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Downhill among events with threatened 2022 Olympic inclusion

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The alpine skiing downhill event alongside super-G, long-distance cross-country skiing, and Nordic combined are events whose inclusion for the 2022 Winter Olympics is threatened. (Elsewhere I've also seen normal hill ski jumping mentioned.)

http://www.skiracing.com/premium/will-the-olympic-downhill-be-eliminated

A reason for eliminating those would be reduce costs and have shorter ski slopes and cross-country trails, less snowmaking, and just one ski jumping hill.

While I think the cost of Olympics must be reduced, it should not affect the essentials of the Games. Alpine skiing has four plus one disciplines; the speed disciplines downhill and super-G, and the technical disciplines giant slalom and slalom, plus alpine combined of downhill and slalom. And I think a major championship must feature them all.

Well, there's a solution to retain downhill, to have it with two shorter runs. But two one-minute runs isn't the same as one two-minute run. Maybe the Olympics would be just fine with these changes; however I feel it'd lose some prestige within alpine skiing, especially as alpine skiing has highly appreciated season-long World Cup titles.

As for long-distance cross-country skiing, I couldn't anymore care less, the damage has already happened. I can't blame the IOC as the FIS changed men's 50km / women's 30km to a mass start instead of a time trial at the 2005 Worlds, how it's also been at the Olympics since 2006. So often a 50km mass start ends with a big lead group still together after 49km and the winner is the one with best sprint abilities, not necessarily the best fitness like in the traditional 50km time trials. As long as 50km is not a time trial, I'd be fine with no 50km at all.

Getting rid of Nordic combined makes no sense; it doesn't require any additional venues, there's already the jumping hill and the ski trails.

Getting rid of normal hill wouldn't be such a big deal. It's very rarely used for men on top level, usually only at major championships. Without the normal hill competition, the large hill could have a two-day, four-round competition like ski-flying world championship; doubling rounds would make it fairer.

However, having both hills is such an established tradition in ski jumping major championships. And the difference is comparable to 100m and 200m in running or swimming; that's why having two ski jumping events feels fair.

Also, women's competitions usually take place on normal hill, like the sole Olympic competition. That's another reason to retain the normal hill.

And thinking about the Games' legacy; while not anymore so common in competitions, normal hills are used for training. It compliments the venue, making it not only for competitions but also for training.

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.....maybe just move the downhill to Korea? Since everyone is complaining about ruining the "Jurassic" forest to make way for the downhill on Mt. Gariwang, this would at least let the ruined forest get used 2 times.

p.s. PLEASE write in HOTH for 2030 in the logo comp! There are no forests to ruin on HOTH!

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Unfortunately the IOC’s penchant for big suites with free meals and open bars, private jets, huge limos and free phones, all while scalping free tickets still count for too much with this crowd. Bach still has a lot more resolutions of reform for the IOC to regain any legitimate respectability.

This part is disingenuous. Certainly there is a lot of graft, but that's not why the IOC is moving towards picking big cities far from the mountains. Vancouver and Whistler also split up the ice and snow events, and I would hardly call those a corrupt and wasteful games.

There are simply very few big cities in the mountains. (Big enough to maintain a 40,000 seat ceremonies stadium, two 10,000 seat arenas, three 5,000 seat arenas and a speed skating oval, that is.) The games need bigger venues and more hotels now than they did in Lillehammer simply because there is more demand from fans and the media. And with bigger cities needed, there are now fewer traditional host cities.

For cities outside of the Alps, even the moderately sized cities are pretty far away from the mountains. In my part of the world Seattle and Portland are closer to their Olympic capable mountains than Boise is, and not that much farther than Bozeman to Big Sky.

While I think the cost of Olympics must be reduced, it should not affect the essentials of the Games.

Beyond that, it is hard for me to believe they are really losing huge amounts of money on the downhill skiing. They may not make money either, but there shouldn't be any need for new construction except road improvements and perhaps updated lifts.

