FIN flag 2008 Taivalkoski FIN

Five Jumping Hills
The five Taivalkoski jumps (R-L): HS-15, 24, 53, 40, 80

The Old Boys of the ski jumping world gathered in late February 2008 in Taivalkoski, FIN for competition and fellowship in the nineteenth annual International Masters Championship. This was the third visit to Finland for IMC.

The warm weather and lack of snow which plagued IMC-2007 was forgotten as huge snow banks and frigid temperatures greeted arriving participants. The choice of Taivalkoski as the IMC host marked a reversal of the recent trend to larger and larger ski jumps. This year the Old Boys competed on well designed and well prepared K-38, K-50 & K-73 meter hills. The 38 and 50 meter hills share the same landing but a flagman by the takeoff made sure that there were no conflicts. Each inrun had a good ice track, straight, deep and square, which endured thousands of jumps by hundreds of skiers. Workers swept any new snow from the tracks daily to assure fast and even speeds. Jumpers were whisked to the top by a nice Poma-Lift.

Taivalkoski Coat of Arms
Taivalkoski is a very small city and finding accommodations for 300 IMC visitors was a strain, which led to an unfortunate confrontation between organizers and one of the visiting teams. With teams housed all over town, organizers provided several vans and drivers to shuttle participants to and from the jumps or the Load of Logs Hotel Herkko which was the center for all indoor activities except the closing banquet. As the city coat of arms indicates, the forestry industry is very important in this part of Finland. Rail-yards are lined with freight cars loaded down with slender logs destined for paper factories, and a forestry college is one of the important city institutions.

This was the second year for the extended IMC schedule, with official training on Monday and Tuesday and opening ceremonies Tuesday evening. With temperatures around freezing and wet snow falling, Monday's training was a bit difficult, but the cold weather returned overnight and remained throughout the Championships.

To keep the waiting lines short at the top of the jumps, Monday's training schedule broke the day into one-hour blocks, each reserved for certain nations. The Tuesday
Tapio's Trophies
schedule used two-hour time blocks but again divided the participants into groups of 50 to 70 skiers at a time.

Tapio
Taivalkoski's fresh new jumping facility boasts a nice building with lounge, snack bar, ski rentals and office, but the building is small and was no match for the more than 200 IMC participants and escorts. A built-in display case in a hallway holds an impressive collection of trophies belonging to Tapio Raisenen (above, right), 1977 World Champion and chief organizer of IMC-2008. (At left, the red arrow points to Tapio's world championship gold medal.)

Tapio's organization worked very smoothly, with very few glitches. The young office staff kept track of the registrations and had no trouble with the eccentricities of IMC rules. A group of hill-packers on alpine skis appeared on command to refresh a landing. Skiers' changing rooms were three heated trailers and while these were private and warm, they could get cramped as twenty or so of the more than fifty skiers assigned to each trailer tried to dress all at once.

We usually find a few spectators standing around the jumps during training, and more for the competitions, and everyone
Still a hero in Finland
carries a small digital camera, but this year the crowds were much larger, and the paparazzi were present with their black cameras with huge lenses. It seems that we had a celebrity in our midst. The Finnish national hero Matti Nykänen was entered in the 40-44 year age group, and caused a great stir whenever he showed his face.

The 44 year old super-star had recently returned to training and skiing after a couple of troubled decades involving drugs and jail, among other things. The Old Boys all hoped that getting back on skis would help the three time Olympic gold medalist to get his life back in order. We all wished him the best and gave him his space.

Tuesday's ceremonies began in Taivalkoski church (below, left) with a musical program created by German Master jumper and professional musician Anton Zapf. Several of Anton's original pieces, mixed with selections by Bach, Handel and Sibelius, were performed by a vocal quartet with several instruments and organ.

