A MAGAZINE BY AMER SPORTS 3. 2006 TENNIS JARKKO NIEMINEN’S JOURNEY TO THE TOP AMER SPORTS THE MODEL: A SINGLE LOCAL SUBSIDIARY SPORTS TRADE BUDGET SPORT EXPANDS A MAGAZINE BY AMER SPORTS PART OF A GREAT TEAM Wilson rackets are used by the world’s top-class professionals, such as Roger Federer, who has four consecutive Wimbledon wins, and Justine Henin-Hardenne, who is cur- rently ranked third. Many young, promising players who are currently in the spotlight also belong to the Wilson team. At this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament, we saw that Jarkko Nieminen is al- ready one of the world’s top players. He was the second highest placed Wilson player and reached the final eight. In the pages of this magazine, we’ll get acquainted with the everyday life of a tennis professional, as well as Jarkko’s motivation and will to win – which not even the crazy traveling circus can dull. Athletes are Amer Sports’ partners in cooperation. As well as increasing our company’s reputation and sales, successful top-level athletes are also an essential part of our product development. Even the smallest details can be a decisive factor in a product’s performance. The newest of the new in our product offering is Suunto’s collection of heart rate monitors, which help exercisers, fitness enthusiasts and professional sportspeople to reach their fitness and performance goals. The Suunto Training product series contains four different heart rate monitors, plus sport-specific additional equipment. With the aid of the Suunto t1, t3 and t4 heart rate monitors, keeping fit has never been so easy! Amer Sports’ technically-advanced, performance-enhancing products are sold in tens of thousands of stores around the world. Our experts are on hand to serve all types of retailers from sport-specific specialized stores to large chains. The first Intersport Budget Sport store, whose concept is to provide discounted products, was opened in Fin- land in the spring. On pages 12–15, Franz Julen, CEO of the world’s largest sports equip- ment chain, will be telling us about the new step this store represents and Intersport’s sustainable business concepts. Maarit Mikkonen Communications Manager The magazine is published Alma Media Editorial Secretary Address Source quarterly in Finnish, Lehdentekijät Oy Outi Rinne Amer Sports’ Register English and German. P.O. Box 502, AD Mika Soikkeli of Shareholders FI-00101 Helsinki, and Customers, Editorial Staff FINLAND Cover photo Amer Sports Corporation, Editor-in-chief Tel. +358 10 665 102 AFP/Lehtikuva P.O. Box 130, Maarit Mikkonen FI-00601 Helsinki, Amer Sports Corporation, www.lehdentekijat.fi Composition and Repro FINLAND Communications Faktor Oy Department, P.O. Box 130, Producer Printed by Libris Oy Changes of FI-00601 Helsinki, Markku Rimpiläinen addresses FINLAND markku.rimpilainen@ ISSN 1459-5095 (print) amer.communications@ Tel. +358 9 725 7800 lehdentekijat.fi ISSN 1795-2247 (online) amersports.com 2 | Next Next 3.06: Contents 4 NEXT HOT. Salomon’s Sonic Shield and 22 RESULT. Introducing Tommy Ilmoni, Arc'teryx’s Scorpion jackets are designed Amer Sports’ new Vice President, for the demanding skier. Investor Relations. 6 PROFILE. Jarkko Nieminen tells us what 24 CYCLING. Mavic’s yellow support car is a tennis professional’s life is really like. already an institution at the Tour de France. 10 NEXT PRODUCT. Introducing Suunto’s 29 CLASSIC. Wilson has been the Official new t series fitness devices. Ball of the NFL since 1941. 11 NEXT GUIDE. Advance information 30 SOCCER. An increasing number of soccer on the Cycling World Championships matches in Latin America are being played and the Ryder Cup, which will be played with Wilson balls. at Kildare in Ireland. 33 US OPEN. Wilson organizes the 12 SPORTS TRADE. Intersport intends tournament’s most eagerly anticipated to open 60–70 Budget Sport stores, celebrations. says CEO Franz Julen. 34 NEWS. Salomon’s alpine skiing team 16 AMER SPORTS. Amer Sports’ and Salomon’s local subsidiaries are to be consolidated. is confirmed. 12 18 TECHNOLOGY. Modern sports footwear is strictly designed for a set purpose. IN WHICH DIRECTION IS INTERSPORT HEADING? INTERSPORT INTERNATIONAL’S CEO FRANZ JULEN ANSWERS. MAVIC'S YELLOW SUPPORT CAR TRAILED THE LEADING CYCLISTS TOMMY ILMONI IS AMER SPORTS’ AT THE TOUR DE FRANCE THIS NEW VICE PRESIDENT, INVESTOR SUMMER, TOO. RELATIONS. 4 24 18 22 Next | 3 nexthot FOR THE BACK SLOPES. Salomon’s new Sonic Shield jacket has been designed for off-piste skiing on the back slopes, where now and again the snow is bound to come down hard. The jacket is made from Advantex®, a four-way stretch soft shell material with excellent breathability that has also been treated for water resistance. The exterior material does not contain a separate membrane (which usually de- creases breathability). The zips are also waterproof. AWARD-WINNING HEART RATE MONITOR. In August, only a week after it was launched, Suunto’s new t3 heart rate monitor and GPS POD combination received an award at the ISPO Trade Fair in Munich. The ISPO jury praised the t3 for its broad range of functions and usability in particular. With the aid of the Suunto GPS POD, you can track speed and distance traveled when, for example, skating, crosscountry running or crosscountry skiing. CLASSIC LINE. In the latest version of the traditional SNS® Pilot® Classic system, the ski boot is connected to the binding on two axes, providing excellent control and a pow- erful kick. The elasticity of the binding can be steplessly adjusted. 4 | Next FOR COLD WEATHER. Salomon’s B52 shoes have been designed to keep feet warm in temperatures as low as minus 30 °C. The Contragrip sole remains flexible and provides a secure grip even at the lowest tempera- tures. The Thinsulate lining has an additional Gore-Tex® “Koala” membrane, which provides extra insulation and also makes the shoe waterproof. THE PERFECT TREADMILL. Precor’s new Experience Series of treadmills combine stylish design with an exceptionally durable and user-friendly structure. Cardio Theater entertainment attachments put the A JACKET FOR THE HEIGHTS. If you’re wearing this jack- finishing touches to the package. The Experience Se- et, you don’t need to stop skiing when the weather turns ries’ durable products have been designed for contin- bad. Arc’teryx’s new Scorpion jacket has been made for the uous and problem-free fitness facility use. Pictured is demanding skier in demanding conditions. The jacket is the Precor C954i Treadmill. made from the new Gore-Tex® Soft Shell High Loft material, which combines a plush fleece liner with a soft and flexible Soft Shell exterior. The Scorpion pants have been made from the same material. The jacket includes waterproof zips, a Recco® reflector