Sapporo Dome to host skiing championships
OBERSTDORF, Germany -- Nordic skiing will head indoors for the first time at the 2007 world championships in Sapporo, Japan.
Parts of the sprints for cross country and Nordic combined will take place at the Sapporo Dome, a 40,000-seat stadium built for soccer's 2002 World Cup. About 300 meters of the 1.2-kilometer event will be held in the dome.
The 2007 worlds organization committee also said Friday it plans to add a fourth Nordic combined event, with a mass start. Until now at the worlds and Olympics, there has been a sprint, an individual and a team event.
That would add a 20th event to the world championships. Cross country, the only discipline with women, has 12 and ski jumping has four.
"The mass start is a very good competition,'' Nordic combined World Cup leader Ronny Ackermann of Germany said. "I hope it's on the schedule at a world championships -- we have a lot less races than cross country anyhow.''
The Nordic ski disciplines have made numerous changes to their sport in recent years to increase its popularity and television presence.
The ongoing world championships at Oberstdorf have proved popular. Organizers report 251,000 spectators for the first eight days of competition. The event is being broadcast to 30 countries.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
MORE OLYMPICS HEADLINES
- Durant, USA pull away from Spain to win gold
- Clippers' Paul has successful surgery on thumb
- Schmitt back to school after Olympic stardom
- Olympian Raisman, Poland Spring sign deal