SLO flag 2006 Kranj SLO

The Old Boys of the ski jumping world gathered in Kranj, Slovenia (rhymes with John, the "j" is silent) early in February 2006 for sport and fellowship at the seventeenth International Masters Championship (IMC).

  Kranj Coat of Arms  

The Kranj Big Hill   Jumping was scheduled on the shiny new HS-105 meter jump (left) located across the river from the city center, as well as on three of the five smaller jumps (below) clustered in the older complex just a kilometer up the road. Nordic Combined competition was completed at a cross country complex in the village of Medvode about 15 km from Kranj.
Five Smaller Jumps

A city of about 35,000 people, fourth largest in Slovenia, Kranj is an ancient town with a history running back through medieval and Roman times to the bronze age. The small Old Town section is perched on a rocky point high above the confluence of the Sava and the Kokra Rivers, with fragments of an old defensive wall still visible on the western edge (right). The Slovenian capital Ljubjana is 25 km down the highway to the southeast, while up the same highway about 80 km to the northwest is Planica, home of the world's largest ski jump with a hill record of 239 meters.   Old City Wall (right)

Ski Club Logo  
The IMC was scheduled right on the heels of the World Junior Nordic Championships (jumping, cross country and Nordic combined) on the big hill and in Medvode and a number of IMC competitors traveled to Kranj a few days early to watch their nation's youngsters compete. The hardworking hosts of the Triglav Ski Club had a lot on their plate, hosting two world championship events in quick succession, and their fatigue showed in the early days of the IMC.

The organizers had scheduled training on all hills starting early in the week but an unfortunate thaw and freeze left all the jumps very hard -- some would say icy. In addition, an uneven curve in the transition from the landing to the outrun of the 50 meter jump contributed to a number of falls. The situation frustrated some of the skiers so badly that each day as many as fifty of the two hundred IMC competitors drove eighty km to train in Villach, Austria, last year's IMC venue, where the hills and conditions were nicer.

Old Town Cathedral   Wednesday evening, competitors gathered in the cathedral in Old Town Kranj to remember their fallen comrade Pekka Tainio of Finland who died recently after a ski jumping accident. Master jumper and organist Anton Zapf played the organ while jumper and choir director Ivar Solberg, his arm in a cast from a training fall, led a hastily assembled group of jumpers and wives in a song written for the occasion.   In the Cathedral

 

From the Cathedral, IMC participants paraded about two kilometers down the hill, across the river and up the road to the jump for opening ceremonies in the large indoor space under the uphill outrun of the big hill (right).   Building under the outrun

The opening ceremony featured live music and dance performances, all in the Alpine fashion, as well as a group of skiers parading in old style clothing with very old skis. After a few short speeches, IMC president Klaus Günther pronounced the seventeenth IMC open, and many participants stayed around for dancing and fellowship.

Dancers at the opening   Retro-skiers

Thursday morning, competition started with the IMC main event, the fifty meter jump, but not before organizers brought in a snow-cat and tilled the outrun for better stopping. However, the falls continued as the morning group, jumpers over 45 years of age, competed for the first medals of the week. The advance registration list showed 96 competitors signed up for the morning 50 meter competition but the printed start list contained only 73 of which just 48 actually finished. After lunch, the younger competitors took to the fifty meter hill in a long day of competition, with 69 jumpers in the finish list.

Next the Grand Masters over 70 years old had their chance for competition on the 20 meter hill, led by 82 year old Johs Johnsen of Norway. The first day of competion was brought to a close with the team competition.

IMC Medal   Only three teams showed up for this usually sprited competition, reflecting the skiers' lack of enthusiasm for the 50 meter hill. The Finns finished ahead of Team Norway even without star Ari Raitaharju who broke his leg earlier in the week in a simple looking fall while stopping.
At 8:00 pm, participants assembled again under the big hill outrun for awards.
  Bringing Medals

 

Friday was another long day, with 20 and 40 meter jumping, followed by cross country in Medvode.

And They're Off! The 40 meter competition with 84 competitors, conducted in a single session, went on and on, pushing the start of cross country later and later, but finally it was all finished with the last of the 47 racers crossing the finish line as dusk settled.