and a Storm Hood. TOUR STANDARD. The Wilson Open tennis shoe shoots for the apex of design. Perfect breathability, support, fit and shock absorption have all been packaged in an extremely lightweight shoe. The Open is part of the Wilson Evolution line, which contains shoes designed to meet the specific needs of players of all standards. Next | 5 Jarkko Nieminen − Born in 1981 in Masku − 185 cm / 78 kg − Started playing tennis at four − Won the Junior US Open in 1999 − Became a professional in 2000 − Amazed the tennis world in October 2001 by making it to the final in the first ATP tournament of his career in Stockholm − Made it to the third round of the French Open the following season − Narrowly lost a semi-final place to Lleyton Hewitt in the US Open quarter finals in September 2005 − First ATP tournament win in January 2006 in Auck- land, New Zealand − Lost to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon quarter finals in summer 2006 − Has played on center court at all the Grand Slam tournaments and has beaten players such as Andre Agassi − Left-handed, has the best two-handed backhand on the circuit, plus an exceptional ability to control the game and change his own game to upset his opponent’s rhythm 6 | Next A working man’s journal Jarkko Nieminen has climbed in the team Wilson almost to the top of the tennis world. Before him lies a last and decisive attempt on the summit. ■ Text by Tommi Aitio ■ Photos by Lehtikuva T his we know about the life of tennis pro- “I’ve always wanted to improve my own game fessionals: the great victories and sting- rather than slogging it out in the same place for ing defeats in full-to-bursting stadiums, years. However, I would definitely have stuck it the trophies held up on high and hefty paychecks, out on the Satellite circuit for a year or two more. their faces smiling out from advertisements. I raise my hat to those players who are tenacious This is the side we don’t see: insanely enough to keep on trying in the Satellite tourna- early wake-up calls and dashes to the airport, ments for many years, even though their results the continuous packing and unpacking of suit- don’t improve,” ponders Jarkko Nieminen on his cases, tedious waits in airport security queues way to, yes, the airport. and lounges, 40 different and yet identical hotel rooms around the world each year. Five Wilson rackets And then you still have to play brilliantly, and an equipment bag day in, day out, to surpass your own and your A typical workweek in a tennis professional’s life is supporters’ expectations, and train to remain in just beginning. Jarkko Nieminen has woken early, tiptop shape for almost fifty weeks a year. been to a sponsor’s product launch and demon- All this Jarkko Nieminen has wanted since he strated a little tennis, and then rushed back to his was a little boy, and all this he has, by the age of home in Helsinki to pack his tennis gear. 24, achieved. He has made his dream come true - He’s managed to be at home for almost two the same dream that he’s shared with thousands hours. That’s quite a while, as he often doesn’t and thousands of other promising tennis players even make it back to Finland between competi- who have never reached the goal. tions, but shuttles between one tournament city Although the crazy traveling circus is ex- and the next. hausting, and the specter of those deadly hotel The globetrotter knows that packing a lot rooms lurks around the corner every night of of gear just means trouble. Jarkko Nieminen the tour, Jarkko Nieminen is a happy man. He swears by traveling light: a racket bag, equip- knows that he represents the tip of the iceberg ment bag and laptop case suffice, even when he’s among the group of players trying to make it to leaving for a tour of the USA lasting weeks. the pinnacle of professional tennis. The majority “I usually take five rackets with me. They’re of them will have to slog it out for years in small identical, but with time you get to recognize which tournaments, earning peanuts, and entertain- one’s which. At the moment, all my rackets are ing an ever-further fleeting dream of meeting new, and I haven’t given them any distinguishing Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter finals of the US marks,” replies Jarkko Nieminen to a question Open in an evening-lit Arthur Ashe stadium. about superstition and always starting a game Or seeing Tim Henman on the other side of the with the same racket. According to an urban ten- net on Wimbledon’s imposing Center Court. Or nis legend, Pete Sampras carried over 30 rackets crushing Andre Agassi at Roland Garros in front with him, but always started a match with one of thousands of astonished spectators. and the same racket. q Next | 7 When he faced Sampras This is a dream that can only be realized win a match, I’m satisfied that I was able to win Nieminen still has a way to go to match “Pistol once every four years. Nieminen represented even though I wasn’t playing my best tennis.” Pete’s” achievements. And he doesn’t even rate Finland at the Athens Games two years ago, but Sampras as the best player of all time – he would dropped out in the second round. He was recov- With both hands plump for Switzerland’s Roger Federer. ering from an illness and not on top form, but The last call and time to get on the plane. Again. “I can’t say whether Federer is the best play- didn’t want to miss the Olympics – one of his But a working man doesn’t complain, he just er of all time, but he does have the characteris- childhood dreams. spoons up the last of the yogurt and heaves the tics of the most perfect tennis player ever.” “For me, representing your country in the red racket bag onto his back. According to Nieminen, the “Federer Ex- Olympics has always been a mark of the best A professional never leaves the tools of his press” has no weaknesses, only strengths. De- that an athlete can achieve.” trade to be chucked about by airport staff and roll spite his 14 Grand Slam victories, Sampras had One of Nieminen’s dreams came true in Jan- around in the hold. his weak spots. He never won the French Open uary this year when he took his first ATP tourna- “Once in the United States, I had to prove and was never otherwise particularly brilliant ment victory in Auckland, New Zealand. It was a I was a tennis professional in order to take my on clay. In Nieminen’s opinion, being a master great achievement, but an even greater one may rackets with me into the cabin. At the time, I on all surfaces is what makes Federer such a have been climbing back to the top in spring 2004 thought that if I really wanted to highjack this perfect player. after his injury in Monte Carlo. Nieminen’s then plane, then maybe I would have taken with me Even so, Jarkko Nieminen’s role