This time the opening ceremonies celebrated not only the upcoming World Cup, but also Ruhpolding’s ski club’s upcoming 100-year anniversary, and the Biathlon Summer World Championships taking place in the Chiemgau-Arena in August.
This year, there was no danger of the opening ceremony being buried by snow the way it was last year. Aside from high up on the mountains and at the Chiemgau-Arena, there is not much snow, but this did not harm the opening ceremony. The Champion‘s Park was packed with visitors. Ruhpolding’s mayor, Claus Pichler, was enthusiastic, “Fantastic how many people are here today,” he said and wished for a cheerful, sportsmanlike atmosphere in Ruhpolding and at the Chiemgau-Arena in the upcoming days.
Ruhpolding’s Ski Club turns 100
The gathering at the Champions Park not only served to open the World Cup, but also to announce this year’s 100-Year anniversary celebrations for the Ski Club Ruhpolding (SCR). The former (until 2004) and current club chairman Herbert Fritzenwenger showed a short film from the days when skiing was still in its early stages in the Chiemgau area. The clips showed that 50 years ago and even earlier, there was occasionally a lack of snow in the Chiemgau area, so people had to shovel the left-over snow together to make a white path to carry out the cross/country ski races. “The olden-days had its positive sides because in those days one could make large-scale changes. Today biathlon is so advanced that one can only make fine-tune adjustments.” In the past, the Ski Club Ruhpolding was already fully on task and a trailblazer. For example, the Ski Club Ruhpolding already sent four athletes to the Olympics in 1936. The club’s current star is two-time Olympic gold medalist ski-jumper Andreas Wellinger.
District administrator Walch emphasizes cohesion oft he biathlon family
District administrator Sigi Walch used the opportunity to congratulate Ruhpolding’s Ski Club and to thank the many volunteers without whom the Biathlon World Cup would not be possible. He joked that during the Summer World Championships which will be held from August 19 – 23 at the Chiemgau-Arena, there will be no danger of a snow catastrophe like last winter. He emphasized that, “Biathlon is not just an athletic event but also a social event.” For that reason, the solidarity between fans, athletes and officials is at least as important for this World Cup as the actual competition.
Two of Ruhpolding’s biathlon heroes, Fritz Fischer and Ricco Groß, spoke from the Champions Park stage. Along with the master of ceremonies, Harry von Knoerzer-Suckow, they reminisced about a moving occasion in biathlon history. In the 1992 Olympic Games, the then 37 year old Fritz Fischer was able to carry the German flag across the finish line in the final leg of the relay race. Ricco Groß was the starter in that historic victory for the newly re-unified Germany.
Björndalen predicted Chinese victories: „Maybe in a few years“
The D'Rauschberger-Zell traditional dance and dress society whip-crackers known as “Goaßlschnalzer” gave two performances. When the nations marched in Ole Einar Björndalen, the Chinese team trainer, announced a World Cup victory for his team in a few years. As always, the German Team marched in at the very end. Johannes Kühn and Arnd Peiffer stated they were feeling upbeat and optimistic.
The German Ski Federation sports director Karin Orgeldinger also promoted the summer world championships and announced that the German team would be participating with its best athletes. As the IBU-Board Member Dr. Franz Steimle declared the World Cup officially opened, the traditional fire-works ended the successful initial celebration of the Biathlon World Cup in Ruhpolding.