This week we feature some questions and answers with FIS Council Member Sverre Seeberg (NOR):Q. Norway topped the 2007 FIS medals tables for both the FIS World Championships and the Junior World Championships across all FIS Olympic disciplines. What is your secret?
A. Having such broad success is not a matter of any special secrets, I think. Instead, compared with many other National Ski Associations, the difference is that we in Norway provide support for all FIS disciplines, not just our traditional success disciplines of Cross-Country Skiing and Ski Jumping. This means that although there can be different levels of support, we provide financing to the extent that we can run a national team in each discipline. We also have lots of youngsters that are actively participating especially in Cross-Country and Alpine Skiing but also in Ski Jumping, which provides us with a good basis for the future. While football is the number one sport in Norway, too, Cross-Country Skiing is among the top five largest sports nationally.
Moreover, we in Norway did a great job before the 1994 home Olympics in Lillehammer by establishing programs that were focused on winning medals in all disciplines. We still benefit from those programs and methods, for example in terms of how we work with the top athletes.
Q. Oslo will host the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2011 – tell us about the project foreseen for a new Holmenkollen, one of skiing’s most traditional venues?
A. We are currently in the process of creating the basic organization for the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. We hope to have the CEO in place just after the summer holidays. The planning for all the different venues is also making good progress. There has been huge interest among architects from all over the world to design the new Holmenkollen; so far there have been requests from 27 different countries for the detailed design competition information. The time schedule calls for the destruction of the current hill right after next year’s World Cup in the spring of 2008 which is why we have to decide on the architecture and overall concept for the venue in October 2007. This decision will be made by a jury appointed by the municipality of Oslo, which is also the main financer of the new Holmenkollen. The expected total cost of the project is €50 million.
Q. The Nordic Ski Associations – Norway, Sweden and Finland - will celebrate their centennial next year (2008). What special activities are you planning to mark the occasion?
A. We will start the celebrations already in connection with the FIS World Cup races in November 2007 and additional activities will take place at all big events during the winter. We will hold the main anniversary party in Oslo on 20th February. Our actual anniversary is on 21st February but that also happens to be the birthday of the King of Norway as well as the date for the FIS Ski Flying World Championships in Oberstdorf (GER). We would like to welcome both the King and FIS President Kasper at our reception and hence chose to have the celebration a day earlier. The most important activity during the year will be the organization of youngster competitions starting on the anniversary weekend in February and continuing for the rest of the winter all over Norway. We have also launched a book project with a famous Norwegian author Karsten Alnaes, who is writing a new account of the history of skiing in Norway over the last 100 years. This book will be published by Christmas 2007.