The real reason some cities don't like the downhill events is that they simply don't have big enough mountains. Well, too bad. If your city doesn't have good skiing then it isn't suited for the Winter Olympics.

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Random thoughts,

Yes, Greed and graft are a big part of what's driven the WOG to grow too big to fit in traditional settings.

The Downhill is not going anywhere.

Nortic Combined is one event I could see going, especially if there were a host that wanted to put jumping far from cross counry.

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Random thoughts,

Yes, Greed and graft are a big part of what's driven the WOG to grow too big to fit in traditional settings.

The Downhill is not going anywhere.

Nortic Combined is one event I could see going, especially if there were a host that wanted to put jumping far from cross counry.

Nordic combined also suffers from European dominance (lack of diversity) and there is no women competing.

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A two run downhill sounds like a good idea

It really doesn't. The whole point of downhill is the endurance required. A two run "downhill" would be something entirely different than a downhill.

That being said, I'd love to see the Olympic downhill have a qualification race that cuts down the field to 30 and that seeds the starting order.

Edited by Fox334

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Nordic combined also suffers from European dominance (lack of diversity) and there is no women competing.

Uhm, Japan and the US have won quite a few NC medals over the last 25 years at WC/WOG. And there are moves to introduce women's competitions too. Remember how long it took for women's ski jumping...

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Uhm, Japan and the US have won quite a few NC medals over the last 25 years at WC/WOG. And there are moves to introduce women's competitions too. Remember how long it took for women's ski jumping...

I know that, but looking at the results of Sochi there was a step back from Vancouver. A women's event is currently not on the program so the IOC will be deciding with that in mind.

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It really doesn't. The whole point of downhill is the endurance required. A two run "downhill" would be something entirely different than a downhill.

That being said, I'd love to see the Olympic downhill have a qualification race that cuts down the field to 30 and that seeds the starting order.

I'm fine with a two-run sprint downhill when a full-length one-run downhill is impossible for unforeseen reasons, like next weekend at women's races in Zauchensee where they run on a shorted course due to lack of snow.

But I like your idea of two full runs. A reason why I don't rate the Olympics so high in alpine skiing (below the World Cup titles and alongside classic races like Hahnenkamm) is that they're really not that different from World Cup races; just a bigger TV audience but actually also a weaker field as even big ski nations can send only four athletes. If I were in charge, I'd ape Ski-Flying Worlds and make both the Olympic downhill and the super-G two-day events with two-run aggregate times deciding the results. That would make Olympics more special. No need for that in technical disciplines; they already have two runs, plus with DNFs being so common there, doubling runs would make them a survival battle.

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If those cities can't provide facilities for these important Olympic sports then WHY are they hosting, did they forget it's a sporting event not a costume parade? If you can't afford it or don't have the facilities to host then bugger off.

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There are lots of things broken about the Olympics. But you know what isn't broken? The downhill.

This

is still the best Olympic moment. And I'm pretty sure nobody has ever said, "You know what would be really cool? If we made them take another run and give the gold to the best accumulated time."

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Have to agree with those who don't see the single-run downhill going anywhere. If your city isn't close enough to a mountain big enough for an Olympic/World Cup level downhill run then you have no business even considering a bid for the WOG.

I also agree about the sliding center being the bigger issue.

Nacre mentioned Portland and Seattle as being close to their mountains. I can't speak to the feasibility of Seattle hosting a WOG but there's no way it will happen in Portland. While Portland currently has two 10,000-seat arenas, there's been talk this fall about demolishing Memorial Coliseum - not to mention hosting the Olympics would displace both the Trail Blazers and the WinterHawks for 2+ weeks. And there aren't any 5,000-seat arenas in the area nor is there a need for any - Chiles Center at University of Portland seats just over 4,800 but I don't think it's convertible to ice and I can't imagine that UP would be willing to displace their athletics teams for 2 weeks. None of the other universities in the region have arenas that seat more than 2,500 unless you want to drive down to Corvallis or Eugene, and that's not something that would happen for an Olympics bid, plus you run into the same issue as you would at UP - those arenas are used for the universities athletics programs and wouldn't be available. And that doesn't even touch on how unnecessary a speed-skating oval is for the region. I suppose something that could be converted into a community recreation/activities center like the one in Richmond BC is a possibility with the various neighborhood re-development districts within the City of Portland. Even if the nordic events were farmed out to Mt Bachelor (which I would expect in any serious discussion about Portland hosting), I'm not sure where a sliding center would go. There's no way it would be built on Mt Hood. Maybe Mt Bachelor if the nordic events are also placed there. It would still be a monstrous albatross.