model when promising ascent in the ranking list dipped into slightly more dangerous weapons than tennis he was younger was Pete Sampras. A large post- an out-of-control free fall that sent him plum- rackets.” er of Sampras in the Australian Open hung on the meting to No. 142. Many believed that that was Jarkko Nieminen is wrong there. In his wall of his room at his home in Masku. it. Jarkko knew that his best games were still hands, a tennis racket is a weapon of mass “I had only just taken the poster off my wall unplayed and his dreams unrealized. destruction – just ask Andre Agassi. When Nie- when I faced Sampras in Australia in 2002. I’d “My most important goal is to play better. minen gets to hit his two-handed backhand never been so nervous as I was waiting to step I’ll keep playing as long as I feel that I can still shots with full force down the line, you start to into the stadium. We lined up in the corridor improve my game. This is a results-based sport, reckon he probably has to have a permit to carry leading from the changing room to the stadium. where only a win matters. If I play badly but still that lethal weapon. ■ Then I heard the tournament announcer intro- duce the players and the doors to the stadium opened. Bright light shone in from the doorway and the noise from the crowd was insane. I was quite paralyzed with nerves. “We’d been playing for under five minutes and I was already down 0-3. I lost the first three games in a row. In the fourth, I broke Sam- pras’ serve and suddenly all the nerves disap- peared.” The 2002 Australian Open was only Jarkko Nieminen’s third ATP level tournament. He met his idol later again that season, this time at the Miami Masters in the USA; but by then, playing against Sampras no longer felt special. “He was just one more opponent among many.” Jarkko Nieminen had become a profession- al, a working man in top-level tennis. Dreaming of Olympic gold Jarkko Nieminen orders two rye bread sand- wiches, two yogurts and three fruit juices from the airport café. There’s still fifteen minutes un- til it’s time to go. Enough time to run through the current season and any unfilled dreams. “To win a Grand Slam tournament and the Olympics in the same year,” says Jarkko Nie- minen on his current goals. Jarkko Nieminen’s autograph was in demand at Wimbledon. 8 | Next MARIN CILIC, CROATIA born August 28, 1988 195 cm / 78 kg A good grip on the Futures circuit and a fabulous semi- final place in the Gstaad ATP tournament have raised the young Croatian player, who Julian Finney/Getty Images/All Over Press Jamie McDonald/Getty Images/All Over Press was born in Mostar, Bos- nia-Herzegovina, into the ranks of the top 200 best players on the profes- sional circuit. Bob Brett, These who once guided Boris Becker to the top of the players are world, is coaching Cilic, one of the tennis world’s most promising players. NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SERBIA also worth A climb onto the TOP100 list is still feasible this season, born May 22, 1987 188 cm / 74 kg Djokovic, from Belgrade, following as the tall Croatian has all the physical characteristics of a top-level player. started tennis at four and turned professional at 16. He was the youngest TOP100 player in the 2005 season and this season joined the JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO, ranks of the 30 best players ARGENTINA with a win in Amersfoort and born September 23, 1988 a place in the final in Umag. 196 cm / 78 kg TATIANA GOLOVIN, FRANCE He reached the quarter fi- South America’s next great born January 25, 1988 nals at Roland Garros. This tennis star was the fastest 175 cm / 60 kg extremely athletic all-round climber of the 2005 season. This Moscow-born player player is at home on all sur- During the year, he rose no moved to France with her faces, but names hard courts fewer than 900 places on parents as a child, and from as his favorites. Djokovic’s the ranking list and ended there to Florida in the USA, weapon is his physique and up the season’s youngest where she trained for six a two-handed backhand that TOP200 player. Like Mariano years in Nick Bollettier’s slams right down the line. Zabaleta, the young Argen- legendary tennis academy. He has long been the num- tinean from Tandil is rare She made her Grand Slam ber one player for his coun- among South American debut in 2003 at the French try in the Davis Cup. players, as he feels more at Open with a first-round home on hard courts rather loss in the singles. The fol- than clay. No wonder, as lowing year, she won the “Palito’s” childhood idol mixed doubles at Roland was Pete Sampras. Dur- Garros with country- ing the current season, Del man Richard Gasquet. Potro’s catch has included Golovin has reached two Challenger level tour- two singles finals, nament wins, plus the first but not yet managed ATP level semi-final place a tournament win. of his career in Umag. He Her ranking in the is speeding towards a TOP30 now seems ranking in the top established. 100. Ian Walton/Getty Images/All Over Press Jacques Munch/AFP/Lehtikuva Next | 9 nextproduct The Suunto ■ Text by Ilkka Järvimäki t1 tells you ■ Photos by Suunto how much energy you’ve consumed during your training session. Suunto t1, t3 and t4 Keeping fit has never been easier The Suunto t6 has quite quickly secured its position among sportspeople and goal-oriented exercisers. It has offered its users the chance to analyze the effect of their training on their fitness, and also to plan training. The new heart rate monitors in Suunto’s t series – the Suunto t1, t3 and t4 – have taken advantage of their big brother’s tested and proven features to make analysis of training effect even easier. They show the loading of every training ses- sion using the Training Effect scale of one to five. Training Effect indicates how powerfully training is improving maximum en- durance fitness. Depending on the model the heart rate monitors in Suunto’s t series determine this value on the basis of heart rate, fluctuation of the intervals between heart beats, and breathing frequency. The higher the loading of a training session, the higher the number that appears on the screen. The Suunto t1 displays real-time information about heart rates and energy consumed. The Suunto t3 also saves data from every training session, monitors fitness development and shows the training effect on a scale of one to five. The Suunto t4’s Suunto Coach even advises its users on how to plan their training. It makes suggestions for an optimal program for the next five days and adjusts its advice on the basis of the training carried out. A broad range of additional equipment is available for the Suunto t3 and t4. The Suunto Foot POD – which is attached to the shoe – measures a runner’s