. While the total number of events has remained at 12, six for both women and men, one of the individual competitions has been replaced by a new team event: the team sprint, in which nations are represented by two-member teams. In Turin, the team sprint will use the classical skiing technique with each team member skiing a 1.5-km loop three times. Another big change within cross-country has been the continuing development of the pursuit race. In Salt Lake City, the pursuit was staged as two separate competitions on a single day, with a several-hour-long break in between and with the starting order for the second, the freestyle race, being determined by the time differences in the first one. In Turin, there will be no break but rather the skiers will switch their equipment during a “pit stop” with the clock running. As in 2002, the combined time is what counts, only now the entire race is staged as a single, mass start event. Similarly, the long distance races, 30km for women and 50km for men, are also staged as mass start races rather than using the traditional individual start method still in use in Salt Lake City.
In ski jumping, there have been three main changes since the last Olympic Games: first, the athletes are now required to have a minimum Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5, though the measurement takes into consideration that the athletes are wearing their jumping boots and suit. They need to fulfil minimum weight requirements to be allowed to jump with the maximum length of skis (146% of the athlete’s height). Second, to provide all athletes with more equal weather conditions, the permissible starting time, the so-called “Green Period” during which the jumper must leave the start bar, has been increased from five to ten seconds. Finally, in the team event, only the best eight teams will continue to the second round. To keep the excitement high until the end, the starting order of the last jumper group is reversed so that the representative of the leading team will perform the very last jump of the competition.
In Nordic combined, the same BMI and equipment control rules apply as for ski jumping. The only other changes include a change in the point/time equivalent in the team event, with 60 points on the jumping hill now equalling 1min on the cross-country course. To make the competitions more spectator-friendly, the course length has also been reduced from 5km to 3.75km, ensuring that the athletes pass more regularly in front of the grandstands.
In Alpine skiing, the only critical change has been the increase in the required minimum length of the racing skis. Contrary to 2002, when the minimum length for all events was 150cm/155cm for women/men, there are now specific minimum length requirements for each event and sex in order to protect the athletes’ health and safety.
The additional six Olympic medals for the FIS disciplines are awarded in snowboarding where snowboard cross is now an Olympic event, in addition to half pipe and parallel giant slalom. As opposed to the races in Salt Lake City, delayed start gates will be in use in the parallel giant slalom in Turin. This means that during the second run, competitors will start based on the time differences gained in the first run and the athlete crossing the finishing line first will be the winner!
Last but not least, in freestyle skiing the greatest change is that inverted jumps, i.e. off-axis jumps and flips, are now allowed in the moguls competitions. Before, only upright and straight jumps were allowed. As a result, the audience in Turin will see jumps with a higher degree of difficulty and up to 720° rotations.
The Olympic Winter Games will run from 10 to 26 February 2006 in Turin. The Winter Games comprise seven different sports and 15 different disciplines, which will be played out in eight different competition sites. Around 2,500 athletes, 650 judges and umpires and one million spectators are expected to participate in this 20th edition of the Winter Games.
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