Even the evening awards took a long time, with 20 meter, 40 meter and Nordic combined medals to distribute.

A haze had hung in the valley all week but on Saturday morning the haze was gone, cleared out by fresh winds and replaced by brilliant sunshine. But the winds were coming from a bad direction and made big hill jumping a bad proposition. IMC president Klaus Gunther called a meeting of team leaders on the deck next to the outrun of the 100 meter hill and the representatives agreed to move the big hill competition to the Villach 90 meter hill. Villach hosted the most recent IMC in 2005 and skiers had been training there all week so they knew that the conditions were good. Villach officials had been contacted and were ready to run an excellent competition on the shortest of notice. Athletes and officials drove en masse up the autobahn and through the five mile tunnel into Austria. Arriving at the Alpen Arena in Villach, they found beautiful packed powder and a gentle breeze tumbling down the mountain behind the jumps. The big hill event was a great success with 57 finishers in eight age groups!

Johs Johnsen, age 82  
Two Honored Norwegians

Johs Johnsen (left, age 82) holds his special award as the oldest competitor in IMC 17.

Sindre Helland (right) is the only skier to participate in all 17 editions of the International Masters Championships!

  Sindre Helland

Saturday evening, everybody followed the winding road up to the Bellevue Hotel on top of the mountain behind the jumps for the closing banquet, where entertainment was again provided by traditional dancers and two bands, one consisting of school kids singing and playing tuba, guitar and accordian.

Dancers at the Banquet   Band of Youngsters

Mayor Mohor Bogataj of Kranj thanked the skiers for coming to the city, and team leaders took the opportunity to present souvenir gifts to the hard working organizers.

Mayor Bogataj
M. Bogataj
 
President Javornik
Joze Javornik
 
Janez Gros
Janez Gros
 
Janez Bester
Janez Bester
 
Meta Javornik
Meta Javornik

Ski club president Joze Javornik and Chief of Competition Janez Groz had showed great patience, trying to organize a difficult event while enduring the shrill complaints of IMC members when conditions were not perfect. Janez Bester, with his laptop computer always at his fingertips, kept track of all registrations, start lists and results in a huge competition in which many skiers change their minds at the last minute. Cheerful and energetic Meta Javornik is, in a sense, the reason why Slovenia is an IMC member and now a host. In 2004, she answered a chance e-mail and was told about the 2004 IMC. The Triglav club brought a small team to Reit im Winkl and then bid for the 2006 event.

Dinner was a buffet offering a vast array of delicious local specialties. The official activities ended with the last session of awards, the medals for the big hill. Then the band struck up again and some couples danced while other participants said their goodbyes and headed back down the mountain. IMC 17 was over.


 





NAT   men mdl

-------------

AUS    1   1

AUT   14  11

CAN    1   0

CZE    2   0

FIN   29  30

GER   26  12

HUN    5   0

NOR   42  34

RUS   10   9

SLO   35  24

SVK    1   0

SWE    6   5

USA    5   1
A few facts and figures

A pre-registration list showed 218 participants from thirteen nations (Estonia, Italy and Poland were missing), but 2006 brought no new teams. Four of the teams failed to take home a medal. This is a recent phenomenon -- for years, every team had at least one medal. As usual, Norway brought the largest team and took home the most medals, with Finland close behind in the medal count. An unofficial count shows that, after no-shows, withdrawals and injuries, 177 athletes actually competed. The table at the right shows how this number broke down by nation how the medals were divided.

There were five multiple gold medalists, down from nine in 2005. Johs Johnsen, Willy Johansen and Seppo Kinnunen won two golds while Bjørn Odegård and Arsi Sjögren each took home three.

This year's iron-man was Martti Lamminpaa who skied in five events and won four medals! On Thursday morning, he won a silver medal on the 50 meter hill, and returned to the same hill late in the afternoon, one of three Finnish skiers recruited for the mixed Austria/Finland team that took the bronze in the team competition. He was back early Friday morning to ski the 40 meter jump where, by IMC rule, at age 68, he was required to earn his Nordic Combined points. He then drove his old square camper truck to Medvode to race one lap around lap around the 2.5 km cross country course, finishing in the bronze medal position. He ended his week by driving "Hotel Martti" to Villach where he took gold on the 90 meter hill. Yes, he and his younger brother Aatto drove the round trip from southern Finland to Kranj and back in the old diesel camper.