speed and distance, the Suunto PC POD wirelessly transfers training data to a computer, Suunto’s new t series wristops and the Suunto Training Manager software analyzes training on the computer. are small and flat. Pictured are The Suunto GPS POD measures both distance and speed for all outdoor sports the Suunto t3 (left) and Suunto t4. and activities. The Suunto t series’ heart rate monitors and additional equipment come in a variety of handy packs for different uses: the Home Training Pack, Running Pack, Marathon Pack, Duathlon Pack, Cycling Pack and Multisport Pack. By choosing the comprehensive pack designed for their sport, athletes and exercisers get all the measuring devices they need in one go – from heart rate monitors to Suunto PODs and attachment solutions. ■ 10 | Next nextguide Books very beginning, “The Her- minator’s” career has been full of challenges, top per- HERMANN MAIER, KNUT formances and failures. In David Cannon/Getty Images OKRESEK, LANCE ARM- 2001, a motorcycle accident STRONG: HERMANN MAIER: threatened to end his career THE RACE OF MY LIFE in one go, but this colorful character got back on his The multiple Olympic winner skis and began competing and World Champion, who again, ever more hungry for lives in Flachau, Austria, victory. Maier’s auto- first took to the piste when biography, “The Race he was just three years old of My Life”, recounts the and was competing for the ups and downs of the alpine first time at five. From the skier’s life and career. Online Paul Zimmer q Padraig’s advice. On the website of Padraig Harrington you can read tips that even club players will find interesting. For example, Harrington reveals This year, the Ryder Cup will be why he has developed his own original putting style. played at the picturesque Kildare www.padraigharrington.com golf course in Ireland. q 50–50–50. American ultra runner Dean Karnaze will attempt to run 50 marathons in the 50 states of the USA in 50 days. The adventure What’s on? begins on September 17 and ends at the New York City Marathon on November 5. www.endurance50.com SEPTEMBER OCTOBER q Fighting for clean sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency SEPTEMBER 19–24 OCTOBER 15 (WADA) has been battling ROAD WORLD AMSTERDAM MARATHON against doping since 1999. CHAMPIONSHIPS The world’s fourth fastest The organization, which is The Road World Champion- marathon route. Brazil’s funded by sports organiza- ships in Salzburg, Austria, Vanderlei Lima, who came tions and governments of end the 2006 cycling season. away with Olympic bronze the world, seeks to make Supremacy will be gauged after dramatic vicissitudes top-level sport cleaner and with individual time trials in Athens, will be taking the more credible. and a general start road race measure of Tanzania’s Fa- www.wada-ama.org in the men’s, women’s, and biano Joseph, the half mara- junior men’s and women’s thon World Champion, at the q Safety in the snow. Skiing under-23 age categories. Amsterdam Marathon. outside marked pistes can often be risky. Steep slopes, SEPTEMBER 22–24 OCTOBER 28–29 large masses of snow and RYDER CUP CROSSCOUNTRY a suitable trigger can cause Europe meets the United SKIING WORLD CUP serious avalanches. Being States. Golf’s traditional Winter draws near. The knowledgeable about snow Ryder Cup will be played at Crosscountry Skiing World and its dangers is the best Not even a rejuvenated Andy Roddick the K Club in Kildare, Ireland Cup begins as early as Octo- way to prevent accidents in could keep Roger Federer from on the last weekend in ber in fairly urban surround- wintery conditions. retaining his U.S. Open crown. He September. Europe’s best ings. Sprint skiers will be www.recco.com/pdf/ won his third straight U.S Open title in golfers will be defending competing on artificial snow whitebook.pdf convincing fashion, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. their win in 2004. in the center of Düsseldorf. Next | 11 Expert authority and service remain Intersport’s core competence Intersport International’s CEO Franz Julen believes that the demand for expert advice and skilled service in the sports retail business will continue. In addition, the Intersport Group is planning to open 60–70 of its new Budget Sport discount stores. ■ Text by Tapio Nurminen ■ Photos by Kreetta Kuokkanen, Werner Bachmeier T he headquarters of Intersport Germa- Although the headquarters of the world’s pert service. In the grocery trade, German bar- ny in Heilbronn are like a state within largest sports retail chain are in Bern, Switzer- gain basements are shaking up markets around a state. It is from this massive building land, its national licensees, such as Intersport the world and revolutionizing the structure of complex that operations for Intersport Interna- Germany and the affiliated retailers working with the trade. tional Corporation’s (IIC) largest single market them, form the core of Intersport. “Polarization will gather momentum in the are directed. In the seemingly never-ending In Germany, if anywhere, it’s natural to speak coming years in the sports retail business as warehouse, you finally realize what Intersport of the polarization of the retail trade. Opposing well. Those who attempt to be a little bit of both Germany’s EUR 2.2 billion in annual retail sales each other are the discount stores competing – specialist stores offering expert service and mean in practice. with prices and the specialist stores offering ex- bargain basements that compete solely with 12 | Next The dominant color in Budget Sport stores is bright orange. Pictured are Suunto products in the first Budget Sport store, which opened in Vantaa, Finland in May. prices – will not survive,” says IIC CEO Franz Julen, whose German has an endearing Swiss accent. Discount store a new step The first Budget Sport store operating under a “hard discount” concept was opened in Finland in the spring. The core competence of this con- cept is about providing discounted products. The Budget Sport concept sees Intersport entering into brand new territory. Although every highly successful Intersport retailer also has aggres- sively priced campaign products, advice and service are and will remain the core expertise of each and every traditional Intersport store. The Budget Sport outlets and the traditional 48-year-old Swiss Franz Julen has headed up IIC since 2000. Intersport stores will not cannibalize each other. Today’s customers are extremely flexible. “The same person can visit Budget Sport last eight years, Intersport has set to buy themselves affordable running socks, up operations in 14 countries. 