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JACK – WILSON'S NEW BALL - Amer Sports

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					A Magazine by Amer Sports   2.03




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                                   BEACH VOLLEYBALL

                                       REALLY
                                       TAKES OFF
                                                                                     OUCH!
The magazine will be published quarterly in
                                                                                     Hardly anyone would dispute the benefits of physical
Finnish, English and German. This magazine
is mailed to the Group’s registered share-                                           exercise and active participation in sports. Taking reg-
holders, customers, present and retired em-
ployees and other interest groups.                                                   ular exercise not only improves physical fitness and

                                                                                     health but also raises the spirits. The endorphins re-
Editorial Staff
Editor-in-chief Tea Saari                                                            leased into the bloodstream during physical exertion




                                                                    Hanna Weselius
Amer Group Plc
                                                                                     make us feel good at the time, but they also have a
Communications Department
P.O. Box 130, FIN-00601 Helsinki                                                     longer-term effect on our state of mental wellbeing.
Tel. +358 9 725 7800
                                                                                     The stresses and strains of modern life are reduced
Suomen Lehdentekijät -ryhmä Oy                and we feel more motivated and energised in both work and play.
Hämeentie 68 B, FIN-00550 Helsinki
Tel. +358 9 7745 8410                             Despite the many positive aspects of sport and exercise, we wanted to high-
www.lehdentekijat.fi
                                              light another perspective in this issue – sports injuries and how they occur (p.
Editorial Manager Markku Rimpiläinen          22). Most of you will already know the basic precautions that can be taken to
e-mail: markku.rimpilainen@lehdentekijat.fi
Editorial Secretary Outi Rinne                prevent the injuries typically suffered in different sports. Sometimes, howev-
AD Vuokko Isoherranen                         er, they are forgotten by even the most conscientious athletes. In sports in-
Cover photo Allsport by Getty Images
                                              volving speed and daring, common sense, consideration for others and ade-
Composition and Repro Offset-Kopio Oy
                                              quate caution are definitely the watchwords.
Printed by Libris Oy, Helsinki
ISSN 1459-5095                                    Sports equipment is being improved all the time, and so too are the safety

Address Source Amer Group’s Register of       features embedded in them. The electronic ski binding described in our last is-
Shareholders and Customers, Amer Group        sue is a good example. On the other hand, better equipment is also improving
Plc, P.O. Box 130, FIN-00601 Helsinki
                                              performances: skiers are going faster and golf ball flying further, so the re-
Changes of addresses
                                              sponsibilities of the sports participant are increased as well.
amer.communications@amersports.com
                                                  Before you get to page 23, let me tell you now that the snowboarder in the

                                              photo is alive and well. NEXT also met up with the World Cup Slalom Champion,
www.amersports.com                            Kalle Palander (p. 12). Kalle no longer wears a helmet, but we recommend that
www.wilson.com
www.atomicsnow.com                            you do. Our message to all alpine skiers and snowboarders is unequivocal: keep
www.suunto.com
                                              your helmet on your head!
www.precor.com


                                              Tea Saari

                                              Editor-in-chief
                             A MAGAZINE BY AMER SPORTS                  NEXT
                         KALLE PALANDER
           HAS REDISCOVERED THE JOY
                  AND EASY STYLE OF HIS
               SKIING. THE HELMET HAS
                GONE, BUT WHAT’S BEEN
           GOING ON INSIDE HIS HEAD?
                                                                                         12 4
                                                                                                    WHAT IS THE RECIPE
                                                                                                    FOR BEACH VOLLEYBALL’S
                                                                                                    SMASHING SUCCESS?
                                                                                                    SUN, SAND AND IMPRESSIVE
                                                                                                    ATHLETICISM ARE CERTAINLY
                                                                                                    IN THE MIX, BUT GOOD
                                                                                                    MARKETING HAS ALSO BEEN
                                                                                                    A KEY INGREDIENT.
       18                                                                                   6
     Next 2.03: Contents
4    NEW PRODUCTS Wilson Tour carry-bag, Suunto G9 and Wilson Crossfire tennis shoes.

6    BEACH VOLLEYBALL Expect a sizzling summer crowned by the World Championships on Copacabana beach.

11   WILSON JACK A new ball for the player to takes life and golf in his stride.

12   KALLE PALANDER Profile of the World Cup Slalom Champion.

18   GOLF AND SPECIALIST STORES How has the retail trade changed in Britain?

22   SPORTS INJURIES Accidents will happen, but what kind of injuries result and in which sports do they occur?

27   CLASSIC Wimbledon Championships since 1877.

28   RESULTS Amer Group’s first-quarter performance.

30   A BIKE RIDE TO PATAGONIA Antony Bowesman fulfils his dream.

35   NEWS The Williams sisters stick with Wilson.
goodies                         VELOCITY MATTERS In the new Deep Red II drivers
                                and fairway woods, more weight has been posi-


 galore
                                tioned low and deep in the club head. The redistri-
                                bution of weight increases the ball’s initial veloci-
                                ty, adding even greater length to the acknowledged
     Photos by Marja Helander   accuracy of the earlier version. The new driver is
                                available in two models: the big 400 c.c. heel-
                                weighted Deep Red II Distance (see photo) for the
                                high-handicap golfer, and 350 c.c. centre-weighted
                                Deep Red II Tour for the serious golfer. The Deep Red
                                II 3-wood is also shown in the photo. The clubs all fea-
                                ture Grafalloy graphite shafts.




                                THIS BALL IS LONG!
                                Wilson’s new True Velocity ball makes the perfect
                                partner for the Deep Red II drivers. The hard core and
                                soft cover of the two-piece ball adds valuable extra
                                metres to its carry distance.




                                BAGS OF ROOM Wilson now offers a carry-bag ver-
                                sion of the classic Wilson Tour bag favoured by tour-
                                nament professionals. The new carry-bag features
                                plenty of pockets for sundry equipment. The materi-
                                als and light-weight and durable, and the colour
                                scheme is the same as Wilson’s traditional Tour bag.




4 | Next
                                                WILSON’S 25TH YEAR AT THE US OPEN
                                                This year will be the 25th time in a row that Wilson has provided the of-
                                                ficial match ball of the US Open Tennis Championships. To commem-
                                                orate this landmark in Wilson’s history, the company has revamped the
                                                ball’s packaging. Included in each packet of 16 balls will be a CD fea-
                                                turing US Open events over the past quarter of a century. The CD will
                                                be supplied by USA Network.




GOLF INFORMATION SYSTEM
The new Suunto G9 wristop computer for
golfers uses GPS technology to provide the
player with a wealth of useful information,
such as the distance hit on the last shot and
distances to the green, pin, hazards and so
on. During the round the number of shots
taken on each hole as well as fairways hit,     NEW-GENERATION TENNIS SHOE Crossfire is a trendy new tennis
greens in regulation and puts can recorded in   shoe with an aggressive in-your-face look about it. The shoe’s upper
G9’s memory. The stored information can lat-    is attached between the midsole and sole, providing better court feel.
er by transferred to a PC for analysis.         The new shoe also features DST shock absorption technology.




                                                                                                                            Next | 5
6 | Next
A Smash Hit   Blue skies and sunshine
              are forecast for beach volleyball.
              The prize money for professional
              tournaments has doubled since
              last season. And no-one should
              be surprised if the same thing
              happens to spectator numbers.
              Text by Markku Rimpiläinen
              Photos by Allsport by GettyImages




              Brazil and the United States are the world’s
              leading beach volleyball nations. The famous
              Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro is to be
              used as the venue of the World Championships.


