All the protagonists of this year`s stories are people who proved that IT CAN BE DONE! And people who transformed their daring plans into impactful projects.
We invite you to discover their stories, to team up with them and to become one of the collective author to the common good, through your recommendations and encouragement!
In Romania, ski jumping is almost a century old. The first national ski jumping championship took place as early as 1916. In the 1950s, Romanian ski jumpers claimed their first international successes. Later on, the development of this sport was stalled because of the lack of sport schools and outdated infrastructure. For years, other generations of young talented athletes were part of the national ski jumping team, one that was supported with insufficient funds and with the parents’ contributions, and who continued to train in conditions not worthy of international performance.
In Râșnov, the tradition of winter sports dates back over 100 years, but the first major investment was made in 1936, when the first ski jumping hill was built on Valea Cetății. This tradition and the talent of the children from Râșnov and the neighbouring villages led to the establishment 23 years later of a sports school which became ”School Sports Club Dinamo Râșnov” in 1980.
Over 900 km away, in Austria, a long-lasting partnership was being established to make a difference in terms of winter sports performance in the country of music. ”OMV Group has been sponsoring ski jumping in Austria for over 20 years, and they both enjoy great international success”, says Gerhard Roiss, CEO OMV Group.
The two traditions – that of the winter sports and that of OMV’s support for this field –came together in Râșnov, on Valea Cărbunarii, in 2007. More precisely, on October 31st, 2007, OMV and the Romanian Ski-Biathlon Federation (FRSB) signed a partnership agreement in order to develop ski jumping in Romania. OMV thus became the official sponsor of the national team and launched “OMV Move & Jump” programme, which includes specific trainings abroad, development of the necessary infrastructure for this sport through the construction of specialised centres in Romania, training of Romanian coaches and transfer of know-how from reputed international experts.
„Before this programme was implemented, Romanian ski jumpers were focused more on physical rather than technical training, because there were no technically appropriate jumping hills allowing us to participate in international competitions”, explains Florin Spulber, coach of the national team.
The ski jumping centre from Valea Cărbunarii, which stretches on an area of about 6 hectares and climbs up to 670 and 750 meters high, is the first such project in Romania and South-East Europe. A whole team of architects, engineers, constructors and international experts worked for 2 years to build the three jumping hills, in line with the standards required by the International Ski Federation.
”We are extremely excited about the partnership with the Mayoralty of Râșnov in the construction of this jumping centre, which definitely complies with all international standards. By organising this World Cup competition, we are taking yet another step towards fulfilling the goals of «OMV Move & Jump» programme, which makes us really proud”, says Christian Moser, Sponsoring Manager OMV.
The results were not late in showing: the first points scored in the Continental Cup, the qualification for the World Cup, the first Grand Prix victory, the first qualification in the final of a World Championship for Juniors, where one of the Romanian athletes ranked 20th. In January 2013, Iulian Pîtea from Romania won the seniors’ competition in the ISF Ski Jumping Cup in Râșnov, while Remus Tudor ranked second, the same as Daniela Haralambie in the women’s competition. In the same year, in February, Iulian Pîtea ranked 8th in the ski jumping final within the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Râșnov, Daniela Haralambie came 8th in the women’s final, whereas the men’s ski jumping team ranked fifth in the teams’ final.
Adrian Vestea, the mayor of Râșnov, also speaks about the success of the ski jumping centre:
”The town is prepared for competitions at the highest level, and the ski jumping centre on Valea Carbunarii, developed through a successful public-private partnership, really makes us proud. I am sure that such events will turn our town into one of the most important national and international destinations for sports tourism”.
Thus, Romanian skiers have taken their first jump towards international performance. Many more jumps will definitely follow, because OMV and its partners will continue to be involved over the next years as well.
Jurnalist Senior TVR România / comentator Eurosport România
"Skis on feet, no sticks, special suit on, and protection helmet planted firmly on his head. He, the flying man, anxiously waits at the start bar, concentrated, for the moment when, immediately after the green light shows up on the start display, his trainer gives him the sign, so that he may begin sliding on the take off area. Very quickly, he reaches or even exceeds the speed of one hundred kilometers per hour, as he jumps off the ramp.