44 new “We will never become but will go to Intersport to buy the best possible trainers for their style of running,” says Julen. stores have been opened in the Bal- kan countries, Croatia, Slovenia and a centralized organization.” “We intend to open a total of 60–70 Budget Serbia alone. Sport stores in 6–7 countries. Their sales surface “In practice, we have progressed will measure about 1,500 square meters.” in our expansion at a rate of two countries per Tough competition in textiles That said, he emphasizes: “Regardless of the year,” adds Julen. According to Julen, one can identify consistent expansion of Budget Sport, Intersport remains “Maybe the rate has even been a little too product groups in the sports equipment trade in the top priority for the Group. We seek to bear fast. One country a year would be ideal. Then which trends and customer behavior run quite our responsibility for both customer groups, but you’re able to both coordinate things better with parallel, regardless of the country in question. under no circumstances do we want to dilute the the new licensees and support them more ef- “The markets for equipment, that is hard- Intersport concept.” ficiently. In spite of this, we have been extremely ware, are very international and congruent, al- successful,” says IIC’s CEO, casting a self-critical though in certain countries certain sports do, of Global in 2015 eye on the situation. course, dominate. The ice hockey department is The 48-year-old Swiss has worked for IIC since With the exception of the Baltic countries and noticeably larger in Finland, while in Germany 1998, and has headed up the company since Portugal, Intersport has spread across the whole soccer is number one,” says Julen, giving a cou- 2000. Before joining IIC, he had a long career in of Europe. Canada is already in the bag, but the ple of examples. sport: coaching his brother Max, who won Olym- USA is still being kept at arm’s length. On the other hand, when it comes to textiles pic gold in the Giant Slalom in 1984, and working In recent years, there has been a lot of dis- and certain footwear categories, a division can as a sports reporter, in sports marketing and as cussion within IIC on whether Intersport should be made between a ‘Latin’ and a more ‘northern’ the managing director of Völkl International. remain a mainly European chain or go global. attitude. In Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Under Julen, the Intersport Group has “Our target is to be global in 2015 and have the Nordic countries the functionality of products steadily increased its retail sales and now has sales on five continents,” confirms Julen. is paramount, whilst in Mediterranean countries 4,800 affiliated stores in 32 countries. Last year, “We will initially focus on the Asia and Pacific more value is placed on look and style. retail sales reached EUR 7.73 billion, which was region. We have a very good chance of success According to Julen, Intersport’s strength 5.4 percent more than in 2004. One avenue for there, while the USA is a tougher cookie,” he will continue to be in more performance driven growth has been expansion abroad. During the adds. sports, where customers really benefit q Next | 13 from advice. These include winter sports, soccer, day in and day out, fight for customers and their is determined by each country’s licensee, and the running, tennis, fitness and outdoor. own profits. They apply this entrepreneurial final third is left to the retailers, who know their “But at the same time, we should also be drive to their business. In the future, however, own local markets. strong in textiles – sports textiles in particular individual retailers will have a more consistent Elements that are common and required for – and for this we’ve still got some homework to business model within our Group.” all retailers include displaying the Intersport do. Competition in the textile trade is intense, Although the individual Intersport retailer name above the store entrance and store interi- and it’s also in constant flux and changes hap- remains key, the Group’s business during Julen’s ors, which are dominated by the color blue and pen quickly. We must be able to react to these time has become more vertical. The chain has an expert authority approach. The rest can be changes faster than we do at present. When it taken on more and more of the characteristics decided on by the country’s local licensees. comes to textiles, no-one has the same market seen in franchising. “Regardless of whether a store is located in share as, for example, Atomic has in skiing,” “In spite of this, we will never become a cen- Vienna or Helsinki, the customer must feel that says Franz Julen. tralized organization like, for instance, McDon- he is inside an Intersport outlet, even if the stores ald’s. Being close to markets and customers is don’t all look exactly the same,” Julen explains. Sustainable concepts everything to us.” IIC’s CEO also has a clear concept of the sig- The organization of the Intersport Group might This decentralized strategy is especially ap- nificance of partnerships with goods suppliers. not be ideally streamlined for making quick stra- parent in decisions on the product range and in “We’re probably not the easiest customer in tegic decisions. That Julen also admits. But in the shop formula. the world, but on the other hand, our operations spite of this, he stands firmly behind the current The aim is that a third of an Intersport store’s are not swayed by financial quarters and stock organization structure. range comes from IIC. Of course, the key national exchange prices. This means that we can take a “The unquestionable cornerstone of our licensees play an important role when it comes sustainable and long-term approach to our busi- Group comprises the individual retailers who, to these decisions. Another third of the selection ness. We can leverage our purchasing clout. We drive a hard bargain, but we have a lot to offer to innovative brands – a long-term approach, close proximity to customers and the opportunity to skilfully sell technical and premium products.” Franz Julen smiles and admits that a Swiss makes an excellent manager for this sort of ‘over- ly democratic’ organization at whose core lies the profit produced by individual retailers. “In Switzerland, we have three different cul- tures and three languages. At Intersport, you need to be able to listen to different cultures. At the headquarters in Bern, where 14 different nationalities are represented, you cannot make decisions on behalf of the licensees and their retailers. We have to try a lot harder to convince the licensees of our decisions and win them over to our side. Decisions made in this way also hold better and last longer,” Julen explains. “Maybe that’s why IIC has always been led by a Swiss,” he adds. ■ Franz Julen in the showroom at Intersport Germany in Heilbronn. 