Taivalkoski church Singers and musicians

From the church, participants formed into groups by nation and, led by boys carrying placards, paraded down the hill to the town square where they stood in the cold and listened to the usual speeches, fortunately not long, by the Mayor and the Ski Association representative.
Dancing a Sami Tale
Officials of the Finnish Masters group welcomed Matti Nykänen and made him a member of their group, presenting him with the official blue jacket and hat of the Finnish Masters. Finally, IMC Committee Chairman Klaus Günther declared the IMC open, and the crowd was treated to a dance (right) which told a story about a Sami mother, her baby, and a famous shaman. When the festivities were finished, the taxi vans shuttled participants to Hotel Herkko on the hill above the ski area for a "welcome party".

The trip to Taivalkoski was difficult and expensive, so teams from central Europe were quite small. However, this year saw the return of a small group from Estonia, and for the first time, the IMC welcomed a team from Latvia, a team with a single skier.

Two IMC medals
Competition started at 10 am on Wednesday with the older age groups, about 75 jumpers, on the middle sized hill, followed by the 80 or so younger competitors in the afternoon. Wednesday evening, and on following evenings, participants swarmed to the Hotel Herkko for awards and socializing. In addition to the usual gold, silver and bronze medals, organizers presented trophies to the top six finishers in each age group. Actually, this year's medals (left) were fashioned from glass rather than precious metal. [ See results or podium pictures ]

Thursday saw another two-part competition, this time on the smaller jump. [ See results or podium pictures ]

Later in the afternoon, the Old Boys joined in a test event, a Nordic Combined team sprint relay with four-man teams, run on a cross country course just a few meters from the outruns. Each competitor's best jump score was used, and the skier aged 60+ started off the relay with a one lap around a one kilometer loop. He then tagged his team-mate aged 50+ who skied two laps, followed by two younger skiers who covered three laps each.

Ready to start the sprint relay

It was cold and the snow was slow, but the experiment was a great success with eleven teams signing up and skiing, and the IMC Committee has agreed to make such an event a regular part of IMC. The order of finish in the Sprint Relay was Russia-1, Finland-1, Russia-2, Norway-1, ... , so at the Thursday evening awards, some people were surprised when the Norwegian team was called up to receive third place honors. Organizers had invoked an IMC principle that team events are for national teams and that a second team cannot displace another nation's team. This principle was applied again in Saturday's team jumping. [ See sprint relay results or podium pictures ]

-19 deg. C, or -2 F Friday morning, eighty three Old Boys aged 30 to 70 put on their numbers and headed to the top for the big hill (K-73 meter) competition. [ See jumping results or podium pictures ]
The afternoon was given to the annual IMC Committee meeting, with awards following in the evening. [ See the minutes of the meeting.]

Saturday morning saw the traditional team jumping competition on the 73 meter hill. This event belonged to the home team which included five gold medalists from the big hill competition, three of whom also won on the 50 meter hill. (The sixth member of Team Finland had won only a silver and a bronze.) The Finns won by more than two hundred points over Norway-1. Finland-2 placed third but third place honors went to the next finisher, Team Germany. [ team results or podium pictures ]

The final competitive event of the week was the Nordic Combined cross country racing held Saturday afternoon, with the oldest of the athletes racing three km, the next groups five km, and the youngest going ten km. The weather had warmed just a bit and the course was not quite as slow as it had been two days earlier.   [ See Nordic Combined results or podium pictures ] Oldest Competitor

The IMC Committee met again at Hotel Herkko for less than an hour (see minutes) before vans began transferring the crowd to the forestry college for the closing banquet. A hearty meal of pork and salmon, and of course potatoes, lingenberries and other side items, was followed by usual Erkki Dancing speeches and thank-you gifts. Organizers recognized 73 year old Janken Hallström (left) of Sweden as this year's oldest competitor.

A group of dancers performed some modern numbers showing a little traditional flavor, Finnish competitor Erkki Ahtiainen showed his skiing friends a new side as he stepped in and performed a long dance routine with some of the ladies of the troupe (right). We don't know if the split in the seat of Erkki's tight blue trousers were an accident or part of the act.