                                                   Next | 7
  Women to watch                                                                                       permitted on Copacabana, which is one of the world’s
                                                                                                       most famous beaches.
  Holly Mc Peak                                                                                            The sport’s international governing body, Fédération
  Nationality: USA                                                                                     Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), also appears to be
  Age: 33                                                                                              preparing for huge crowds. In March the Federation al-
  Height: 170 cm                                                                                       tered the programme of the World Championships so that
  If you ask Holly McPeak what                                                                         the men’s and women’s events will be held at different
  tournament she would most like                                                                       times. The women will now compete on 7.–12.10., fol-
  to win, she answers without                                                                          lowed by the men on 14.–19.10.2003. The organisers
  hesitation: "The Olympics 2004 in                                                                    wanted to avoid holding the men’s and women’s events
  Athens; I want an Olympic gold                                                                       simultaneously in order to maximise visibility both court-
  medal". Californian Holly Mc-                                                                        side and on television.
  Peak came fifth in both the At-                                                                          “The World Championships will undoubtedly be the
  lanta and the Sydney Olympics.                                                                       highpoint of the season. Brazil will be teeming with the
  She regards these achievements                                                                       world’s best beach volleyball players. The two-week tour-
  as the high points but also the                                                                      nament and the separate men’s and women’s events will
  biggest disappointments of her                                                                       double the action and the fun,” says FIVB’s beach volley-
  professional career. On neither                                                                      ball co-ordinator, Angelo Sequeo.
  occasion did she get through to
  the semi-final matches. Last                                                                         Same prize money for men and women
  season McPeak won four tour-                                                                         Besides the World Championships, Beach volleyball’s
  naments. This season she has a                                                                       highest profile event is the professional World Tour. Prize
                                       Getting the partnership right is very important. A small
  new playing partner, Dianne                                                                          money totalling USD 800,000 will be paid out at the World
                                       player must find a high-reaching blocker as a partner.
  DeNecochea.                                                                                          Championships. When this is added to the World Tour’s
                                                  he popularity of beach volleyball has grown          combined purse of USD 4.7 million, the total prize mon-
  Barbra Fontana
  Nationality: USA
  Age: 37
  Height: 168 cm
  Last season Barbra Fontana
                                       T          quickly. When Dennis Hare and Fred Zuelich
                                                  won the first money tournament in San Diego in
                                                  June 1974, they pocketed a meagre USD 1,500.
                                       The tournament was watched by only 250 spectators.
                                           The total prize money on offer in this year’s World
                                                                                                       ey for professional beach volleyball is well in excess of
                                                                                                       USD 5 million. Even though this is a modest amount in
                                                                                                       comparison with golf or tennis, the purses on offer at
                                                                                                       beach volleyball tournaments have grown rapidly.
                                                                                                           “There is no better indication of the growth in the
  played ten tournaments with          Tour is USD 4.7 million. The finals of the larger tourna-       sport’s popularity,” says the Chairman of FIVB, Rubén
  partner Elaine Young and stepp-      ments will attract thousands of spectators. And the start       Acosta, speaking in connection with the announcement of
  ed onto the podium seven times.      of the World Championships in Brazil in the autumn holds        this season’s tournament programme.
  This, however, is not good en-       out the promise of a real volleyball carnival. Brazil and the       The purses of major beach volleyball tournaments are
  ough for Fontana: she wants to       United States are the world’s leading beach volleyball na-      the same for both men and women. There are no big dif-
  become the best beach volley-        tions. It is quite certain that the Brazilians will pack the    ferences in the numbers of people watching either –
  ball player in the world. With       stands on Copacabana beach to watch home-grown stars            beach volley is already one of the most popular women’s
  fourth place finishes to her cred-   like Marcio Araujo, Benjamin, Ricardo, Loiola, Adriana          sports for TV viewers.
  it in last year’s World Champi-      Behar and Shelda take on the rest of the world.                     New to the tour this season are four Grand Slam tour-
  onships in Klagenfurt and at the         The fact that the city authorities of Rio de Janeiro have   naments, which are open to the top 48 teams on both the
  1996 Atlanta Olympics, Fontana       allowed Copacabana beach to be used as the venue says                                                     q continues

  obviously has what it takes to       a great deal about the importance of the World Champi-
                                                                                                       Beach volleyball is a natural spectacle. The sport also
  compete at the highest level.        onships to Brazil. Normally, large public events are not        offers plenty of dramatic and skilful action.




8 | Next
Next | 9
                                                                                           The undeniable fact that the sport is a natural spectacle also
                                                                                       explains its burgeoning popularity. A young man or women leap-
                                                                                       ing from the hot sand towards a clear blue sky is an impressive
                                                                                       sight. The sport also offers plenty of dramatic and skilful action –
                                                                                       beach volleyball is not so much as team game as it is a display of
                                                                                       individual performances in a two-person team. And because the in-
                                                                                       dividuals stand out in the game, stars are born quickly.
                                                                                           The FIVB has been developing the entertainment aspect of
                                                                                       beach volleyball, and this has certainly given the sport quite a
                                                                                       boost in recent times. Tournaments have been turned into spec-
                                                                                       tacular and entertaining beach festivals with plenty to offer both
                                                                                       the casual and committed spectator. The sport is followed main-
                                                                                       ly by young people, which attracts advertisers and thus enables
                                                                                       the organisers to make the events even more glitzy. Beach vol-
                                                                                       leyball is a smash hit and there is every indication that its success
                                                                                       will continue.


               men’s and women’s rankings. The Grand Slams will he held in             Full Olympic status
               Berlin, Marseilles, Klagenfurt and Long Beach, Los Angeles.             Beach volleyball’s acceptance as a bona fide sport must also be
                   Grand Slam tournaments will attract a great deal of interest be-    mentioned as an important achievement. First included in the At-
               cause only the very best in the world are invited to compete in them.   lanta and Sydney Olympics as a demonstration sport, it has now
               Should any pair win all four Grand Slam tournaments, they will cer-     been granted full Olympic status for the 2004 Games in Athens.
               tainly have an easy time of it when it comes to negotiating next sea-       More than 100 men and women play beach volleyball profes-
               son’s sponsorship deals.                                                sionally. The biggest names still come from the United States and
                   In addition to the World Tour, the sport’s international compe-     Brazil, but Europeans and Australians have already risen to join the
               tition programme also includes challenger and satellite tourna-         ranks of the world’s best players.
               ments. As in the world of tennis, these enable young players to gain        Beach volleyball used to be a way for many conventional vol-
               valuable experience.                                                    leyball players to stay in form during the summer months. Now the
                                                                                       situation has been reversed – many promising junior players
               Lifestyle sport                                                         choose beach volleyball as their No. 1 sport and play conventional
               Beach volleyball is one of the biggest sports success stories of the    volleyball as a second string.
               late twentieth century. The history of the sport actually dates back        Playing both sports in parallel works very well because their
               to the 1920s, when the first volleyball courts were marked out on       basic techniques are largely the same. However, there are differ-
               the sandy beaches of Santa Monica, California. The first profes-        ences: a player cannot get to the top in beach volleyball unless he
               sional tournaments were held in California in the 1970s.                or she is extremely versatile. Getting the partnership right is also
                   At that time beach volleyball started to spread around the          very important. A small player must find a high-reaching blocker as
               world, and Brazil became the sport’s second homeland. The game          a partner.
               was already being played for big money in California during the             It has already become clear that a player does not have to be
               1980s. At first the popularity of beach volleyball grew simply be-      tall to get to the top of the sport. Shelda of Brazil, for instance, the
               cause it was fun – a beach ball game played barefooted by sun-          No. 2 player on the women’s world rankings, is only 165 cm tall. s
               bathers and swimmers. Beach volleyball became part of the
               lifestyle of beach-going youngsters.                                    Additional information: www.fivb.ch




10 | N e x t
                                                                                  NEW PRODUCTS




JACK – WILSON’S NEW BALL

This season Wilson will be launching a market-        Internet. The style of the campaign is relaxed
ing campaign to launch its new Jack golf ball for     and humorous. Jack also has a rather cool
recreational golfers. The product is targeted at      website of his own, and a Black Jack game is
25-39-year-old “Jacks” who do not regard their        in the works as well. Fifteen-ball boxes will
handicap or lowering it as the most important         contain scratch cards for a Black Jack game of-
aspect of the game. For “Jacks”, playing golf is      fering a tempting trip to Las Vegas for four per-
all about having a good time with friends.            sons as the first prize.
    As many as 56 per cent of the 27 million              In Europe the campaign will not have such
golfers in the United States consider themselves      a high profile. Instead the balls will be sold in
to be players like Jack. Golf is just one of Jack’s   pro-shops and sports stores, where the new
many other sports and hobbies. He doesn’t wor-        brightly coloured four-ball Jackpacks will be
ry about loosing a ball as long as he has anoth-      prominently displayed on sales stands. The
er one in his pocket. Jack is not particularly in-    Jackpack will cost EUR 5.90 and a convention-
terested in the technical side of golf balls either   al box of 15 balls will cost about EUR 24.
– he simply wants them to fly as far as possible.
    Wilson Jack will be appearing primarily in        Additional information:
the US printed media, TV, radio and also on the       www.wilsongolf.com/jack




                                                                                                          N e x t | 11
                            King of the




                fast
               show
               The rediscovered joy of skiing and important people
                  in his immediate circle are the factors behind
                  Kalle Palander’s World Cup Slalom triumph.


