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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
jumping results or podium pictures ]
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 ]
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
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.
Here are the medalists from IMC 2008 in Taivalkoski,
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
That's all for IMC 2008. now on to Germany for IMC 2009, ...
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