Repeat gold medals were common this year with eight athletes winning two golds in individual events, but two athletes, Arsi Sjögren (FIN) and Konstantin Grikoryev (RUS) took the maximum of three individual golds by winning their age group competitions in the K-50, K-73 and Nordic Combined. Aatto Lamminpää was this year's ironman -- he was the only athlete to participate in all six of the scheduled events. And Norway's Sindre Helland was back for IMC XIX, and won another medal. Sindre is the only athlete to participate in every one of the nineteen IMC's.

Three Gold Medals!
Arsi Sjögren
Finland

Three Gold Medals!
Konstantin Grikoryev
Russia

Skied all Six Events!
Aatto Lamminpää
Finland

Perfect Attendance
Sindre Helland
Norway

A Brief Statistical Summary

During the four days of IMC XIX, 191 jumpers from 11 nations made 408 starts in the four individual events. Add to that the starts in the two team events (11 teams of 4 in the sprint, and 7 teams of 6 in the team jump) and we get 494 total starts in competition.
Just a few years ago was the first time any nation went home with no medals. This year, three nations failed to get medals and, at the other end of the spectrum, Finland made home-hill advantage work, taking 45 medals, 21 of them gold.
Here are two tables: one showing the team sizes and number of medals won, and the other showing class sizes in the four individual events.


   NAT    men mdls         Cl.   Ages    K-38 K-50 K-73  NC

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

   AUT     3    3           9    70-74     7    3    2    5

   EST     5    3           8    65-69     8    7    2    6

   FIN    73   45           7    60-64    17   17    6    7

   GBR     2    0           6    55-59    18   25    7    7

   GER     7    4           5    50-54    15   24    7   10

   LAT     1    0           4    45-49    11   26   13   10

   NOR    49   26           3    40-44    11   23   15    6

   RUS    33   18           2    35-39    10   16   10    7

   SWE     9    4           1    30-34     6   17   15    6

   UKR     7    0           0    25-29               6    

   USA     2    3           -------------------------------

   --------------               Totals:  103  158   83   64 = 408

  Totals 191  106

                               408 + 44 + 42 (team entries) = 494

The event web site was taken down years ago and with it the results that were posted in 39 .pdf files, one for each age group in each event. Click for Event Web Site The Web Ladies Were Back! Manuela Steinki has more than 800 pictures on her web page.
Or see several hundred pictures posted by Daniela Richter.

Fortunately we had saved the 39 files and in 2010 we posted them here. [ See them now.]
Then in 2014 we took the time to convert the 39 .pdf files to six html files, one for each event. You can now read results in a single file for each of the following competitions in IMC-2008:

[ 38m Jump ]   [ 53m Jump ]   [ 73m Jump ]   [ Team Jump ]   [ Nordic Comb.]   [ NC Team Sprint ]

We also have awards photos: [ K-38 ] ... [ K-50 ] ... [ K-73 ] ... [ N.C. ] ... [ Team ]

Here are the medalists from IMC 2008 in Taivalkoski, Finland:
[This listing is wide, use your horizontal slider (if necessary) to view all four columns.]




                38 meter (K)              50 meter (K)              73 meter (K)           Nordic Combined



Cl  9   1. AARNE KUISMA       FIN    AARNE KUISMA       FIN    MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN    MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN

