The IMC family welcomed another new nation as a team of four skiers, clad in bright yellow jackets travelled to Rovaniemi from Harrachov in the Czech Republic.
The IMC events shared the weekend with Finland's National Championships in Nordic Combined and Club-Team Jumping so hosts scheduled IMC competitions on Thursday, Friday and early Saturday, March 22-24. With large start lists, the 36 and 64 meter competitions were each split into two sessions. Each day, the first event started at eight o'clock in the morning and later sessions followed, with brief breaks, running late into the afternoon.
Blue skies and mid-winter weather prevailed all week with morning temparatures near zero (F) and daily highs only in the teens to the low twenties. Steady breezes put a bite into the cold and on Friday it built into winds strong enough to force changes to the competition schedule. At the Ounasvaara Nordic Complex across the river from the city of Rovaniemi, skiers found hills which were well designed, well constructed and well prepared, and many participants made up for previous shortage of training by taking numerous practice jumps.
Competition started with a bang at eight o'clock Thursday morning as forty nine athletes from eight nations competed in six age groups on the 90 meter hill. This scheduling seemed strange but was due to the elite Finnish Championships scheduled for Saturday. In the long run, it was lucky because the big-hill event had none of the strong winds which plagued later events. Older jumpers were handicapped by an unfortunate IMC policy decision obliging all skiers over 55 to compete in a single class.
Thursday afternoon was occupied with two sessions on the 36 meter hill, first 39 competitors aged 30-49 beginning their competition at noon and then 56 Old Boys over fifty years old having their chance, starting at 4:00 pm.
Friday morning, eighty one Old Boys aged 30-49 started their 64 meter competition in a head-wind that got stronger and stronger as the morning wore on. Mid-way through the final round of jumping, the competition jury ruled, in the interest of safety, to stop the jumping, leaving the championships for classes III and IV (40-44 and 45-49) to be decided on just one competitive jump. The jury also decided to postpone the start for the older classes from 1:30 to 6:00 pm in the hopes that the wind would abate. The winds did not cooperate, and at supper time, that competition was again postponed to 8:00 Saturday morning. The fallout of this change was varied:
Cross country races ran as scheduled on Saturday afternoon. The Grand Masters (60+) used points earned on the 36 meter hill and raced 3 km, skiers in their forties or fifties earned their points on the 36 and raced 5 km, while those under 40 jumped the 64 and raced 10 km.
Snow conditions were good throughout the Championships, the cold made the wintery snow squeak underfoot. The hill crew formed a new track on the 90 meter hill Wednesday afternoon for the Thursday morning competition, and the 64 meter jump had a good ice track which tolerated thousands of jumps during training and competition.
The cross country races followed various out-and-back trails, depending on the distance, involving a flat area near the cross country stadium punctuated by two bridge crossings and then offering hills at both ends. The temperatures climbed a bit, putting a little speed the track.
Wednesday evening saw a short but pleasant opening ceremony in the Cross Country Stadium with a troupe of young dancers interpreting a traditional story. Unfortunately this ceremony conflicted directly with a program downtown honoring local hero Pirjo Manninen who had won three gold medals at the World Junior Nordic Championships and then copped a gold in the women's sprint event at the World Championships in Lahti. Needless to say, the IMC opening ceremony did not compete well for the attention of the citizens of Rovaniemi.
Lodging for visiting teams was spread over the area, some skiers stayed at the Sky Hotel
above the jumps, others in tourist
cabins down near the outrun, and many crossed the famous Jätkänkynttilä (Lumberjack's
Candle) Bridge to stay in
hotels across the river in the city of Rovaniemi.
On Saturday evening, all gathered at the luxurious Hotel Pohjanhovi, right on the riverbank,
for a banquet of reindeer meat and
trimmings. The banquet room was just one af several halls and night-spots in this large hotel
and gave a
spectacular view of the illuminated Jätkänkynttilä bridge, a symbol of post-war Rovaniemi.
With the food came
the usual speeches and presentations, and finally dancing. Everyone got
a chance to meet the hard-working members of the organizing committee, including the lady
designed the IMC-2001 logo depicting a Master ski jumper as an old
Over the prior eleven IMC's it has been common for the top skiers to visit the podium in two or more events, but IMC 2001 produced double gold medalists in every age group. We had double gold medal performances in the 64 and 90 meter competitions by Pasi Huttunen (Fin 30-34), Oivind Villesvik (NOR 35-39), Ari Raitoharju (FIN 40-44) and Bjorn Knutsen (NOR 50-54), while double golds on the 36 and 64 went to Willy Johansen (NOR 65-69), Aarne Kuisma (FIN 60-64), Rolf Markussen (NOR 55-59) and Arsi Sjögren (FIN 45-49). (A full listing of medalists appears below.)