                     Text by Markku Rimpiläinen s Photos by Aki Roukala




12 | N e x t
                                                                                                 “There are many
                                                                                                 other important
                           lack, clack, clack… Kalle Palander clips one gate after an-                                           really ought to be producing re-




               C
                                                                                                 things in life
                           other as he races down the steep slalom slope at Ruka in              besides alpine                  sults. I had to make the most im-
                           Finnish Lapland. When the run is over, Palander pauses                skiing. It’s good               portant decision of my career.” By
                                                                                                 to lead a normal
                           briefly for breath. Then the coach of Ruka Alpine Skiing              life away from                  the time the long testing session
               School, Mikko Martikainen, takes the skier back to the top on a snow-             the slopes”, says               was over, Palander had reached a
                                                                                                 Kalle Palander.
               mobile. When the snowmobile engine stops and Palander gets off, the                                               decision: the skis must be changed
               only sound to be heard on the fjeld is the singing of a solitary bird. It                                         – and it proved to be a decision he
               is just after seven o’clock in the morning and the ski-lifts are not yet                                          would not regret. “Teaming up with
               open. It is the end of April. As usual, Palander has come back to Fin-       Atomic marked a change in fortune,” says Palander, without a trace
               land to catch the last hard snow of the season.                              of pretence in his voice.
                   After the training session Palander jokes with Jukka Leino, who              The timing of Palander’s stable change was indeed fortuitous. One
               has just been promoted to Finland’s A Team, as the two team-mates            of Atomic’s No. 1 guns, Lasse Kjus, had decided to change ski brands
               pack away their gear. The man is satisfied: “I am in better shape than       at the same time. This meant that Hans-Peter Habersatter, who had
               at any time during the season,” says the World Cup Slalom Champion           taken care of Kjus’s skis for the past eight years, was available to take
               calmly.                                                                      charge of Palander’s and Sami Uotila’s skis.
                                                                                                After their first season together, Palander has nothing but praise
               Joy                                                                          and warm thanks for Habersatter, who is one of the best-respected
               Two year earlier Palander was also training at Ruka, but the atmos-          professionals in his business. “Hans-Peter is the kind of guy who de-
               phere then was totally different from now. The season had been a ca-         mands and gets exactly what he wants from the factory.” And so too do
               tastrophe. Palander could not get to grips with the new shorter skis. He     Palander and Uotila: new skis can be manufactured in as little as five
               skied off the course in nine consecutive races, failed in the St. Anton      days if necessary.
               World Championships and slid down to 36th place in the slalom rank-
               ings. “Everything suddenly went wrong and nobody could figure out            Coach
               why. When the skiing was going badly, I started to come more under the       When Palander won last winter’s classic Kitzbühel slalom, at least four
               spotlight. I had to focus exclusively on alpine skiing and other pleasures   men were jumping for joy around the finishing line. The first, of course,
               were completely sidelined. The whole business was very troubling.”           was Palander himself, the second his father Jouni Palander, the third
                   When the end of spring arrived and the other skiers took a break         Hans-Peter Habersatter and the fourth Palander’s coach Christian
               from training, Palander packed his skis and flew home to do even more        Leitner. “When Hans-Peter worked with Lasse Kjus, he won everything
               work. “I threw my helmet away in disgust. I thought there’s no need          except the World Cup Slalom. After the win Hans-Peter was jubilant.
               to wear a helmet if I am going to ski as slowly as that. It was an emo-      ‘Now I have everything,’ he cried triumphantly.”
               tional reaction, of course, but the helmet has gone for good now.”               Coach Leitner was deeply moved by Palander’s victory. A World
                   Innumerable practice runs, an undisturbed period of concentrat-          Cup title is, of course, a big deal. For Leitner the significance of the win
               ed work and careful honing of basic technique began to untangle the          was heightened by the fact that it was achieved at Kitzbühel, which is
               mess. Palander rediscovered the lost joy and easy style of his skiing.       where his family comes from. Christian Leitner’s father, Hans Leitner,
               “I also realised that there are many other important things in life be-      is remembered in the town as an Olympic medallist.
               sides alpine skiing. It’s good to lead a normal life away from the slopes.       For Palander himself Kitzbühel was a great place to secure the ti-
               I don’t want to be an alpine skier oblivious to the rest of life.”           tle. During the competition season he practises most of the time in
                                                                                            Leitner’s home territory, such as in Westendorf and Kirchberg.
               New skis                                                                     “Thanks to our relationship with Chris, we were made very welcome
               In April 2002 Palander was once again in his homeland after the end          here in Austria even before this success. Now Sami and I are treated
               of the season. He tested several skis and seriously considered chang-        just like Austrian skiers.”
               ing his brand from Rossignol to Atomic. The Atomic skis were faster              The relationship between coach Leitner and skiers Palander and
               in practice, but would they perform as well under race conditions? Pa-       Uotila has become very close over the years. “The Finnish national team
               lander didn’t know the answer. “I was then already at the age that I         is a small family, in which the members know each other much better
                                                                                                                                                          q continues


14 | N e x t
N e x t | 15
                   than in some larger teams. We are all mates and Chris likes that.” At            The relationship between Uotila and Palander is a complex one.
                   the end of last season Leitner decided to continue working with the        The men practice and compete together, but Uotila also coaches Pa-
                   Finns. Palander believes that the good relationship between coach and      lander. “Somebody once asked why I suddenly started skiing the gi-
                   team had a lot to do with that decision.                                   ant slalom so well. I said that, well, if you ski for ten years with a
                                                                                              friend who has a perfect technique, then you would have to be a
                   Father                                                                     bloody poor skier not to have learned something,” laughs Palander
                   When Palander trains at Ruka, Christian Leitner is not present. The        and then continues in more serious vein: “Sami coaches me in the
                   course is constructed by Kalle’s father, Jouni Palander.                   giant slalom more than anyone else. The discipline has changed so
                       The Palanders collaborated in moulding Kalle’s career from the         quickly that the coaches have not always been able to keep up. They
                   very start. Jouni drove Kalle to training and competition venues, which    have to listen carefully to the feelings of the skiers as well.”
                   often involved trips of hundreds of kilometres. When Kalle made his              Palander and Uotila have known each other since they were
                   first competition trips to other Scandinavian and European countries,      small children. At first they competed together in Finland. Then Uoti-
                   the money came out of his father’s pocket. And on top of all that, Jouni   la went to the Geilo Alpine Skiing School in Norway and Palander to
                   coached his son and continues to do so. Kalle’s training programmes        the    Rovaniemi     Sports
                                                         for next summer have been put        School in Finland. Their