14 | Next Discount prices are prominently on display at Budget Sport. Next | 15 Increasing the efficiency and improving the service capabilities of sales companies Amer Sports’ and Salomon’s background office will be transferred applies to all of our sports – expert to expert approach. For our customers, the new structure to joint local subsidiaries, but their sales teams will be kept separate. represents the next level in service. Retailers This overhaul seeks to improve service capabilities. can get a wider range of products through Amer Sports’ sales and distribution channel. The ran- ■ Text by Markku Rimpiläinen ge comprises sports equipment and apparel for ■ Photos by Taavetti Alin/KL, Magnus Weckström our key sports. What’s more, it also includes U ntil now, both Amer Sports and Salomon Setting sights on efficiency product offerings for all seasons.” have had their own sales companies in and service capabilities In winter sports, Salomon’s and Atomic’s all the major markets for sports equip- The new single local company model features a strong sales organizations will remain sepa- ment. Soon the structures will be realigned. The simpler structure that is geared towards achie- rate. companies will transition to a single local subsi- ving higher operational efficiency – and the sa- “An Atomic sales representative won’t sell diary model in most countries. vings and synergies that will follow. Another, Salomon skis, or vice versa. We will tighten our “We will transition to a country-based orga- equally important objective is to improve sales focus and strengthen the position of our interna- nization, with one legal entity in most countries,” efforts and service capabilities. tional brands,” Kauniskangas promises. says Kari Kauniskangas, Senior Vice President, “After restructuring, we will be able to of- “We’ll support the sales of both brands 110 Sales and Distribution, Amer Sports. fer our retail customers an improved operating percent. Both Atomic and Salomon have full ski, Each of these countries will be headed up model whose cornerstones are excellent service boot and binding collections. The brands are po- by the country manager. Back office functions and expertise. We absolutely seek to be spe- sitioned differently in terms of their image, but will be consolidated as far as possible. However, cialists in each and every one of our business they both have racing and free ride skis. Their the sales organizations handling each brand or areas. If we sell skis or tennis rackets, we must collections are extensive and need to be sold by business area will be kept separate. have the credibility to back us up. The same specialists who really know their business.” 16 | Next Three geographical segments ricas, which includes Latin America. Asia Pacific The implementation of the new sales compa- is headed up by Matt Gold, EMEA by Francois ny model is already under way. Personnel have Fauroux. moved to shared premises in many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Canada, Australia Aiming at the top and South Korea. For historical reasons, Amer Sports and Salo- Amer Sports Winter & Outdoors Americas mon have previously operated in different ways. has been established in the United States. The “We sought higher efficiency by using a sin- sales functions of Salomon, Atomic and Suunto gle organization for numerous brands within in the USA will be integrated into this unit. Ho- a country. Salomon grouped its sales compa- wever, Wilson’s and Precor’s sales organizations nies under the umbrella of larger territories. will continue to operate as separate units in the Now that we have entered a new situation, it’s United States. management’s task to find the optimal operating “This is because the US is the home market models for the new structure. That’s why these of both Precor and Wilson. In addition, they are changes are being implemented.” both very large,” says Kauniskangas. The ongoing changes seek to improve Amer Mike Dowse has been appointed as Gene- Sports’ profitability and efficiency. Operating ral Manager of Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor methods will be harmonized. Americas. Kauniskangas says that when economies of Individual sales companies have been grou- “We absolutely seek to be specialists in each scale start to kick in, Amer Sports will be able to ped to three large geographical segments: Amer and every one of our business areas,” says Kari step up its market share both locally and globally. Sports Asia Pacific, Amer Sports EMEA (Europe, Kauniskangas, Senior Vice President, Sales and “We want to be one of the world’s largest Middle East and Africa) and Amer Sports Ame- Distribution, Amer Sports. suppliers in this business.” ■ Next | 17 User requirements drive sports shoe product development It’s claimed that sports footwear is the world’s second most researched and developed item of sports equipment – only Formula 1 racing cars beat them when it comes to R&D. ■ Text by Ilkka Järvimäki ■ Photos by Wilson, Salomon T he situation is quite absurd: only a few dozen drivers in the densities are required to provide the best cushioning. Similar ex- world get to take advantage of the research invested in those amples are to be found from one sport to another. F1 rockets, while the advanced technology of sports shoes is enjoyed by billions of people around the globe. Functionality at the fore And sports footwear has indeed advanced. You don’t need to go The demands placed on sports footwear are high: they must fit many back more than a few decades to find one and the same shoe being structures of foot and type of biomechanics, need to be optimally used for all purposes: running, playing games, walking, cycling suited to the conditions and purpose they are intended for, and often and numerous other fitness activities. The current situation is al- also need to be very stylish. together different: many athletes and sportspeople and exercisers When it comes to footwear development, the perspective has have dozens of pairs of shoes, each for a different sport. long been podiatric. Experts have studied the feet of athletes and The effort that sports equipment manufacturers are putting into exercisers, how they work and how they get injured. On that basis, footwear design, manufacturing and sales has never before reached they have constructed shoes to fit different types of feet, and sup- the level it is at today. One reason for this is that the number of port, guide and improve the motion of the foot as well as possible. people participating in sports and exercise has increased in recent A newer approach to footwear design can be called functional: years to a huge and financially very significant proportion. a sports shoe should function correctly