70-74   2. TEUVO KOLJONEN*    FIN    MARTTI LAMMINPÄÄ   FIN    DON WEST           USA    AARNE LINTULAHTI   FIN

        3. JANKEN HALLSTRÖM*  SWE    DON WEST           USA                              TEUVO KOLJONEN     FIN



Cl. 8   1. PER BIRGER LOMHEIM NOR    INGVART TÖRNÄNGEN  SWE    INGVART TÖRNÄNGEN  SWE    PER BIRGER LOMHEIM NOR

65-69   2. SVEIN HUSBY*       NOR    SVEIN HUSBY        NOR    TEUVO HOKKANEN     FIN    ARNOLD LUND        NOR

        3. ARNOLD LUND        NOR    TEUVO HOKKANEN     FIN                              IVAR SOLBERG       NOR



Cl. 7   1. GJERT ANDERSEN     NOR    KNUT SÖRLIEN       NOR    KNUT SÖRLIEN       NOR    GJERT ANDERSEN     NOR

60-64   2. TAISTO TOLVANEN*   FIN    VLADIMIR KALININ   RUS    AATTO LAMMINPÄÄ    FIN    AATTO LAMMINPÄÄ    FIN

        3. SIGMUND STENBERG   NOR    TAISTO TOLVANEN    FIN    VLADIMIR KALININ   RUS    AKE SALONIEMI      SWE



Cl. 6   1. OLAVI LEINONEN     FIN    PENTTI RAUTIAINEN  FIN    PENTTI RAUTIAINEN  FIN    JAN SKEVIK         NOR

55-59   2. SINDRE HELLAND     NOR    STEIN JOHANNESEN   NOR    STEIN JOHANNESEN   NOR    DENNIS KAVLI       NOR

        3. RISTO KOIVISTO     FIN    RUNE TULLUAN       NOR    ANTON ZAPF         GER    OIVA OLLIKAINEN    FIN



Cl. 5   1. ARI JOUTJÄRVI      FIN    ARSI SJOGREN       FIN    ARSI SJÖGREN       FIN    ARSI SJÖGREN       FIN

50-54   2. JURGEN STIELOW     GER    ARI JOUTJÄRVI      FIN    MIKHAIL PIROZHKOV  RUS    PERTTI LAAKSONEN   FIN

        3. STIG DAHL          NOR    STIG DAHL          NOR    STEIN ARNE HOEL    NOR    VLADIMIR ULYANOV   RUS



Cl. 4   1. PASI KÄHKÖLÄ       FIN    VEIJO STRANDEN     FIN    VEIJO STRANDEN     FIN    MARKKU JANTUNEN    FIN

45-49   2. KALEVI KANTOLA     FIN    MIKKO O.AHVENJÄRVI FIN    FRODE HERMO        NOR    LEONID VOLOGZHANIN RUS

        3. MIKKO O.AHVENJÄRVI FIN    PASI KÄHKÖLÄ       FIN    JACK GASIENICA     USA    JURY MIKHAYLOV     RUS



Cl. 3   1. MATTI NYKÄNEN      FIN    SEPPO KINNUNEN     FIN    MIKKO TASKILA      FIN    FIDEL TERENTIEV    RUS

40-44   2. JAN INGE SKJERVEN  NOR    KARI HÄMÄLÄINEN    FIN    PASI HUTTUNEN      FIN    OVE FREDHEIM       NOR

        3. FIDEL TERENTIEV    RUS    PASI HUTTUNEN      FIN    SEPPO KINNUNEN     FIN    OYVIND VILLESVIK   NOR



Cl. 2   1. KRISTIAN IJÄS      FIN    KONST'N GRIKORYEV  RUS    KONST'N GRIKORYEV  RUS    KONST'N GRIKORYEV  RUS

35-39   2. KLAUS SÖLKNER      AUT    JENS GREINER-HIERO GER    JENS GREINER-HIERO GER    KONST'N RYABININ   RUS

        3. KONST'N KORNYSHOV  RUS    KLAUS SÖLKNER      AUT    DMITRIY SHERLYGIN  RUS    KLAUS SÖLKNER      AUT



Cl. 1   1. MARKO MÄÄTTÄ       FIN    PER-CHR. SVENDSEN  NOR    TEEMU SUMMANEN     FIN    JURY PAVLOV        RUS

30-34   2. MAGNUS VAHT        EST    IGOR FEDOROV       RUS    IGOR FEDOROV       RUS    IGOR FEDOROV       RUS

        3. ALAN VAHT          EST    MIIKKA TUPPERAINEN FIN    PER-CHR. SVENDSEN  NOR    TAIVO PALLOTEDDER  EST

( * Martti & Aatto Lamminpää, Don West & Teuvo Hokkanen were not eligible for 38 m. medals. They competed for NC points only.)

 

That's all for IMC 2008. now on to Germany for IMC 2009, ...

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