   “In Kitzbühel I felt that I was absolutely            together by his father. “My father   international careers be-
   in control and that no-one could beat me              has done a lot for me. I’m only      gan in the national C
   if I skied like I was doing.”
                                                         now beginning to appreciate how      team, and the expenses of
                                                         much,” says Palander.                both skiers were paid by
                       The coach-athlete relationship between father and son is not nec-      their parents. Both of the
                   essarily an easy one. ”From time to time we certainly do butt heads.       young       skiers    were
                   After all, we both know quite a lot about the sport. My father always      spurred on by a strong de-
                   says that it’s difficult to train one’s own son because things can be      sire to succeed. Gradually
                   said quite directly. I can vouch for that. And he certainly cracks the     Uotila began to find suc-
                   whip with me more than he does with the other skiers he trains. As         cess in the giant slalom,
                   a fourteen-year-old I was sometimes practising three times a day.          while Palander amassed
                   But in those days I had so much energy that I spent the rest of the        FIS points mainly in the slalom.
                   time playing tennis.”
                                                                                              Two disciplines
                   Friend                                                                     Up until now Uotila has been clearly the better of the two in the gi-
                   In addition to his father, coach and ski technician, Palander’s im-        ant slalom, but next season he may have to face stiff competition
                   mediate circle also includes two other old friends and partners. The       from his old friend. Palander produced easily his fastest-ever times
                   first of them is the former alpine skiing manager of the Finnish Ski       in the giant slalom towards the end of the season.
                   Federation, Martti Uusitalo, who nowadays handles many of Palan-                 “Sami will still be very hard to beat next season. Two Finns
                   der’s sponsorship and contractual arrangements. The other is Sami          standing on the same podium would be a fine thing. We just have to
                   Uotila, with whom Palander has travelled the world and shared not          be at our best in the same competition.”
                   only hotel rooms but also joys and sorrows.                                      Even though Palander’s times have improved markedly in the gi-
                       “We did our national service in the army at the same time. We          ant slalom, he still regards the slalom as his No. 1 discipline. “I like
                   were together for eleven months. Even back then, we shared a ho-           the giant slalom and I spend more time training for it than I do for the
                   tel room when we were not in barracks. We have actually had sur-           slalom. But for me it will always be a second string. I will never be
                   prisingly few problems. But when they have arisen, we’ve sorted            such a technical skier that I could be a winner in the giant slalom. On
                   them out face to face. Sulking or talking behind each other’s back         a good day I have a chance of making the top three, but there’s still
                   is not our style.”                                                         a lot of work to be done before that will happen.”



16 | N e x t
    On the other hand, the importance of the giant slalom is grow-     good things happened last season, but perhaps the most significant
ing to such an extent that changes will be made to the summer train-   development was my improved reliability. Earlier I had always been
ing programme. “Training will be tougher with the emphasis on          an uncertain finisher. Last season only two skiers crossed the line in
strength and endurance. That means longer series of repetitions in     every World Cup event: Ivica Kostelic and me.”
the weight room – not a pleasant prospect!”                                Of the two men, Kostelic was in better form early on but Palan-
                                                                       der overtook him towards the end of the season, with Kitzbühel
Balance                                                                marking the turning point in their fortunes. At the Korean event in
Since the end of the season Palander has been focusing on honing his   Yongpyong, Palander found out what it is like to be totally relaxed and
skiing technique. “We made some quite small changes. My legs are       at ease with his skiing.
now slightly wider apart and my hands are a few centimetres higher.”       “Half way down the second run I had the kind of feeling that I
    Last season Palander succeeded in getting his skiing technique     have never experienced before. I felt that I was absolutely in control
into amazingly good shape. His racing weight was also lower than       and that no-one could beat me if I skied like I was doing. Hopefully,
before, which may have further improved his control. “Quite a few      I’ll get the same feeling back again sometime.” s




                                                                                                                                                 N e x t | 17
18 | N e x t
                                                                          The British golf market




New trends in golf retailing
              Traditional pro-shops still dominate
              the British golf market, but specialist
              chain stores are raising their
              market share all the time.

              Text by Merja Myllylahti s Photos by Rami Lappalainen


                    he fact that the British golf market is the biggest in Europe will
              T     come as no surprise to anyone. However, it may not be so well
              known that competition on the British market is the toughest in the
              world – even tougher than in the United States. As a consequence
              of this, the retail trade in Britain is efficient and highly advanced. So-
              lutions that make their mark in the British Isles will probably be
              successful elsewhere in Europe too.
                  The majority of golf equipment is sold by professionals working
              in on-course shops, but the large off-course chain stores are rap-
              idly increasing their share of the market. Some of these chains are
              golf specialists, while others are general sports stores.
                                                                         q continues



              You’re never too old to learn! The customer groups served
              by British golf stores are becoming increasingly differentiated.

                                                                                           N e x t | 19
20 | N e x t
                                                                                                                                                The British golf market


    The General Manager of Wilson Golf Europe, Angus Moir, and Amer                 The brands of 25 golf equipment and clothing manufacturers make up
Sports UK’s Country Manager, Allan Bond, estimate that on-course pro-           the core of American Golf Discount’s sales. As its name suggests, the
shops account for 60 per cent of all the golf equipment currently sold in       British company competes for customers on the basis of price as well as
Britain. The remaining 40 per cent market share is held by other retailers.     service.
    “Sports stores in towns and cities are raising their share of the golf          “Price competition is fierce on the British golf market. We are not –
equipment market. They are adopting a more professional approach to             and we don’t want to be – the cheapest retailer, because we intend to
sales of golf equipment. The off-course chains have a lot of stores, and for    maintain the expert service that we provide for our customers. You can say
a large group of customers they are easier to get to,” explains Moir.           that, on average, our products are 5–10 per cent cheaper than those of-
    Britain’s biggest sports equipment chains, JJB Sports and Sport Soc-        fered for sale in a small specialist store.”
cer – the latter of which was formerly a specialist retailer of soccer equip-
ment, have both started to focus their attention on the golf equipment          Growing demand for custom-fitted clubs
trade.                                                                          The Wilson brand has a strong position on the British market. According
                                                                                to Bond and Moir, the brand is the fourth biggest on the British market.
Nationwide chain                                                                Last year Wilson had its best-ever year in Britain: sales were 15 per cent
American Golf Discount is Britain’s leading chain of specialist golf stores.    up on the 2001 level. Demand for premium price point clubs in particu-
Despite its name, the business is a privately owned British company. It has     lar has been growing strongly.
a 20 per cent share of the British golf market. Last year the company’s             Moir and Bond estimate that custom-fitted clubs account for about 20
sales rose to GBP 76 million.                                                   per cent of all the golf clubs sold in Britain and demand for them is grow-
    The chain has 56 stores in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Repub-         ing strongly. They says that on-course pro-shops in particular have been
lic of Ireland. The average size of its stores is 300 square metres. Ac-        focusing intently on sales of custom-fitted clubs because it gives them a
cording to the founder and director of the company, Tony Norton, there          competitive edge over many large chains that do not specialise in golf.
are plans to bring the total number of stores in the chain up to one hun-           American Golf Discount has also noticed that many customers want
dred over the next five years. This planned expansion will mean a doubling      custom-fitted clubs. Norton says that his chain tries to tailor clubs to suit
of the company’s present market share. The chain also intends to open           that needs and wishes of customers. Norton estimates that custom-fitted
new shops in Spain, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.                        clubs currently account for about 10 per cent of total club sales, and de-
                                                                                mand for them is growing somewhat.
Expertise and large product ranges
Norton says that American Golf Discount’s broad customer base com-              Almost zero growth
prises golfers of all ages and incomes, and includes golf club members          Altogether in Britain there are about 3.2 million golfers, of whom 1.6 mil-
as well as non-members. The average age of its customers is just over 40,       lion play regularly. The number of British golfers has hardly grown at all
whereas the average age of British golfers generally is 48. The retail chain    over the past couple of years.
has information on 365,000 customers in its database, but its cash reg-             Moir and Bond say that one reason for this stagnation is that Britain
isters record at least 1.5 million sales transactions every year.               does not have a distinct organisation responsible for marketing golf and
    “The fact that we stock a wider range of products than many small           bringing new players into the game.
professional golf shops gives us an advantage. And the golf experts on              “The absence of a single golf organisation has resulted in us lacking
hand in our stores are able to assist customers in their product selections.    the kind of body that could encourage young and old alike to take up the
We put a great deal of emphasis on providing a personal service,” says          game. Besides that, it must be said that the rather high cost of playing golf
Norton.                                                                         in this country does pose an obstacle to many would-be beginners.”
                                                                                    “Moreover, the economic climate has not been particularly
                                                                                favourable. Even though interest rates are at all-time record lows, the re-
Golf is attracting more and more youngsters whose parents may
not necessarily have ever played the game. This poses a challenge               tailing sector has suffered from economic uncertainty, the war in Iraq, and
for specialist stores, which are accustomed to serving predominantly            tax increases,” comment Moir and Bond.
middle-aged club golfers. We shall soon see whether shop-in-shop
solutions will be created for youngsters or whether entirely
                                                                                    “There are also too many brands on the market, which has led to re-
new chains dedicated to young customers will emerge.                            tailers resorting to all kinds of measures to compete for customers.” s



                                                                                                                                                                N e x t | 21
               Sometimes
                           it hurts
                           The odd ache here and a strange feeling there. Physically active people
                           and sports participants are accustomed to the minor aches and pains
                           that follow physical exertion, but when should they be concerned and
                           have that ailment checked out by a physician. And what kind of injuries
                           are typical of different activities and can they be prevented?

