Winter sports: Ski jumpers before their premiere: “Alibi tour” or signal?

Katharina Schmid and her ski jumping colleagues are not really happy.

Winter sports: Ski jumpers before their premiere: “Alibi tour” or signal?

Katharina Schmid and her ski jumping colleagues are not really happy. “Unfortunately, we still don’t have a whole tour like that. But it’s a good start,” says the three-time world champion before the World Cups in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf.

The women have been hoping for a Four Hills Tournament for years. Now they are allowed to jump on at least two of the traditional tour ski jumps around the turn of the year. “In the end, we have to take what we get,” says Schmid, who was called Althaus until her wedding in the summer. Your understanding that it isn't all four already is limited.

“I’m not bringing up the topic of touring yet”

“Two Nights Tour” is the name of the format with the competitions on December 30th at the Great Olympic Ski Jump and on New Year’s Day in Oberstdorf. A total of around 6,500 tickets for the two competitions had been sold until shortly before Christmas, but the organizers are expecting some sales at the box office. Stations in Innsbruck and Bischofshofen are missing. So half a tour?

“I can’t do anything by half measures,” says ski jumping legend Sven Hannawald to the German Press Agency. The last German winner to date in the big spectacle in four acts has a clear opinion. "I'm not talking about half a tour, but about jumping in Garmisch. I'm not yet mentioning the topic of a tour," says the 2002 champion. Oberstdorf was previously the World Cup location - at another time in the winter Women.

"If there is a women's tour, then it is the original one. It starts in Oberstdorf and ends in Bischofshofen. I don't believe in setting up an alibi tour and then doing something all over the place," added Hannawald .

Wide range of opinions

There are various reasons why the women are not currently jumping in the Austrian tour locations. Floodlights are still missing at the famous Bergiselschanze in Innsbruck. The time window for competitions on the already wind-prone facility is correspondingly narrow. In addition, the Austrian Ski Association (ÖSV) had recently been planning Villach as a World Cup location for several years.

How complicated the topic is is reflected in the range of expert opinions on how best to organize such a tour. For Hannawald, the best option is: "The men jump at 4:30 p.m., then you have the option of handling the women at noon or early afternoon at each location."

The Norwegian men's national coach Alexander Stöckl sees it differently: "If you say you do the same stations - the women in the morning, the men in the afternoon: nobody benefits from that." The Austrian argues: "What does the spectator do? They don't stand at the jump from morning to evening, certainly not. It's a challenge for the organizer itself. Who do you cut first in bad weather? Yes, of course, the women. That But you shouldn't."

Associations are in discussions

Stöckl also refers to the finance factor. "It's important to remember that the revenue from men's ski jumping is significantly higher, mainly through television revenue," he says. "That means that women's ski jumping is currently going from zero to zero or even costs money. It's not that easy to do. It's a huge burden for the association."

Everyone agrees that there should be a Four Hills Tournament for female ski jumpers. But how exactly and when - the German Ski Association and the ÖSV are continuing to discuss these questions.

Double world champion Selina Freitag remains confident. “We just need to turn a few screws so that we have a complete tour,” she says, adding with a view to the upcoming premiere in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf: “We just want to have a cool competition to make it that way As soon as possible, we can join in with the gentlemen."