Jürg Capol is leaving his position as FIS Cross-Country Race Director after long nine years. During this time, Cross-Country Skiing has dramatically changed and developed. Before taking on his new role as Nordic Director with FIS Marketing AG, the FIS Cross-Country News asked Jürg Capol to summarize his mission at FIS.
Q: You are leaving your position as FIS Cross-Country Race Director after 9 years. How were those years? How are your feelings about leaving?
Jürg Capol: Well, I had a great time the last 9 years and I could meet a lot of good and positive ski friends. I had the chance to work with many positive elements and we received the support and were encouraged to do what was needed. The best part of my job was actually the international coordination.
Q: You have changed Cross-Country skiing in a great way. Looking back, where do you see the biggest difference between now and 9 years ago?
J.C.: First of all, the Cross-Country Skiing community is very open-minded, the new Cross-Country generation is young and looking forward to development. There is a great base for good discussion and decision-making also in the future. I guess, I simply arrived at the right time to a positive family.
Q: Is there anything you wanted to change but did not succeed?
J.C.: If I didn"t succeed, my arguments weren"t good enough. In a culture of discussion, various inputs bring you forward. I never felt that the Committee was against me; we reached results and decisions by taking into account different inputs and arguments.
Q: Where do you see areas for future development of Cross-Country Skiing? What are the crucial points for your successor to tackle?
J.C.: Cross-Country Skiing fits very well in the modern age. Active lifestyle and fitness belong to a successful manager’s image in today’s world, and Cross-Country stands for well-being and also covers the ecological aspects. Of course the competitions represent the side of hard core endurance sport activities. However, I have to say, Cross-Country Skiing still has a conservative image in many countries, so one of the challenges might be communication to better demonstrate the core values, including that Cross-Country skiers are the fittest winter sport athletes with a high sex appeal, having six-packs and so on.
We did the biggest changes during the last years, so it might be important to stabilize the program. However, many smaller issues can still be further developed and very often those issues are the ones that take the most time. As we say, devil is in the details!
Q: You are moving to FIS Marketing AG. What is your vision of Nordic Skiing? Where should we be in 5-10 years?
J.C.: Thanks to the new marketing concept, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup established a higher profile. The packages are attractive and the times of the bazar are over.
Nordic sports are attractive in many countries and in the long term, we will work with new countries and areas where there is potential for development. Even though the Nordic disciplines are different, I believe that their economic value and impact will grow with a closer cooperation. The package of "FIS Nordic Sports" receives the highest attention and biggest TV figures of all the winter sports. These strong platforms are the base for creating stars and increasing the general interest. At the same time, the Nordic sports fit very well with the new communication tools.