                           Text by Arja Liinamaa s Photos by Juha Laine and Harri Lindfors


                                                           q The snowboarder in the photo suffered facial abrasions
                                                             after attempting a slightly over-ambitious jump. His
                                                             injuries healed and he is now fully recovered.




22 | N e x t
N e x t | 23
“
               Some of the injuries that occur in connection with fitness activities
               and participation in sports can be prevented by using adequate pro-
               tective equipment, stretching and warming up the muscles before
               starting the activity, and by learning good technique,” says Dr. Vesa
               Lepola, a specialist in sports medicine at the Likes Sports Clinic.
                   “Some injuries, however, stem from the nature of the sport, from
               the equipment used, and even from completely unexpected inci-
               dents. The consequences of such injuries can only be alleviated by
               prompt first aid and appropriate treatment,” continues Lepola.


               High speed on the ski slopes
               The new style of carving alpine skis has not increased or changed
               the kind of injuries typically suffered by skiers. Their knees remain
               the most common sight of physical injury. In a typical injury situation
               the skier falls in a twisting motion, but the binding fails to open for
               some reason. The cause may be an incorrectly adjusted binding or
               snow trapped between the boot and the binding.
                   Twisting the knee can
               cause tearing of the cruciate         Protective equipment,
               ligaments, which usually re-          adequate warming up,
               quires surgery and at least six       good technique and prompt
                                                     first aid are necessary
               months of rehabilitation. An-
                                                     to reduce the risk of injury.
               other typical injury is “skier’s
               thumb”, which occurs when a
               skier falls on one of his sticks and its strap rips across the thumb.
                   Vesa Lepola works not only at the Likes Sports Clinic but also
               at the surgical clinic of a regional central hospital. He says that the   A helmet is an absolutely necessary item of safety equipment for any
               great popularity of snowboarding clearly shows up in the hospital         snowboarder – and also for the wise alpine skier too.
               at the opening of the season and during winter vacation periods. At           Skiers and snowboarders should always start a day on the
               these times every day brings more than one snowboarder with a bro-        slopes calmly. It may take time to get used to the prevailing snow
               ken wrist or some other injury to the first aid reception from the        conditions and to the characteristics of any rental equipment. The
               nearby skiing centre.                                                     risk with soft snow is that the ski bites into the snow and the knee
                   “Today’s more daredevil style of skiing coupled with the large        gets twisted. An icy slope, on the other hand, makes falls and colli-
               number of beginners is resulting in injuries easily occurring, for in-    sions more dangerous.
               stance, on landing from jumps. Bone fractures in the wrist and elbow
               areas occur easily because the skier naturally uses his or her arm        Work-out and warm-up for golfers
               to break the fall,” says Lepola. In the simplest cases these fractures    The golfer often rushes off enthusiastically to the course at the first
               are treated by resetting the broken bone under local anaesthetic, fol-    sign of spring and plays all day. But this can easily result in stress in-
               lowed by a few weeks in a plaster cast. In some cases, however, a         juries to the elbow area.
               general anaesthetic and surgery are called for. Fractures suffered            “In fact, the golfer is prone to both tennis elbow and golfer’s el-
               by children are almost always treated under general anaesthetic.          bow. The difference between the two ailments is that in tennis elbow
                   The most serious snowboarding injury is in the head area, and         the pain is felt on the point of the elbow and in golfer’s elbow it is felt
               the worst consequence of such injuries is permanent brain damage.         on the inside of the joint,” explains Vesa Lepola.



24 | N e x t
                                                                                                                                                     t
                                                                                                                                                     Collarbone
                                                                                                                                                     fracture is
                                                                                                                                                     one of the
                                                                                                                                                     most common
                                                                                                                                                     injuries
                                                                                                                                                     suffered by
                                                                                                                                                     snowboarders
                                                                                                                                                     and alpine
                                                                                                                                                     skiers. The
                                                                                                                                                     injury can
                                                                                                                                                     occur even at
                                                                                                                                                     slow speeds.

                                                                                                                                                     e
                                                                                                                                                     The greatest
                                                                                                                                                     dangers
                                                                                                                                                     are faced
                                                                                                                                                     in extreme
                                                                                                                                                     sports.


    Both involve soreness of the muscle attachment points which does       quickly in a small playing area,
not generally show up externally in the form of bruising or swelling.      with the result that there are
The irritation stems from the same body part being subjected to repet-     plenty of collisions, falls and sud-
itive motions of the same kind. Vibrations caused by bad hits exacer-      den changes of direction.”
bates the soreness.                                                            Twisting of the knee or angle
    “Stress injuries can be prevented by working out in the gym dur-       is a typical injury for ball games
ing the off season and practising movements that strengthen the            played indoors. A sprained ankle
muscle attachment points at risk,” advises Lepola. Working out in the      means that the ankle twists ei-
gym can also prevent other stress injuries, such as back pains caused      ther inwards or outwards and the
by the coiling motion of the torso during the golf swing.                  ligaments on the stretched side
    A day’s golf should start with a good warm-up of the muscles that      are over-extended or torn.
will be used in the golf swing, including elbow and shoulder stretch-          These injuries used to be
es and gentle swings with a golf club.                                     treated by means of quite delicate
                                                                           surgery. The ends of the liga-
Leg injuries affect balance                                                ments were joined and the struc-
American football and hand ball come top of the injury statistics for      ture was repaired using surrounding tissue. In recent years there has
ball sports. “Ball games typically involve a lot of people moving around   been a significant change in the treatment methods.                     q continues



                                                                                                                                                       N e x t | 25
                                                                                                       Untreated muscle
                                                                                                       damage can
Injuries occur                                                                                         display symptoms               thigh muscle of another player

in many sports                                                                                         years after the                during the course of the game.
Alpine skiing is gener-                                                                                injury occurred if,                The pain is intense and
ally regarded as a dan-                                                                                for instance,                  stems from the tensioned
                                                                                                       a haematoma
gerous form of physical                                                                                                               state of the muscle, when
                                                                                                       has formed
exercise and walking as                                                                                                               damage is caused more easi-
                                                                                                       in the muscle.
being extremely safe.                                                                                                                 ly than in the relaxed state.
The statistics suggest                                                                                                                Slight injuries improve in a few
that that is not entirely                                                                          days, but all too often the symptoms are ignored and prolonged
so, although the differ-                                                                           pain can be the consequence. First aid is very important.
ences between many                                                                                     Untreated muscle damage can display symptoms years af-
ordinary fitness activi-                                                                           ter the injury occured if, for instance, a haematoma has formed
ties are quite small.                                                                              in the muscle. “This kind of haematoma can stay inside the
    Injuries sustained in                                                                          muscle and start to calcify there. The end-result may be a hid-
some popular sports                                                                                den calcified nodule that some time later is revealed by x-ray
and fitness activities                                                                             examination and explains the long-term pain suffered,” says
are listed in the follow-                                                                          Lepola.
ing table. The table de-
scribes the average in-                                                                            Top athletes
cidence of injury per                                                                              need health checks
thousand hours of each                                                                             In the opinion of the sports doctors there is still room for im-
                            X-ray image of a alpine skier’s injured knee. The diagnosis is
activity.                   water on the knee, an accumulation of inflammatory                     provement in the healthcare of top athletes.
Basketball (14)             exudate in the knee joint.                                                 “Strenuous practice and competition takes its toll on the
Squash (14)                     “Nowadays ligament damage, especially on the outside of            body. At the moment the injuries suffered by top athletes are
Alpine skiing (8)           the angle, is treated by means of an orthopaedic ankle brace and       certainly treated well, but that is not enough,” says Lepola.
Jogging (6)                 active rehabilitation using, amongst other means, a balance                Regular check-ups following the occupation healthcare mod-
Tennis (5)                  board. Only a small percentage of ankle sprains treated in this        el are needed so that physical abnormalities as well as recurring
Dancing (5)                 way remain slack and require surgery,” says Vesa Lepola.               problems with old injuries and their consequences can be pre-
Gymnasium                       The importance of rebuilding balance is now emphasised in          vented more effectively. Lepola thinks that the end of the com-
training (4)                the rehabilitation of leg injuries. “The ankles and knees are im-      petitive season when athletes take a rest before starting basic fit-
Cycling (3,5)               portant for our sense of balance. Injuries in these areas upset        ness work would be a very suitable time for such a check-up.
Exercise                    the sense of balance and weaken joint co-ordination, resulting             Active sports participants and fitness enthusiasts could al-
bike training (2)           in the patient becoming more prone to new injuries. The balance        so be more vigilant in interpreting what their bodies are trying
Walking (2)                 board has become an extremely important tool in modern re-             to tell them. “Too many people think, ‘Oh, it’ll disappear to wher-
                            habilitation of leg injuries. The patient should not engage in sport   ever it came from’, and carry on subjecting an injured part of their
Source: Injuries in         again until the injury has healed completely,” says Lepola.            body to more stress. If pain is protracted or intense, you should
Recreational Adult Fit-                                                                            always have the affected area examined,” stresses Lepola.
ness Activities, The        Cold treatment                                                             Modern treatment possibilities at their best are sparing and
American Journal of         Muscle damage goes unnoticed and untreated all too often.              effective. For example, keyhole surgery is now widely used also
Sports Medicine, vol.       “Dead leg” is a muscle injury typically encountered in ball            in the shoulder area. This technique enables surgeons to make
21 (3), pp. 461–467,        sports. It gets its name from the manner in which it occurs:           a lot more improvements to the joint area and with less risk
1993.                       when the knee of one player impacts forcefully on the tensioned        than before, says Vesa Lepola. s




