By Kirill Pirogov
In late April, Mr. Fitzgerald travelled to Minsk to deliver the Crystal Globe, later to be presented to freestyle downhill skier Anton Kushnir at Minsk’s Town Hall. Mr. Fitzgerald also met with the Ministry for Sports and Tourism and the Belarusian Freestyle Federation to discuss the possibility of Raubichi (near Minsk) hosting a World Cup round. Belarus was granted this honour, on condition of the existing slope being modernised in time for 19th February 2011. The entry segment of the slope was to be extended and sharpened to allow athletes to perform the most complicated freestyle jumps.
Mr. Fitzgerald recently arrived in Minsk to inspect Raubichi and ensure it is ready for the World Cup event; he confirmed his satisfaction, allowing Belarus to host the contest for the first time ever. “Work has not been completed yet but it’s already obvious that the modernisation will meet all requirements,” he noted. “The slope, which is set against a beautiful landscape, will meet international standards and is ready for use in training and hosting major events. Belarus is a world leader in air acrobatics, so I’m confident that its athletes will benefit from the new slope, achieving even better results. I also hope that February’s round in Minsk opens doors to similar events.”
It is noteworthy that the Minsk World Cup Freestyle Round is to be held in the usual way — without limits imposed on the number of participants. We hope that the head coach of the Belarusian national team, Nikolay Kozeko, is doing a good job of training our jumpers on their native slope. As the Minsk round will be the last of the coming season, it will draw a final line under the results of the previous rounds, deciding who is to be awarded a Crystal Globe (among men and women). It should define which country’s athletes have shown the best results.