And therein lies the rub... Even if Portland had the necessary arenas, or the necessity and will to build them, there's still no way that the State of Oregon would ever build an Olympic sliding center just for the Olympics. There would, guaranteed, be a referendum, possibly statewide if a sliding center was proposed for Mt Bachelor or state monies were involved, and it would fail. Sporty we might be but no way would the money be forthcoming unless Phil Knight and Paul Allen anted up privately, lol.

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I'm wondering, how much does it cost to build a sliding centre made out of natural ice (like Saint Moritz does every year) and is there any rule against host countries doing that as opposed to building an artificial track? You'd only really need to build it for three years (homolgation, test event and the games proper).

Edited by Fox334
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Nacre mentioned Portland and Seattle as being close to their mountains. I can't speak to the feasibility of Seattle hosting a WOG but there's no way it will happen in Portland.

I don't think Seattle or Portland are viable. I was simply explaining that there are very, very few big cities in the mountains anywhere in the world. Seattle and Portland are port cities (although Portland obviously isn't on the ocean) yet they aren't any farther from their ski areas than Boise or Denver. Splitting up the snow and ski events is basically inevitable now outside of Norway and Switzerland.

I'm wondering, how much does it cost to build a sliding centre made out of natural ice (like Saint Moritz does every year) and is there any rule against host countries doing that as opposed to building an artificial track? You'd only really need to build it for three years (homolgation, test event and the games proper).

There are very few places that can support a natural sliding track, though. It has to be at very high altitude in a very cold place. So that would not have worked for Whistler, for example. It would probably work for Kazakhstan.

The track itself is not made out of ice, anyway. Natural tracks are just naturally refrigerated. They still have to be made out of concrete. Concrete is cheap, though.

Edited by Nacre

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I'm wondering, how much does it cost to build a sliding centre made out of natural ice (like Saint Moritz does every year) and is there any rule against host countries doing that as opposed to building an artificial track? You'd only really need to build it for three years (homolgation, test event and the games proper).

FIL has separate natural and artificial track world cups, but its something worth investigating.

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Two-run downhill? Sacrilege. Also, does the author realize that the distance XC races are just more laps run on the same courses as the other races?

Two-run downhill was held just this past weekend by the FIS. So much for being sacrilege.

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Two-run downhill was held just this past weekend by the FIS. So much for being sacrilege.

This is just my opinion and I'm probably a purist of the highest order.

In my opinion, a two-run sprint downhill should be used only under exceptional circumstances. The past weekend was exceptional; the races were already moved from from St. Anton to Zauchensee, and neither Zauchensee was able to prepare a full downhill course. When the options were a sprint downhill or no downhill at all, the right decision was made.

That actually wasn't the premiere for the two-run sprint downhill. That format was used in Kitzbühel in the 90s in the Friday race, to distinguish it from Saturday's traditional Hahnenkamm downhill. Again fine.

A more recent example of considering the two-run downhill was in Val Gardena few years ago. After a snowfall at night, it was clear the top section cannot be prepared for the race, so they were going to run it as a sprint downhill. Eventually, they start got delayed so much that they had to run the downhill as a one-run race on a shortened course. Not ideal, and even worse was the Hahnenkamm downhill last year, when it had to be shortened to under a minute.

Those are the exceptional circumstances I'm talking about. But lack of slopes with sufficient height difference isn't. I might change my opinion on that if there were countries really deserving major alpine skiing events despite the lack of a full DH slope. But there aren't, China isn't one.

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