26 | N e x t
                                                                                                                                                      classic




The Mecca of Tennis
Text by Arja Vartia s Photo by The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum         to industrially manufactured products. However, the traditional white   Women’s tennis
                                                                        apparel and grass courts that have been the hallmark of the Wim-        at the turn of the
                                                                                                                                                century. The ladies’
       hen the members of the All England Croquet and Lawn Ten-         bledon Championships for over a hundred years have been retained
W      nis Club organised the first Gentlemen’s Singles Lawn Tennis     to the present day.
                                                                                                                                                tournament was
                                                                                                                                                played at Wimbledon
                                                                                                                                                for the first time
Championships in 1877, they could scarcely have imagined what kind          In 1877, spectators were charged a shilling to watch the
                                                                                                                                                in 1884.
of a future the event was to have. Wimbledon became one of the          Gentlemen’s Singles finals. Today, such tickets are like gold dust
great Grand Slam tournaments, but top tennis players dream of win-      and can seldom be obtained for any amount of money. Nowadays,
ning the coveted title of Wimbledon Champion like other athletes as-    most Wimbledon tickets are allocated to the national tennis asso-       Additional
pire to win the Olympic gold medal. The first Ladies Singles was held   ciations of different countries. The keenest tennis fans queue all      information:
in 1884 and foreign players were admitted for the first time in 1905.   night outside the gates of the All England Club just to gain admit-     www.wimbledon.com
The number of events gradually increased, and today there are five      tance to the outside court enclosure, but they have no chance of get-
main championship events, four championship events for juniors,         ting into any of the inner court stands. The Championships are
and a varying schedule of invitation events for former players.         watched by about half a million court-side spectators each year.
    The standard of tennis equipment has improved enormously                The Centre Court has a fascinating museum where tennis
over the decades of Wimbledon’s history. The first racquets were        memorabilia and exhibits are on display all year round. Amongst
more reminiscent of snowshoes than today’s high-tech models, and        many other interesting things, the matches of great players of the
the hand-stitched flannel-covered balls of yesteryear have given way    past can be remembered or seen for the first time on video. s




                                                                                                                                                        N e x t | 27
         INTERIM REPORT 1–3/2003

               Amer Group’s

               OPERATING PROFIT SIMILAR TO LAST YEAR
               Amer Group’s net sales in the first quarter of 2003 were EUR 283.9     tinued to be extremely competitive and Wilson golf ball sales de-
               million. Operating profit amounted to EUR 15.3 million. Profit be-     clined by 33% as a result. The new Jack golf ball family has been
               fore extraordinary items totalled EUR 13.1 million and earnings per    well received by the trade although it is too early to predict con-
               share were EUR 0.39. Foreign exchange rate movements reduced           sumer reaction. A new Wilson Staff True golf ball was also intro-
               net sales by EUR 32 million and operating profit by EUR 2 million,     duced in January and shipments started in February. Due to the
               due to the strengthening of the euro especially against the US dol-    golf market’s seasonality, the second quarter is critical to golf sales
               lar. The Group’s net sales for 2003 as a whole are expected to grow    for the year as a whole.
               and operating profit to decline modestly from 2002’s record level.         The Team Sports Division continued to perform well. In local
                   In local currencies, the Racquet Sports Division’s net sales de-   currencies, the Team Sports Division’s net sales grew by 7% and
               clined 10% and operating profit declined 31%. The decline in net       operating profit by 13%. The fastest growing product categories in
               sales was mainly due to poor tennis ball sales and also the timing     Team Sports were basketballs and baseball and softball bats. Dur-
               of shipments of the new performance racquet. Sales of Wilson ten-      ing the period, a new NCAA Composite Basketball was introduced,
               nis racquets decreased by 15%, tennis balls by 12% and footwear        featuring Cushion Core Technology for outstanding grip and feel.
               by 3%. However, Wilson’s position as the global market leader in       The Team Sports Division also shipped a new Wilson Youth Batting
               tennis racquets remained strong, and in tennis balls Wilson re-        Helmet, a one-size-fits-all helmet for Baseball and Softball.
               mains number three.
                   The Company estimates that the overall tennis market contin-       Sales of treadmills grew
               ued to decline in both Europe and the United States. Also, the av-     Winter Sports’ net sales in local currencies decreased by 12%. Due
               erage selling price of a tennis racquet continued to fall.             to seasonality, Atomic's deliveries are heavily weighted towards the
                   Shipments of the new Triad racquets started in the United          latter part of the year.
               States in February. Shipments to other markets will start during           Net sales declined due to poor snow conditions in Austria and
               the spring and summer. The new models are lighter and produce          Germany at the beginning of the 2002/2003 winter sports season.
               more power than the earlier models thanks to their Decometric          Re-orders were therefore low. Snow conditions improved towards
               geometry in the hoop and handle.                                       the end of the season, such that stock levels are now mostly at nor-
                                                                                      mal levels. The current level of pre-orders suggests there will be a
               Sales of golf                                                          slight downturn in the market in 2003, reflecting the cautious mood
               equipment decreased                                                    of the trade. In 2003, Winter Sports' investment in its sales opera-
               In the Golf Division, net sales in local currencies declined by 25%.   tion is planned to be higher than last year.
               Sales of Wilson golf clubs decreased by 20% due to later availabil-        Fitness Equipment’s net sales in local currencies increased by
               ity than planned of its new Deep Red II woods and irons. Also low-     5% and operating profit increased by 31%. The fastest growing prod-
               er price point golf club sales declined. The golf ball market con-     uct categories were treadmills and elliptical cross-trainers. In Feb-



