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January 11, 2010
Founder of ski-jumping World Cup dies

Former top flight ski athlete Torbjørn Yggeseth chaired the jumping committee of The Interntional Ski Federation for more than two decades.Photo/Rolf Arne Odiin
by Rolf Arne Odiin

Chairman AIPS Nordic Ski and Biathlon Commission

OSLO, January 11, 2010 - Norwegian Torbjørn Yggeseth (Born 08.06-1934) died Sunday after a long battle with prostate cancer.

The former ski jumping champion of Norway chaired the FIS ski jumping committee for 22 years from 1982 until 2004 and founded the ski jumping World Cup in 1979.

As a top international athlete Yggeseth won the Holmenkollen competition in 1963 and the Bischofshofen and Obersdorf jumpings during the Four Hills week the same year.

Yggeseth was educated as an air force pilot in the USA and used his talent of quick decisions when entering the FIS ski jumping committee. With his US study background he understood the importance of marketing.

“The sport of ski jumping had entered a vacuum. There were no interesting competitions during the period from January until March. The Nordic nations were scared to lose their exclusivity for the competitions in Holmenkollen, Lahti and Falun and had no interest in a World Cup. Even in the jumping commission most of the participants struggled against the Cup,” Yggeseth explained.

During the 1979 FIS congress the well known and regarded president Marc Hodler allowed him to take the floor and talk about founding a World Cup. After his speech the congress immediately approved the start of a World Cup based on the alpine World Cup concept which commenced in 1967.

On December 27, 1979 a new era was launched when Austrian Toni Innauer won the first ever World cup in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Yggeseth chaired his committee with his broad athletic background and great understanding. During the last years he had to defend the decision of the FIS council not to approve women’s ski jumping in World Championships.

“I am not against women on the hills at all, but we have to see a broader range of competitors until the time is right,” he said and was heavily criticized by female jumpers. February 2009 he could watch from his home outside Oslo when the American Lindsay Van was crowned the first female ski jumping world Champion in Liberec.



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