The recently completed jumping complex, the Villacher Alpen Arena, located on the west edge of town consists of four jumps, a single chair lift, and a nice service building beside the outrun.
December and January brought virtually no snow to Villach so organizers covered the jumps and a short section of cross country course with artificial snow. This covering thawed, then froze into white stuff the consistency of concrete. Fortunately, winter finally came with a few snowfalls covering the concrete and all the brown grass surrounding the skiing complex. When the IMC participants arrived, they found a winter wonderland. However, winter didn't take a vacation in honor of IMC, rather a little snow fell every night, keeping the hill crew busy maintaining the three hills in top condition for the competitions.
The event was directed by Franz Smoliner (right) who was so well prepared, with such a good staff, that he could be seen strolling and chatting during the events. Herbert Berger was chief of the jumping hills and Markus Knabl was in charge of the cross country course.
Organizers provided two large heated tents with wooden floors, one where competitors could dress or wax their skis, and an even larger one with tables, snack bar and a stage. At slack times during the day, participants sat and socialized in the big tent. In addition, awards were presented there on Thursday and Friday evenings which brought participants back to the tent for the awards and the live music that followed.
Each awards session began with the ski jumping anthem Jump and Fly composed by professional musician and IMC competitor Anton Zapf, and each class was announced with the the first ten notes of Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Children held the national flags of the medallists while the champion's national anthem played. At the end of the awards ceremony, all of the medalists were called back to assemble on the stage while We Are the Champions blared over the loudspeakers.
The only glitch in the smooth operation was transportation. Participants were housed all over town, with few within walking distance of the jumps. Organizers scheduled busses and vans to help participants get back and forth, but the busses were not dependable, sometimes forcing competitors to call a taxi which could cost 9 to 10 Euros for the ride to the jumps.
In Reit im Winkl (2004), Austria was represented the first time with a team of six skiers. This year, with the encouragement of those six, especially Alexander Diess (below, left), the home team expanded to 28 (below, right) and took home 15 medals.
As usual, Norway brought the largest team, 54 men who took home 37 medals.
The competition was blessed with good weather, temperatures hovering just above freezing each afternoon, and
skies mostly cloudy except for one sunny day. Hardly a breeze moved during the five days of skiing. The tracks
were cut in hard, hard snow and were straight, smooth and fast. The landings were rock-hard underneath with a
covering of packed new snow that sometimes gave slight changes in speed. Skiers trained on the smaller hills
on Tuesday and on all hills on Wednesday.
Competition was spread over three days with a very busy day in the middle. Thursday morning at nine o'clock, 80 jumpers aged 45 and up lined up to compete on the 60 meter hill. At one-thirty that afternoon, the remaining 73 younger competitors got their chance.
Friday morning, 111 skiers competed on the 30 meter jump and in the afternoon, 48 jumpers formed into eight teams
of six, four pure national teams and four mixed teams borrowing skiers to fill out their ranks, for a team event
on the 60 meter hill. A look at the standings in the table above shows a good race for the gold and and the tightest
possible three-way contest for fifth place.
Here are the names of the medalists from IMC 2005 in Villach, Austria:
30 meter (K) 60 meter (K) 90 meter (K) Nordic Combined Cl.11 JOHS JOHANSEN NOR JOHS JOHANSEN NOR 80-84 Cl. 9 RICHARD DIESS AUT RICHARD DIESS AUT 70-74 JOHN EIDEM NOR JOHN EIDEM NOR Cl. 8 AARNE KUISMA FIN AARNE KUISMA FIN INGVART TÖRNÄNGEN SWE IVAR SOLBERG NOR 65-69 SVEIN HUSBY NOR SVEIN HUSBY NOR MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ FIN MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ FIN KURT BRAUSSE GER INGVART TÖRNÄNGEN SWE DON WEST USA TEUVO KOLJONEN FIN Cl. 7 RIEDAR FINNANGER NOR GUTTORM BAKKE NOR ANTTI KOKKONEN FIN RIEDAR FINNANGER* NOR 60-64 AKE SALONIEMI SWE ANTTI KOKKONEN FIN AKE SALONIEMI SWE PER BIRGER LOMHEIM NOR JAN RINGSETH NOR PER BIRGER LOMHEIM NOR Cl. 6 JOHANNES ORSCHEL GER KLAUS GÜNTHER GER KLAUS GÜNTHER GER BJÖRN ODEGAARD NOR 55-59 TAISTO TOLVANEN FIN JAN HEIBERG NOR JAN HEIBERG NOR GJERT ANDERSEN NOR BJÖRN ODEGAARD NOR KNUT SÖRLIEN NOR KNUT SÖRLIEN NOR VALERIE CHUYKIN RUS Cl. 5 ODD E. NORDSTEIEN NOR ARSI SJÖGREN FIN ARSI SJÖGREN FIN ARSI SJÖGREN FIN 50-54 ARNT KATHO EIDEM NOR STEIN JOHANNESEN NOR ROY STRENGELSRUD NOR PEKKA TAINIO FIN VAINÖ KARJALAINEN FIN ROY STRENGELSRUD NOR BJÖRN KNUTSEN NOR JAN OVE LOMHEIM NOR Cl. 4 RAIMO PIHLAJANIEMI FIN ALFRED GROYER AUT ARI RAITOHARJU FIN LEONID VOLOGJANIN RUS 45-49 BRANKO BAS SLO ARI RAITOHARJU FIN ALFRED GROYER AUT PERTTI LAAKSONEN FIN R. KLEMENTSCHITSCH AUT JOSEF HYSEK SVK MARKUS MALVALEHTO FIN TOR ARILD MALIN NOR Cl. 3 VLADO ACKO SLO OYVIND VILLESVIK NOR OYVIND VILLESVIK NOR MARKKU JANTUNEN FIN 40-44 ZVONE POGRAJC SLO KRISTOF GASPIRC SLO G-RUNE LISLEGAARD NOR G-RUNE LISLEGAARD NOR OVE FREDHEIM NOR KALEVI KANTOLA FIN KNUT BJERKE NOR OVE FREDHEIM NOR Cl. 2 ALEXANDER ILYUKHIN RUS JANNE HEINONEN FIN JANNE HEINONEN FIN KONSTANTIN GRIGORYEV RUS 35-39 BOJAN CESEN SLO ERHARD RUPRECHTER AUT SEPPO KINNUNEN FIN OLE ELDAR LEIRAMO NOR ALEXANDER GRUBER AUT SEPPO KINNUNEN FIN ERHARD RUPRECHTER AUT JOHN ERIK NYGAARD NOR Cl. 1 THOMAS HILLBRAND AUT JENS GREINER-HIERO GER ALEXANDER DIESS AUT ALEXANDER DIESS AUT 30-34 CHRISTIAN HOPPE AUT ALEXANDER DIESS AUT WERNER RATHMAYR AUT PETER BAUER GER JORG PREISLER GER LENNART THEANDER SWE MARKO GOLKE GER ERWIN KINDL AUT (* FELIKS AYRAPETOV (RUS, age 64) was awarded a gold medal for jumping the 60 m. and skiing 3 laps.)
That's all for IMC 2005, now on to Slovenia for IMC 2006, ...
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