He must push at just the right moment – not a blink later or earlier – and try to quickly reach the maximum bearing position, called ”the Bakloev V” - after the Swedish athlete who, about 30 years back, discovered that this style, unlike the parallel ski method used at the time, provided better bearing and allowed for several more meters of flight (sometimes even 20% more).
What follows is the most beautiful, even uplifting, moment in the story of this special sport. The flight. Even though it only takes a handful of seconds, even though the trajectory never strays from the ground line and the landing area but for a few meters, flight remains flight: it means, at a smaller but hugely important scale, the fulfillment of mankind`s lifelong dream of being able to move through the air without mechanical means.
Beyond the poetic, legendary character of this sport, as beautiful as it is dangerous, it lies a number of other aspects, more or less prosaic, but still paramount: the talent, the selection, the skills, the inspiration, the drive, the trainer, the technical team, the equipment, the financial resources, and, last but not least, the had work during training. If most these ”ingredients” come together, the athlete has a chance to become one of the best in their field: maybe even World or Olympic champion, winner of the Chrystal Globe, awarded to the best skiers at the World Cup, or, who knows, an Olympic medalist every four years, guided by Baron Pierre de Coubertin`s mission statement...
As for me, I became acquainted to this sport at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, and truly fell in love with it later, at Lilleammer in 1994, when I was a commentator there and I was always close to the action - since the festivities took place right in the ski jumping arena, the famous Lysgaardsbakkene. It was then that I first climbed to the top of a standard ski ramp, and... I got jitters in my stomach looking down :)
More than two decades after, I gathered plenty of memories from world championships and Winter Olympics at TVR (seven editions, just like Noriaki Kasai: Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Soch 2014), and from the end of November 1997, hundreds of World Cup stages on Eurosport Romania... Some may not know this, but the first Eurosport broadcast commented in Romanian was the first stage of the ski jumping World Cup, season 1997/1998 ... These were times when men such as Austrian Andi Goldberger, Slovenian Primoz Peterka, and the old school Japanese athletes shone brightly... I`ve been close and dedicated to this beautiful and special sport for so many years... And, apart from the international achievements of top athletes around the world, somewhere deep inside I kept dreaming of the day when Romanians will also start making a difference on the world`s ramps.
Well, this road truly began on October 31st, 2007. Less than 10 years have passed and the progress is so visible, that not even the most critical among us can deny it: last season at Sapporo, the numerous fans in our country got to watch on TV the first Romanian jumpers at the World Cup: Iulian Pitea and Eduard Torok. It was a long-awaited moment, that obviously made me happy; still, I am keeping my emotions in check for the moments to follow: when our people reach the first stage more often, when they manage to go through to the second round, and, finally, the moment when they start honoring the final goal of the famous partnership between the Romanian Biathlon Ski Federation (FRSB), Petrom and the authorities: a spot in the world`s TOP TEN. Considering how things developed, from training stages abroad, with modern equipment and respected technicians, to the construction of the arena in Valea Cărbunarii, Râșnov, and the ever-improving performances by Romanian men and women (some of which I witnessed myself), I am confident that we will reach the planned level relatively soon. Only then will my happiness be complete – and I will share it with you from my microphone.
Apart from the mere presence in the top competitions, thanks to this partnership, last season we managed to host a World Cup weekend for the first time in Romania, with two stages of the women`s competition. It was obviously another top moment of the season, in which I was involved, much more than just as a commentator. I saw the event on the 1st and 2nd of March as a first step – and I was very happy that the organizers passed this test – towards the long-awaited boy`s World Cup stages in Romania, which were but a distant dream ten years ago, but are now making their way towards becoming a reality. Obviously, events of this kind help many more young people get to know and like ski jumping. In the meantime, I am glad that the International Ski Federation introduced a weekend with two World Cup stages at Râșnov for the women`s next season, at the beginning of February 2015!
Therefore, what we have here is a fruitful partnership, fuelled by many energies and personalities from various fields (FRSB; central and local authorities, athletes, trainers, fans, journalists, PR and advertising people, and, last but certainly not least, people working for OMV Petrom and the OMV Move & Jump Program) – all of them, in love with this beautiful winter Olympic sport, trying to contribute to its development in Romania. I can only hope that this wonderful partnership will successfully go forward along the same lines and will achieve its stated goal!"