Confusion in the Cross Country
Each year the IMC Nordic Combined Committee decides which jumps and what XC distances will be used by the various age groups. (See table at right.)
In an early meeting, the Committee agreed to vary from this rule, permitting skiers aged 60-69 to choose choose either the 20 or 40 meter jump for their NC points. They also agreed to permit skiers younger than 70 to join the special jump competition on the 20 meter hill in a single class. Organizers went beyond this new ruling, permitting three deviations from the original NC rules, and making the younger K-20 age groups into medal events.
In the end, Willy Johansen (70-74) skied the 40 meter rather than the 20 meter jump for Nordic combined, while Ernst Rühl (65-69) and and Janez Goranc (55-59) skied the 20 meter rather than the 40.
The confusion continued to the XC course, as organizers used the same 10 km Gundersen handicap for 50 meter jumpers running either 5 or 10 km. Finally, XC course control was poor and one skier (Gjert Andersen NOR) lost a medal by running three laps instead of two.
Original IMC Rules
for Nordic Combined


Ages 30 – 49: K-50 and 10 Km

Ages 50 – 59: K-50 and 5 Km

Ages 60 – 69: K-40 and 3 Km

Ages 70 & up: K-20 and 3 Km

In 2005, the name of Olympian Karl Schnabl appeared on the pre-registration list, but Schnabl did not ski. This year, the phantom skier was Vinko Bogataj, made famous in North America by his frightening "Agony of Defeat" fall which was replayed every weekend for decades in the opening sequence of ABC-TV's Wide World of Sports. Bogataj followed Schnabl's example and did not compete.

See complete IMC results:  [ K-20 ] . . [ K-40 ] . . [ K-50 ] . . [ K-90 ] . . [ N.C. ] . . [ Team ]

or see photos of medalists:  [ K-20 ] . . [ K-40 ] . . [ K-50 ] . . [ K-90 ] . . [ N.C. ] . . [ Team ]

or see the Event Website in Slovenia.

The busy program and changes in the schedule made it difficult to find a time for the annual IMC Committee meeting, but finally a meeting was hastily called for Saturday evening during the start of the banquet. Hinterzarten, Germany was chosen to host IMC 2007, with the schedule of events extended from three days to four. New IMC competition rules were also approved. The standing Committee officers (Klaus Günther, Torbjorn Haugen, Åke Saloniemi and Anton Zapf) were elected for another year, and Alexander Diess was added as a technical expert on ski jumps.


Here are the names of the medalists from IMC 2006 in Kranj, Slovenia:
[This listing is wide, use your horizontal slider (if necessary) to view all four columns.]




           20 meter (K)              40 meter (K)             50 meter (K)             90 meter (K)          Nordic Combined



Cl.11   JOHS JOHANSEN      NOR                                                                             JOHS JOHANSEN      NOR

80-84



Cl. 9   KURT BRAUSSE       GER   RICHARD DIESS      AUT   WILLY JOHANSEN    NOR                           *JAKA RES           SLO

70-74   TEUVO KOLJONEN     FIN   WILLY JOHANSEN     NOR                                                    RICHARD DIESS      AUT

        RICHARD DIESS      AUT   KURT BRAUSSE       GER                                                    TEUVO KOLJONEN     FIN

        

Cl. 8   FRANC PAVC         SLO   SVEIN HUSEBY       NOR   SVEIN HUSEBY      NOR    MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ  FIN  *KARE HOLMEN        NOR

65-69   MIRKO KNAFELJ      SLO   MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN   MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ  FIN    DON WEST          USA   FELIX AIRAPETOV    RUS

                                 KÅRE HOLMEN        NOR   FELIX AIRAPETOV   RUS                            MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN



Cl. 7   PER BIRGER LOMHEIM NOR   SIGMUND STENBERG   NOR   ANTTI KOKKONEN    FIN    AATTO LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN   AKE SALONIEMI      SWE

