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Alpine World Ski Championships 2019
Dates: 5-Feb-2019 to 17-Feb-19
Location: ARE | SWEDEN
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are organized by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
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About the Alpine World Ski Championships
The Alpine World Ski Championships are a sports event that takes place every two years, during which the world champions in the Alpine ski disciplines are determined in various races. The organizer is the World Ski Federation FIS. The Alpine Ski World Championships are one of the most important championships in alpine ski racing alongside the Olympic Games.
According to the official language regulations of the FIS, the sporting event is named in the plural and is called “Alpine World Ski Championships (year)”.
For the first time world championships in alpine skiing were held in 1931. Initially they were called FIS competitions, FIS championships or simply FIS races, from 1937 onwards the events officially bore the title of World Championships (and the competitions held since 1931 were subsequently referred to as such). Until 1939 the championships took place annually. There was a special feature in 1936 when there were both alpine ski competitions at the Olympic Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen with only one combination (one downhill and one slalom consisting of two rounds) for women and men and shortly afterwards a separate Alpine World Championship in Innsbruck. While practically all men from Switzerland and Austria were not admitted to the Olympic competition because of their “professionalism”, they were able to participate in the World Championships, but now, on the other hand, the Olympic starters were missing. At the World Championships in 1938 and 1939 the runners from Austria belonged to the team of the German Reich due to the meanwhile completed connection.
After the Second World War, the World Championships were held every two years from 1948 to 1982, whereby until the 1980 Winter Olympics, the Olympic champions were also world champions at the same time (the combination was also an Olympic classification in 1948; afterwards, from 1956 to 1980, the combination winners were “only” world champions). Since 1985, the World Championships have been held in odd-numbered years independently of the Winter Olympics. The exception was the World Championships in the Sierra Nevada, which could only be held in 1996 due to an acute shortage of snow in the previous year.
While in the beginning there were only three disciplines (downhill, slalom and combination, whereby 1931, 1950 and 1952 were not part of the programme and up to and including 1980 this was only a “paper race” – only in 1948 there was a small deviation), and thus also up to and including 1939 an event scheduled to last two or three days, the duration expanded afterwards due to the addition of further disciplines. From 1950 the giant slalom was included, from 1982 the combination was held in another form and thus as an additional competition and from 1987 the Super-G was added. From 1996 the combination was no longer calculated in points, but by time additions. From 2005 a team competition was installed, which was changed in its competition and evaluation form in 2011 to a parallel race. In 2007 there was a modification with the “Super Combination” (later “Alpine Combination”). At the 2021 Ski World Championships, parallel individual races are to be held for the first time, increasing the number of medal decisions to 13.
Duration of the event
Whereas in the 1930s it was a weekend in the beginning, later three days, this was subsequently extended to a good week (from one Sunday to the next) (due to the introduction of the giant slalom). With the introduction of changed and additional disciplines in 1982, it became eleven days, which increased to about two weeks. Hand in hand with this, the number of participants increased enormously, which also caused problems with their accommodation. Only 20 women and 25 men competed in 1931; in 1938 there were 30 women and 50 men, in 1970 already 50 women and 120 men; in 1991 this number approximately doubled, and in 2017 589 athletes from 77 different countries were registered. However, the fundamental planning since about 1996 with first the “speed” and then the technical disciplines brought the advantage that especially in the larger nations the “technician troop” only arrives at a later point in time and there is a kind of “shift change” in the accommodations.
In the first years it was only the traditional alpine nations (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, shortly after France) and also the ladies of the British ski club Kandahar who won the medals, but in 1939 a medal went to Sweden for the first time. In 1948 the USA, 1952 Norway, 1956 Japan and the USSR and 1958 Canada were added. Then it lasted until 1970 with Australia and Poland, 1972 with the surprise of Spain, and 1974 Liechtenstein joined. Further nations were: 1982 Yugoslavia, 1985 Luxembourg, 1991 Russia (whereby here a commonality with the USSR can be assumed), 1999 Finland, 2001 Slovenia (here the connection with Yugoslavia), 2003 Croatia, 2005 Czech Republic, 2017 Slovakia.
Already at its congress in Beirut in 1967, the World Ski Federation secured exclusive rights for television broadcasts of the World Championships. It was written in the minutes that “the FIS will enter into negotiations directly with the TV companies”. Since the influence of television (as in all sports) increased immensely, the organisers had and have to bow to the TV guidelines several times (which was/is particularly important in the case of cancellations or postponements), and the curiosity of the 2005 World Championships in Bormio is also known when a strike by the camera men of the Italian host station RAI triggered the postponement of the men’s giant slalom by one day.
According to the currently valid FIS rules, in addition to limited numbers per nation (here also divided between women and men; Swiss-Ski provided eleven men and thirteen women, the ÖSV fourteen women and thirteen men for 2017), there is the restriction that only four runners and, moreover, the defending champions may compete in each individual event. In addition, only runners with 80 FIS points or less are allowed to compete, which is especially important for very small ski nations. In the Ski World Cup other guidelines apply.
Nomination by the national federations
Nominations are made by the “large” alpine associations (Switzerland and Austria) according to stricter guidelines than by the German Ski Association. The increase in the number of competitions has also led to a larger number of starting authorisations, and possible hardship cases can also be avoided through the “title defender regulation” which came into force in 1982. The partially used phrase “fifth starting place” must, however, be restricted to the effect that only defending champions are actually entitled to start.