A magical celebration with an impressive light show took place tonight on the Nives Square in Selva/Wolkenstein. The event included the award ceremony for the Super-G and the bib draw for the highly anticipated Downhill race on Saturday.
Also, the ski sport pioneers from Val Gardena/Gröden Erich Demetz and Edmund Dellago were honored for their achievements. More than 2000 people cheered for the Norwegian Super-G sweep on the Saslong lead by Aksel Lund Svindal ahead of Kjetil Jansrud and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.
Afterwards, all eyes were on tomorrow’s race. The bibs were assigned at random with Otmar Striedinger from Austria opening the Downhill at 12:15 pm. As always, favorites are starting with slightly higher numbers: today’s Super-G winner and leader of both training runs Svindal is racing with bib 21, the same as in the Super-G whereas Steven Nyman from the USA and already triple gold winner on the Saslong is ahead with bib 11. You can find the entire Start List here.
Exceptionally loud applause was given to the two local trailblazers of the Alpine ski sport. The President of the local tourist board Val Gardena Marketing Josef Kelder honored Erich Demetz, Honorary President of the OC and until 2014 Chairman of the FIS World Cup Committee and Edmund Dellago, President of Saslong Classic Organizing Committee, for their accomplishment in establishing Val Gardena-Gröden as a World Cup venue. “I am honored by this recognition. I would like to dedicate it to the hundreds of workers, volunteers and pioneers who have all worked with us to create this” said Mr. Demetz at the celebration.
Thanks to their efforts, Val Gardena/Gröden is a standing member of the FIS World Cup calendar and as such has become one of the world’s most attractive skiing destinations. Mr. Demetz and Mr. Dellago were also part of the leading team behind the 1970 World Championships thus initiating an unparalleled economic boom for the valley. Since 1969, Ski World Cup races were held on the Saslong every year. Mr. Dellago thanked the tourist board for honoring his many years of service. He expressed surprise because: “I never felt as if it was work that I did for all these years; it has always been a hobby”.
As is tradition, the celebration also included the Gianni Marzola award to the youngest competitor which this year went to Niels Hintermann from Switzerland born in 1995. To round out the night, the leading athletes also signed autographs and gave in to numerous selfie-requests. Especially the Italian team spent a lot of time with their local fans.