The Saturday morning team competition sized up as another dog-fight between Norway and Finland, with the nod going to the home team because Norway was missing stars Roger Ruud, Ronald Jensen and Guttorm Bakke. Then the winds blew and the rescheduling cascade pushed the team event off the program entirely. However, if we interpret the rules (one jumper each in classes I-VI, one competitive jump) and pick top performers from the first round in the 64 meter finish list, we find that home cooking is not enough, Team Norway edges Team Finland by about thirty five points!
When the IMC was over, 161 skiers from 8 nations had made 324 starts in 5 events.
Here are the medalists from IMC 2001 in Rovaniemi,
24 meter (K) 36 meter (K) 64 meter (K) 90 meter (K) Nordic Combined Cl.10 1. Olav Malin NOR Olav Malin NOR Olav Malin NOR 75-79 2. Johs Johnsen NOR Johs Johnsen NOR Johs N. Johansen NOR 3. Leif Pederson SWE Cl. 9 1. Nils Eriksen NOR NILS K. ERIKSEN NOR Martti A. Korhonen FIN 70-74 2. Martti Korhonen FIN MARTTI A. KORHONEN FIN Nils Eriksen NOR Cl. 8 1. Tuevo Koljonen FIN WILLY JOHANSEN NOR WILLY JOHANSEN NOR Aarne Lintulahti FIN 65-69 2. Janken Hallstrom SWE KURT BRAUSSE GER KURT BRAUSSE GER Willy Johansen NOR 3. Aarne Lintulahti FIN TEUVO KOLJONEN FIN AARNE LINTULAHTI FIN Teuvo Koljonen FIN Cl. 7 1. AARNE KUISMA FIN AARNE KUISMA FIN INGVART TÖRNÄNGEN SWE Ingvart Törnängen SWE 60-64 2. SVEIN HUSBY NOR INGVART TÖRNÄNGEN SWE MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ FIN Felix Airopetrov RUS 3. KURT ELIMÄÄ SWE MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ FIN DON WEST USA Kåre Holmen NOR Cl. 6 1. ROLF MARKUSSEN NOR ROLF MARKUSSEN NOR ANTTI KOKKONEN FIN Åke Saloniemi SWE 55-59 2. SIGMUND STENBERG NOR AATTO LAMMINPÄÄ FIN AATTO LAMMINPÄÄ FIN Reidar Finnanger NOR 3. ÅKE SALONIEMI SWE ANTTI KOKKONEN FIN Aatto Lamminpää FIN Cl. 5 1. KÅRE JOHNSEN NOR BJÖRN KNUTSEN NOR BJÖRN KNUTSEN NOR Pekka Tainio FIN 50-54 2. PEKKA TAINIO FIN KÅRE JOHNSEN NOR JAN HEIBERG NOR Jan Skevik NOR 3. TAISTO TOLVANEN FIN TROND-RUNE ÅSVATNE NOR KLAUS GÜNTHER GER Kåre Johnsen NOR Cl. 4 1. ARSI SJÖGREN FIN ARSI SJÖGREN FIN PENTTI RAUTIAINEN FIN Arsi Sjögren FIN 45-49 2. PEKKA KORHONEN FIN PENTTI RAUTIAINEN FIN ARNE JÖRGENSEN NOR Ilkka Tuomikoski FIN 3. HANNU KOHTALA FIN ROY STRENGELSRUD NOR ROY STRENGELSRUD NOR Paulov Arkadiy RUS Cl. 3 1. MIKKO AHVENJÄRVI FIN ARI RAITOHARJU FIN ARI RAITOHARJU FIN Leonid Vologjavine RUS 40-44 2. ARI JOUTJÄRVI FIN VEIJO STRANDEN FIN VEIJO STRANDEN FIN Kari Pesonen FIN 3. PEKKA PASANEN FIN PER OLE VIK NOR STEIN ARNE HOEL NOR Stein Arne Hoel NOR Cl. 2 1. PASI KÄHKÖLÄ FIN ÖIVIND VILLESVIK NOR ÖIVIND VILLESVIK NOR GeirRune Lislegaard NOR 35-39 2. KALEVI KANTOLA FIN SCOTT SMITH USA SCOTT SMITH USA Jan Svoboda CZE 3. JAN SVOBODA CZE KIMMO KYLMÄAHO FIN JANNE HEINONEN FIN Vladimir Saichik RUS Cl. 1 1. PIETRO NILSSON SWE PASI HUTTUNEN FIN PASI HUTTUNEN FIN Stefan Grannas FIN 30-34 2. RAIN PÄRN EST LARS ÖIVIND MOEN NOR LARS ÖIVIND MOEN NOR Ole Leiråmo NOR 3. DICK WALLDIN SWE SEPPO KINNUNEN FIN SEPPO KINNUNEN FIN Alexander PostanogovRUS
That's all for IMC 2001, now on to the Czech Republic for IMC 2002 ...
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