In Part 1 of our series about RAW AIR we explained the idea of the event to you and talked with Vibeke Linn, Head of Social Media (in case you missed it, click here). Today you will have the chance to learn about the opinion of FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Walter Hofer and about the challenges he will have to face. Furthermore, we talked to Veronika Pankova, physiotherapist of the Czech team and Killian Peier from Switzerland.
Walter Hofer – „It is a great privilege to serve, support and watch this outstanding performance of our athletes.“
Before we are going to start to talk about RAW AIR we want to use this opportunity to thank Walter Hofer again for taking the time to answer our questions to provide our readers with an interesting insight.
Walter Hofer, who became Ski Jumping Race Director in 1992, is an important member of the International Ski Federation. Thanks to his hard and dedicated work ski jumping became popular in the 1990s. Ever since the sport experienced some changes and innovations to make it more attractive for the athletes and spectators. That is what leads us to RAW AIR which will be another new idea to make ski jumping even more interesting. Hofer told us about his excitement in regard to the new competition series: „I am really excited that all parties involved were able to find and support this mutual idea. It is the initial start of a new series with high potential for publicity and promotion of ski jumping.“
Essential for this new series is the new scoring system which includes the qualification in the overall ranking. The qualification means the reduction of the participants to fifty. „In order to make this procedure more attractive for spectators and media, this format has been found“, explained Hofer.
RAW AIR stands for ten days of competitions, ten rough days for the teams who will participate but also ten days filled with a lot of stress for Walter Hofer who has to claim responsibility for the athletes and their well-being. Hofer told us that the well-being of the athletes must be in the focus during all their actions. He also stated that it will be the decision of the respective athlete if he takes part or not since there is no need to participate in all events. When it comes to himself he cannot make this decision because for him it will be a must to be part of every qualification and competition round. Even though RAW AIR comes with a lot of responsibilities and work he is fully motivated for this event: „It is a great privilege to serve, support and watch this outstanding performance of our athletes.“
We already mentioned the responsibility for organisers, hosts and of course for members, who represent the International Ski Federation. Because of this, we asked Walter Hofer what will be the hardest thing he will have to face while organising a new event like RAW AIR. For fans of ski jumping it seemed like the idea of RAW AIR appeared in public a bit quickly, said Hofer. In addition, he explained that the organisational aspects behind this event are based on years-long experiences from other series and tournaments.
The most challenging factor while organising RAW AIR might be the logistic aspect which has to be tested in reality to see if it works or if it has to be adjusted in the upcoming years.
„From the theoretical point of view it seems to be well prepared, anyhow, the realisation will deliver the right feedback. In other words: we are not done yet, but we are willing to find the right balance for both actors and public/media“, said Hofer.
Talking about experiences from other tournaments we clearly think of the traditional 4-Hills-Tournament which is taking place since 1952. We asked Walter Hofer if he thinks that RAW AIR can become as important as the prestigious 4-Hills-Tournament.
He pointed out that the organiser has stated from the very beginning that RAW AIR does not want to copy an existing competition series but is aiming to find an own profile. Hofer thinks that „the 4-Hills-Tournament is a highly respected premium product and RAW AIR is a smart idea at the very beginning but of great potential.“
We cannot wait for the new season to start and wish Walter Hofer and the organisers a successful outcome, not only for RAW AIR but also for all other competitions during this season’s World Cup.
Veronika Pankova – „Traveling in ski jumping is not something new.“
For being a successful athlete you do not only need coaches, you also need to count on the rest of the team. One important part are the physiotherapists who help and support the athletes during the competitions. We had the chance to talk to Veronika Pankova, physiotherapist of the Czech team.
„I think it is a great way to visualize ski jumping. It is something new and I support it. There will be the best ski jumpers because the prize money is high and that will be a motivation“, Veronika told us.
Veronika has to take care of the boys mainly in the evening after the competitions. But that is not all of the work she has to do as a physiotherapist since she has to be positive and supportive the whole day and believe in her athletes. When she is needed she is there.
The transportation during RAW AIR might be the trickiest to organise but Pankova said that travelling is not something new and that it is a part of ski jumping so that it will not be a huge difficulty. Also in regard to ten days of competitions without any break, she is pretty confident that the athletes will know how to handle the stress. „It will be hard for them but they are professionals. They know what is important for their health and they will do the best. They will see the motivation“, she explained.
There is no doubt the athletes are already motivated for the new season and RAW AIR. One of the athletes who took some time to talk to us has been the new national champion from Switzerland, Killian Peier.
Killian Peier – „It can make ski jumping more attractive in some countries.“
Killian told us that he really likes the idea of RAW AIR and that it will be tough but cool at the same time. Also the new scoring system will be interesting and according to Peier it might also change the rhythm of every athlete. „But in general, I am really looking forward to this competition. I think that it can make ski jumping more attractive in some countries and help it stay international,“ Peier added.
This season will show if changes have to be made in the concept and organisation of RAW AIR but Peier thinks that it seems to be good organised and he is confident that RAW AIR will go well.
Pictures: Newsskijumping, Veronika Pankova
Carolin Erbe | Dolores Lazič