for both its user and the Another factor that has influenced development is the broad- specific activity it was designed for. ened range of ways in which people exercise and the division of sports into many different subcultures – all requiring their own spe- Wilson Evolution shoes cater to a player’s level cial equipment. In tennis, for example, various seasonal surfaces Wilson Evolution shoes are the first ever tennis footwear whose including clay, grass and hardcourts all require their own kinds of design has been driven by the user’s playing level and the require- shoes. It is no longer realistic to think the ordinary person running ments that entails. Wilson’s product developers spent innumerable or training to keep fit could get by in all conditions with a single pair hours at tennis courts researching the movements, shots and body of shoes. Their cupboards yield at least separate running shoes for mechanics of players of differing levels in various game situations. basic training, faster races, crosscountry and winter training. And The differences were both perceptible and significant. On the basis then there’s the question of the runner’s weight – different midsole of what they saw and experienced, the makers of the Evolution 18 | Next 1 1. 360-degree ventilation in both the shoe’s sole and upper provides comfort. The Wilson Evolution Open has been designed to meet the exacting demands of the world’s top players. The Evolution series’ best tennis shoe absorbs shocks along the entire length of the sole, and its 2 round shapes increase agility. All material choices have been made with the focus on creating a well-fitting, lightweight and breathable shoe. 2. Lightweight materials and 3. The EVA and rubber mix in structures make the shoes the midsole and outsole is an fast and agile. efficient shock absorber and guarantees good grip on a variety of surfaces. EVA is the plastic series divided tennis players into three categories: beginners, mid- polymer ethylene-vinyl acetate. level players and advanced players. In foam form, it’s used in sports 3 Each of these three groups has a distinct playing style and shoes as a shock absorber. movements. For example, beginners mostly stand on their heels when hitting the ball, so that the greatest pressure is centered on the rear of the shoe. Midlevel players on the other hand stand with their weight spread more evenly over the entire sole of the foot, and need support and cushioning in this area. Advanced players make efficient use of the whole foot, so all features need to be optimized throughout the entire shoe. Shoes suitable for the needs of players of varying standards were designed by adjusting six variables: shock absorption, support, weight, breathability, protection for the toes and the shape of the outsole. The flagship products of the Evolution collection - the men’s should ideally offer more support, and therefore the sole of their Wilson Open and the women’s Wilson Tour - offer greater shock shoe is more angular and stable. absorption and more support structures than the Wilson Backdraw for beginners. Top-level shoes are also lighter and more breathable Salomon’s trail running shoes than those designed for less demanding use. have been designed for tough conditions A good example of the small details that affect a shoe’s char- Although Salomon’s latest running shoes work well on all sorts of acteristics and how to take note of them is the shape of Evolution surfaces, they are still mainly used for off road running, in which shoes’ outsole, or the radius of the edge of the sole. How round the uneven and slippery terrain place huge demands on footwear and shoe’s edge is directly affects how easy it is for a player to move and the technical solutions employed. Shoes for use in demanding change direction quickly. This type of agility is vital for competitive conditions need to offer a lot of stability on uneven terrains and an players, which is why the top models in the Wilson Evolution collec- optimized shock-absorption, and must also protect the feet from tion have a very round edge. The shoes of midlevel players, however, such things as stones, branches and sometimes also damp. q Next | 19 greatest amount of cushioning is to be found in Salomon’s Trail shoes, which work best on relatively easy surfaces that don’t place as many demands on the shoes’ support as rough rock. The protective structures in Salomon’s shoes are the toe guard, the midsole’s support layer, which prevents painful jabs through the sole, and the surface material, which stands up to tough use. The amount of protection, its location and strength depends on what each model of shoe is to be used for. The toe guard of the XA Salomon’s Quickfit lacing combined with the Sensifit structure Pro shoes, for example, is far more supportive than that in the Trail lets you adjust the fit of your shoes with just one tug of the laces. shoes. Four different Running Contagrip outsoles, mixing different compounds and lug geometry ensure that shoes grip well on the The elements used in Salomon’s footwear support and guide the surfaces on which they are most used. foot. They consist of the midsole’s 3D Advanced Chassis structure, One of Salomon’s most visible technical solutions is Quickfit the more compact EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) rubber mix that Lacing, whose kevlar/aramid lace tightens around the asymmetri- corrects for over-pronation, and the OSP (overlap stabilizing pow- cally placed fastenings. Quick and supportive lacing is combined erband), which is anchored to the midsole in the shoe’s midsection with an external Sensifit structure to bind the foot to the shoe ex- and circles behind the heel, making the heel cup extremely stable. tremely quickly, comfortably and precisely. The ends of laces can be The 3D structure seeks to bring the foot close to the ground and conveniently hidden in a small pocket in the tongue of the shoe, so support the motion of the foot. Because of this, the structure is as not to get tangled in branches or twigs along the path. mainly featured in shoes used on very uneven ground. This is how product development has taken into account even Salomon has developed its own SCS structure (Salomon cush- the smallest details of how and where a shoe will be used. The XA ioning system) for shock absorption. Its viscoelastic material effi- Pro 3D represents more than 3,500 hours of running tests with top ciently absorbs any shock directed at the foot. The most cushioning athletes all around the world. is located in the heel of the shoe, because that’s where most of the Some of Salomon’s footwear has models designed especially force is directed when running. The SCS element that is located in for women. These have