60-64   OLLE STROMVALL     SWE   AKE SALONIEMI      SWE   SIGMUND STENBERG  NOR    ANTTI KOKKONEN    FIN   RIEDAR FINNANGER   NOR

        TONY MIHELCIC      AUS   JAN RINGSETH       NOR   AATTO LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN                            PER BIRGER LOMHEIM NOR



Cl. 6   JOZE DOLZAN        SLO   DAG TESSEM         NOR   BJORN ODEGARD     NOR    BJORN ODEGARD     NOR  *BJÖRN ODEGAARD     NOR

55-59   SASO KURENT        SLO   RISTO KOIVISTO     FIN   KNUT SÖRLIEN      NOR    KNUT SÖRLIEN      NOR   VICTOR KOLPAKOV    RUS

        JANEZ PRESEREN     SLO   JANEZ GORJANC      SLO   VICTOR KOLPAKOV   RUS    OLE KJÖLEN        NOR   VAINO KARJALAINEN  FIN



Cl. 5   IVO MLAKER         SLO   HANNU KOHTALA      FIN   ARSI SJÖGREN      FIN    ARSI SJÖGREN      FIN   ARSI SJÖGREN       FIN

50-54   OLE HERMANSEN      NOR   KATO EIDEM         NOR   PEKKA KORHONEN    FIN    STEIN JOHANNESEN  NOR   PERTTI LAAKSONEN   FIN

        BRANKO BAS         SLO   ODD NORDSTEIEN     NOR   MIKHAIL PIROZHKOV RUS    OLA HAGE          NOR   PEKKA KORHONEN     FIN



Cl. 4   JOZE ZUPAN         SLO   BRANE FINZGAR      SLO   VEIJO STRANDEN    FIN    ALFRED GROYER     AUT   KARI PESONEN       FIN

45-49   JURGEN STIELOW     GER   SVEIN ERIK RONNING NOR   FRODE HERMO       NOR    VEIJO STRANDEN    FIN   STIG DAHL          NOR

        PETER JENKO        SLO   JURGEN STIELOW     GER   RAUNO KOMULAINEN  FIN    MARKUS MALVALEHTO FIN   MATTI SAARI        FIN



Cl. 3   VLADO AEKO         SLO   KALEVI KANTOLA     FIN   KRISTOF GAŠPIRC   SLO    OYVIND VILLESVIK  NOR   G-RUNE LISLEGAARD  NOR

40-44   ZVONE POGRAJC      SLO   VLADO AEKO         SLO   ERHARD RUPRECHTER AUT    JANNE HEINONEN    FIN   MARKKU JANTUNEN    FIN

        BOGDAN FINZGAR     SLO   BOGDAN FINZGAR     SLO   G-RUNE LISLEGAARD NOR    ERHARD RUPRECHTER AUT   OVE FREDHEIM       NOR



Cl. 2                            JORG PREISSLER     GER   SEPPO KINNUNEN    FIN    SEPPO KINNUNEN    FIN   PETER BAUER        GER

35-39                            PIETRO NILSSON     SWE   LENNART THEANDER  SWE    PETER BAUER       GER   KONST'N GRIGORYEV  RUS

                                 ROBERT KOPAE       SLO   KONST'N GRIGORYEV RUS    KONST'N GRIGORYEV RUS   ALEX. POSTONOGOV   RUS



Cl. 1                            IGOR JELEN         SLO   J. HIERO-GREINER  GER    J. HIERO-GREINER  GER   IGOR JELEN         SLO

30-34                            KLAUS SÖLKER       AUT   MARKO GOLKE       GER    ALEXANDER DIESS   AUT   ALEXANDER DIESS    AUT

                                 FRANCI ROGELJ      SLO   IGOR JELEN        SLO    GIDO WINDISCH     GER   KLAUS SÖLKNER      AUT



                                                                                      * Nordic combined gold medals also went to:

                                                                                                       WILLY JOHANSEN   (70, NOR)

                                                                                                       ERNST RÜHL       (67, GER)

                                                                                                       JANEZ GORJANC    (57, SLO)

                                                                                               who jumped on different hills.  

That's all for IMC 2006, now on to Germany for IMC 2007, ...

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