28 | N e x t
                                                                               Group Results,                                 mill. (unaudited)
                                                                                                            1–3/2003        1–3/2002       CHANGE, %        1–12/2002
ruary, a new line of C846 and C842 upright and recumbent cycles       NET SALES                                   283.9          289.4               –2          1 101.9
for club and commercial markets were brought to the market.           DEPRECIATION                                   9.8            8.4                             34.4
    North American commercial and consumer markets appear             OPERATING PROFIT                             15.3            15.3                            103.0
to be cooling. Major club organisations are holding off on pur-       NET FINANCING EXPENSES                       –2.2            –0.6                             –7.4

chases, and the government market has postponed investments           PROFIT BEFORE EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS            13.1            14.7             –11             95.6
                                                                      EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS                              –              –                                   –
in fitness equipment. Consumers are similarly cautious. Despite
                                                                      PROFIT BEFORE TAXES                          13.1            14.7                             95.6
general uncertainty, the fitness sector as a whole is expected to
                                                                      TAXES                                        –3.9            –4.1                            –26.5
continue growing. Further growth is also anticipated in the popu-
                                                                      MINORITY INTEREST                            –0.1             0.0                             –0.6
larity of elliptical fitness equipment. The Fitness Equipment Divi-
                                                                      PROFIT                                         9.1           10.6                             68.5
sion has good growth opportunities especially outside North
                                                                      EARNINGS PER SHARE, EUR                      0.39            0.46                             2.95
America.
                                                                      ADJUSTED AVERAGE NUMBER
    In local currencies, Suunto’s net sales were similar to last      OF SHARES IN ISSUE, MILLION                  23.2            23.2                             23.2
year’s level. Its growth was slowed down by a decline in sales of     EQUITY PER SHARE, EUR                        17.8          18.06                             19.17
Suunto’s non-core products. Sales of Suunto’s wristop computers       ROCE,   % *)                                 17.9            17.5                             18.3
and diving instruments maintained the levels achieved in the com-     ROE,   %                                       8.4            9.7                             15.5
parable period in 2002. Wristop computers and diving instruments      AVERAGE RATES USED: EUR 1,00 = USD           1.07            0.88                             0.94
accounted for 56% of Suunto’s net sales. At the beginning of 2003,    AVERAGE PERSONNEL                           4,056          3,747                             3,827
Suunto’s European central warehousing function was relocated to       *) 12-MONTH ROLLING AVERAGE

Amer Sports’ new logistics centre in Überherrn, Germany.              THE RELATIVE PROPORTION OF THE ESTIMATED TAX CHARGE FOR THE FULL FINANCIAL YEAR HAS BEEN CHARGED
                                                                      AGAINST THE RESULTS FOR THE PERIOD. IN FINANCIAL RATIOS SHAREHOLDER’S EQUITY AND NUMBER OF SHARES

                                                                      EXCLUDE OWN SHARES.
Sports equipment market remains challenging
Demand for sports equipment did not recover during the first
quarter of 2003. In Amer Group’s key markets, the US and Ger-                Operating Profit by Business Areas
many, both the trade and consumers remain cautious.
                                                                                                            1–3/2003         1–3/2002       CHANGE, %      1–12/2002
    Growth in demand for tennis equipment is not expected for the
                                                                      RACQUET SPORTS                                3.8              6.3            –40             25.6
remainder of the year. In golf equipment, the second quarter is
                                                                      GOLF                                         –2.1            –0.1                              7.1
critical and it will therefore only be possible to estimate market
                                                                      TEAM SPORTS                                  10.9            11.7              –7             24.0
performance after that. In team sports, the global market is fore-
                                                                      WINTER SPORTS                                –3.6            –1.5                             39.6
cast to remain flat. The growth in demand for sports instruments
                                                                      FITNESS EQUIPMENT                             8.9                –                             6.3
and fitness equipment continues, even though the growth in fit-       SPORTS INSTRUMENTS                            2.2              1.6             38             10.5
ness equipment seems to be slowing down a little. The level of        TOBACCO                                       1.5              1.7            –12              9.2
pre-orders indicates a slight downturn in the winter sports mar-      HEADQUARTERS                                 –2.5            –2.1                             –9.2
ket for the forthcoming 2003/2004 season. Amer Group’s net sales      GROUP GOODWILL                               –3.8            –2.3                           –10.1
for 2003 as a whole are expected to grow and operating profit to
decline modestly from the record level achieved in 2002. s            TOTAL                                        15.3            15.3                           103.0



                                                                                                                                                                 N e x t | 29
30 | N e x t
   A bicycle ride
                          to Patagonia

At the end of January, forty-year-old IT professional
Antony Bowesman embarked on a 7,574 bicycle ride
through Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. The bicycle is his
favourite mode of transport because the seat of a bike is
as close to nature as you can get with a wheeled vehicle.

   Text by Jussi-Pekka Aukia s Photos by Okko Oinonen and Antony Bowesman




                                                                   N e x t | 31
                                          ”
                                                                 The more I travel the slower I want to move and
               Downhill
                                                                 a bike is the perfect means. On a bike you are
                                                                 completely immersed in nature, you feel the
                                                                 power of nature in the wind, the rain and the
                                          sun; you hear its sounds: the roar of a waterfall, the song of the birds,
                                          you smell the smells: lupins on the roadside, cows in the fields.”
                                              The journey from La Paz in Bolivia to the southern tip of Patag-
                                          onia took five months, which included 105 travel days and 483 hours
                                          in the saddle. “It took about 2,500 kilometres to break in my new
                                          leather saddle, but now it is like an old friend!”
                                              Antony’s average daily travel distance was 75 kilometres. The
                                          shortest distance covered in a day was 6 kilometres and the longest
                                          168 kilometres. “I try to aim to do 100 kilometres or be on the bike
                                          for seven hours; I regard these as full days. I also count altitude gain
                                          and over the journey I have done 26 '100 kilometer days' and 31
                                          '1,000 meter climb days'.” The average speed over the whole jour-
               Torres del Paine, Chile
                                          ney was 15.8 kilometres per hour, and the daily speed averages var-
                                          ied from 7.7 to 25.6 kilometres per hour.


                                          Many reasons for the ride
                                          Antony’s journey along the Andes is the second longest trip that he
                                          has made in his life. Fourteen years ago he spent several months
                                          cycling the 8,800 kilometres from Beijing to Kathmandu.
                                              The transformation from a white-collar worker to a globe-trot-
                                          ting cyclist is an easy one. ”It is an easy transition to make because
                                          life instantly becomes more simple. I think that adaptation the
                                          other way round is more difficult.”
                                              Antony does not have just one motive for making his journey. The
                                          main incentive was the opportunity that cycling gives one to see and
                                          understand other cultures – and thus to understand what is impor-
               Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
                                          tant in life. “I have experienced such generosity from people who
                                          have nothing so I try to learn from these lessons and apply them to
                                          my own life. In our 'civilized' Europe, it is easy to complain about hos-
                                          pital waiting lists, but at least we have access to good medical care.”
                                              The long bicycle ride was also a real physical challenge for
                                          Antony, which was a significant factor in its own right for making the
                                          trip. “There is a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that I have con-
                                          quered that personal challenge and have not just been a tourist. It is
                                          not to everyone's taste, but I feel a great sense of well-being by com-
                                          bining the physical aspects of the journey with the mental discovery.”
                                              The cancer that afflicted Antony at the age of 23 is another fac-
                                          tor in the background of the journey. “Since then I have realised that




32 | N e x t
                                                                                                                                                       A dream come true




life is a precious thing to be lived. I, like all of us, have dreams and   ent. In Bolivia I met mainly Aymara Indians, the indigenous people
I feel that to ignore those dreams is to waste the opportunities we        of the Altiplano and they would often ask why I didn't take the bus,
have been given.                                                           it was faster and more comfortable. In Chile and Argentina, where
                                                                           lifestyles are more of a European standard, the people understood
From one Internet café to the next                                         more easily the reasons for making such a trip.”
Antony kept in touch with his friends and family during the trip main-           Dirt roads made up about two-thirds of Antony’s route. “In the
ly by e-mail, but pay phones and post cards were also necessary            Altiplano of the high Andes, there is a lot of sand and roads are often
means of communication. He set off with as little high-tech equip-         just tracks formed by the regularity of the occasional vehicle on the
ment as possible: a Psion palmtop computer, a Suunto X6 wristop            land rather than anything we in Europe would understand to be a
computer and a digi-
tal camera.
    Antony was able
to connect to the In-
ternet after arriving in
a new town. In South
America it is easy to
get connected in In-                                                        2.                                                   3.
                            1.
ternet cafés and pub-
lic phone service points, where an hour’s connection time general-         road. Cycling on dirt means continually watching the road in front           1. Lerma- valley,
                                                                                                                                                           Argentina.
ly costs less than one euro. “I write my diary on the Psion and trans-     to make sure you avoid the sometimes large rocks on the route and
ferring that to a PC is easy, the Psion uses Compact Flash cards for       on a badly corrugated road it is often easier to walk than cycle.”           2. A camp
memory so I just use a USB card reader to transfer the articles to               “Where roads are paved they are pretty much of European stan-             at Laguna Verde
                                                                                                                                                           in Bolivia.
the PC before uploading them to the site. The camera connects di-          dard, but these are often not much fun to cycle on as they carry a lot
rectly to the USB port and is just as easy to transfer pictures from.      of the traffic, although far less than the average main road in, for ex-     3. Somewhere
I have always been able to install software on the machines in web         ample, England. ”                                                               on the road.

cafes and downloading the Suunto logs has always been easy.”
                                                                           Unforgettable journey
Good causes                                                                The most arduous part of the whole route was the 450-kilometre
In addition to staying in touch with his family, Antony also tried to      stretch from Uyuni in Bolivia to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. “I
communicate with a wider audience. His website, www.thorntothe-            have had headwinds in Patagonia that almost made me cry and
horn.org, recorded over a thousand hits a month and more than 300          roads that made me swear but the combination of route and con-
people followed his progress regularly. “Publicity doesn't hold any        ditions made this the hardest seven day stretch”
importance for me directly but with regards to ADI, an Argentine                 Most of the road was at an altitude of 4,000–4,800 metres. Actu-
partner charity of Save the Children I am trying to raise money for,       ally there was no road to speak of at all, the route was marked only by
and Por Los Chicos, an organisation that helps feed Argentine chil-        the tyre tracks left in the sand by overland vehicles. “Cycling on sand
dren, I'll take all the publicity I can get.”                              is impossible. I had to push the bike for about 40 kilometres. It was
                                                                           terribly frustrating to struggle against a headwind up to a pass at
Road – what road?                                                          4,700 metres to then have to push the bike downhill through a sand
Antony met a lot of people on his trip and stayed in many different        dune the other side. Where there was no sand there were terrible cor-
kinds of communities. “Without exception, the people I met were            rugations.”
friendly, hospitable and inquisitive about me and my trip. The dif-              Keeping to the road was difficult and there was a real risk of get-
ferent cultures of each country made their questions very differ-          ting lost. “There is also one 150 kilometer stretch where there is no        q continues




                                                                                                                                                               N e x t | 33
A dream come true


                                                                                               landscape. “Laguna Colorada, a lake that turns a fiery red between
                                                                                               11am and 2pm, dotted with pink flamingoes. Laguna Verde and La-
                                                                                               guna Blanca, a green and white lake, sitting below the 6,000 metres
                                                                                               Licancabur Volcano on the Chilean border. The 12,000 square kilo-
                                                                                               metre Salar de Uyuni is an incredible sight, as far as the eye can see
                                                                                               the world is white.”


                                                                                               Return home
                                                                                               Antony Bowesman has been home with his partner, Riitta, now for
                                                                                               six weeks. The first two weeks were the most difficult. “Because of
                                                                                               Riitta the adjustment was quick and even enthusiastic. The change
                                                                                               of culture back into a civilised person and the move from a tent to a
                                                                                               house were not so easy. I had to become an entirely different per-
                                                                                               son,” says Antony.
                                                                                                   “I still miss the morning sunrise and the breeze blowing through
                                                                                               the tent. In order to get just a little time to spend leading the sim-
                                                                                               ple life of a traveller, I have to work in the complex and continuous-
                                             water apart from a spring at the edge of a        ly changing field of information technology.”
   “Travelling gives one                     salt lake that is virtually impossible to find.       Antony’s next trip will be shorter than his previous journeys. He
   the opportunity to see and                I had to leave the last water supply carrying     would like to return to the mountains – to Patagonia, the Himalayas
   understand other cultures –               14 litres of liquid and food for a few days. Of   or Alaska. A trip to Laos, Vietnam, China and Tibet is also a realis-
   and thus to understand
                                             course the additional 14 kgs made the             able dream. s
   what is important in life.”
                                             pushing through sand more difficult”, re-
                                             calls Antony.                                     Additional information:
                        Antony’s average speed was only eight kilometres an hour for           www.thorntothehorn.org (links to the websites of ADI, a partner or-
                    three consecutive days. The hardship endured on that leg of the jour-      ganisation of Save the Children Sweden, and Por Los Chicos)
                    ney made it an unforgettable experience, but so too did the beautiful      www.suuntosports.com


                      TRAVELLER’S SECRET WEAPON                                                    “Altitude figures were very important for working out where
                      Antony found plenty of uses for his Suunto X6 wristop computer           I was. The maps were old military maps from 1970 and the tracks
                      in the Andes mountain range. “I use the Chrono Log every day I           I were using were not on the map. The compass was of course
                      cycle or hike because of the features offered on the SuuntoSports        useful in that environment where losing the track could be fatal;
                      web site.”                                                               one cyclist died in 2002 on that route and another one I met got
                          Antony has also noted that the X6’s rate-of-climb data is use-       lost for 5 days without food or water and survived by melting
                      ful when estimating the time spent of each ascent. “My climb rate        snow.”
                      ranges from 200m/hour to 450m/hour including rest stops. This                “Statistically it was nice to see the minimum night time tem-
                      depends on the road type and gradient but I start with 300m/hour         perature in my tent. -13C was my coldest night, camped below
                      as a guide. The lower 200m/hour would include pushing. I know            Parinacotta volcano in north Chile at about 4500m.”
                      I can hike uphill faster than cycling, 500m/hour is my starting rate         Antony regrets that his wristop computer did not have a
                      for walking.”                                                            heart-rate monitor. “I would have loved to have seen how my body
                          The altimeter and compass functions were very useful espe-           acclimatised to the altitude and the cycling. I did no training be-
                      cially in the border area between Bolivia and Chile, where Antony        fore the trip so the trip was my training; I think I would have seen
                      had to rely on 30-year-old military maps.                                a big change over the 5 months,” says Antony.




34 | N e x t
                                                                                                                             news
NEW EXERCISE CYCLES
FROM PRECOR
Precor has introduced two new exercise cycles, the C846 and
the C842, which offer a superb mix of versatility, durability and
comfort. Both of the new products are available in upright and
recumbent models. The recumbent models provide extremely
good back support and the seat height of the upright models
can be adjusted without having to dismount. In both models the
pedalling resistance is regulated magnetically, which increases
the service life of the product.
    The C846 has an abundance of features and is intended for
heavy commercial use in gyms and fitness clubs. The touch-
sensitive console provides access to 14 different courses,                                                             9 Serena Williams
including Intervals, Hill Climb, Cross Country, amongst others.
The console displays electronic read-outs such as heart rate,       WILLIAMS SISTERS
calorie consumption and energy expended in watts.                   TO CONTINUE WITH WILSON
                                                The lighter of
                                                  the two new       Serena and Venus Williams will continue to use Wilson racquets.
                                                products,    the    The successful partnership was extended when the sisters signed
                                                 C842, is inten-    multi-year contracts with Wilson in March. Serena and Venus use
                                                  ded for basic     the Hyper Hammer 4.0 and Hyper Hammer 6.2 racquets, but they
                                                   workouts in      have already been testing Wilson’s latest models. Serena and
                                                  any environ-      Venus are presently ranked No.1 and No. 2 in the world, respec-
                                                ment and offers     tively, with over 70 tournament victories to their credit.
                                                 six alternative
                                                  courses.
                                                                    NEW GENERATION OF HAMMERS
                                                                    HITS THE STREETS
                                                                    The introduction of Wilson’s Hammer
NEW ADDRESSES                                                       range in the 1990s ushered in a new
                                                                    era of tennis racquet design and
Amer Sports Germany and Amer Sports Europe have moved               manufacture. Now Wilson has launched
into new premises, but still within the Munich area. Amer           a new generation of Hammer models, which are recognisable by
Sports Switzerland is also moving. The new addresses are:           their Series H designation.
                                                                        A new structural feature of the series H racquets is Isogrid, a
Amer Sports Europe GmbH                                             Hyper Carbon grid built into the racquet frame. Isogrid stiffens
Amer Sports Deutschland GmbH                                        the frame, giving shots more power and greater accuracy.
Hainbuchenring 9                                                        Three new Series H racquets have already been brought to
82061 Neuried                                                       market. HTour is a tournament player’s racquet, which is already
Germany                                                             being used by top stars such as Lindsay Davenport, Todd Martin
                                                                    and Justin Henin. The H5 racquet is available in both midsize and
Amer Sports Switzerland AG                                          oversize versions. The H2 is unmistakably an oversize model.
Mugerenmatt 33
6330 Cham
Switzerland




                                                                                                                                           N e x t | 35

				
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