softer midsoles and support structures than the forefoot area works like a spring and improves the efficiency of the men’s versions. They are also tapered to give a narrower fit. The the push from the toes and the roll of the foot when running. The color scheme is also more appealing to women. ■ The 3D structure in Salomon’s XA Pro footwear controls the bend of the foot, protects it from sharp stones, and provides support over demanding terrain. Salomon XA Pro 3D 20 | Next Exercise is pleasant and motivating when you have comfortable shoes that are suited to your sport. Next | 21 result A short step for an analyst Tommy Ilmoni started out as Amer Sports’ Vice President, Investor Relations at the beginning of August. He was no stranger to the company – he has analyzed Amer Sports for a long time. ■ Text by Pekka Rinne ■ Photo by Rami Lappalainen T ommy Ilmoni has worked in the investment business for As an outsider, an analyst can never gain access to a company’s ten years – the whole of his working life. In fact, in terms of inner circle. Business secrets are not revealed to him, not even “off the number of years he has clocked in on the job, he is one the record”. Now Ilmoni is at the source of the information. of Finland’s most experienced stock analysts. Ilmoni joined Amer “I can now see where the numbers are really coming from.” Sports from SEB Enskilda, where he served as Head of Equity When analyzing a company, Ilmoni pays the most attention to Research. its strategy and long-term success factors. Ilmoni had not become bored of his job. But occasionally he “I first critically review the basic long-term factors: how profit- found himself thinking that if he wanted to leave the world of bank- able the company is, its growth opportunities, competitive factors, ing, there would be a couple of listed companies he might like to join. the competence of the management, and its track record, by which One of them was Amer Sports – so when the company offered him I mean what it has achieved and failed at. In addition, I compare the an attractive position, the decision was quite easy to make. company to other players in its business. When you’re working as In other words, deciding to join the team was no great leap for a stock analyst, once you’ve locked the long-term view into clear him. One thing changed completely, though. Ilmoni no longer gives focus, you then have to consider the short-term news flow as well. buy and sell recommendations concerning Amer Sports. It’s not worth recommending buying shares in a company that’s do- ing poorly in the short term, even if it’s a good company.” Correct and consistent Heading up investor relations includes communicating with ana- Greater difficulties in providing first-half guidance lysts and investors. Analysts and investors do not like it when profit and loss forecasts ”Analysts must get a correct and consistent view of Amer Sports. err in any direction. To this end, they have to have the right tools to work with – ones that “The view held by analysts is that Amer Sports is very conserva- are grounded in reality. Amer Sports’ investor communications have tive in its guidance and has also kept to it,” says Ilmoni. “Guidance” been handled well. I believe that my background will enable us to is the company’s view of its short-term earnings trend that it com- hone our IR further.” municates to investors. Ilmoni is also responsible for Amer Sports’ Business Intel- The seasonal variations in Amer Sports’ operations became ligence unit, which analyzes the markets and competitors. That’s more pronounced following the addition of Salomon’s winter sports where his background is a big help. equipment to the mix. “When the profits are made in the latter part of the year, it becomes harder to provide stock guidance in the first Key Figures half of the year.” Amer Sports’ first-half result slightly exceeded market PRO FORMA PRO FORMA expectations. “After the good first half, we dared to slightly raise 1–6/2006 1–6/2005 CHANGE % 2005 our minimum EPS estimate. The range is now EUR 0.95–1.05, up NET SALES (MEUR) 739.2 689.9 7 1,732.0 from EUR 0.90–1.05.” ■ EBIT (MEUR) –7.4 –14.2 48 117.1 % OF NET SALES –1 –2 7 EBT (MEUR) –18.7 –24.7 24 93.1 EPS (EUR) –0.19 –0.23 0.87 Tommy Ilmoni is into many sports. He plays tennis and enjoys both crosscountry and alpine skiing, jogging, cycling, and working out at The January–June interim report can be found in its entirety at www.amersports.com. the gym. One of his favorite hobbies is chess. 22 | Next Next | 23 Everyone Loves Mavic Mavic’s yellow support car is the unofficial mascot of the Tour de France. ■ Text by Teppo Kuittinen ■ Photos by Agence Zoom 24 | Next Mavic • Manufacturer of complete wheels for track, triathlon, road and mountain bikes • Product range also includes rims, rear cogs, brakes and chains • A partner to many road racing clubs, teams and athletes in every cycling discipline • Established in 1889 in Lyon – France • Developed the first aluminum cycle rim in 1934 • Innovations include: – the ZMS (1993) – the Mektronic (1999), the world’s first electronic rear derailleur – the Crossmax mountain bike wheel (1999) – the lightweight, red Helium road racer wheel (1996) – the popular Ksyrium ready-made wheel (1999) • Part of the Salomon Group since 1994 “M avic! Mavic!” cheer the French children lining Le Tour’s route. The children don’t recognize the cyclists who’ve just made a breakaway, but they do know Mavic. Mavic’s yellow support cars have been following Le Tour’s competitors for 29 years. Mavic is Le Tour’s official partner in cooperation, but has also became Le Tour’s unofficial mascot. The company is as much a part of Le Tour as Le Tour is of the French summer. Mavic is also known to friends of Le Tour the world over. The car pops up on television screens every day during the race. “We get detailed information on our television visibility from media agencies. The value of this visibility pays back our investment to take part in Le Tour,” says Mavic’s Yves Hézard, who has handled negotiations with Le Tour. Jacques Corteggiani always drives the support car right behind the leading group. He is a former competitive cyclist and heads up Mavic’s support services during Le Tour. He’s driven the support car on all stages of Le Tour for 20 years. “This doesn’t feel like work, this is a holiday for me. And definitely the high point of the year,” says Corteggiani. Next magazine got a lift with Corteggiani for this year’s second stage from Obernai to Esch-sur-Alzette. At the start, in the heart of Obernai’s old town center, you can already see that everyone knows Corteggiani. As he walks past the racers warming up, cyclist upon cyclist cheerily greets the familiar Mavic man. Precision driving Driving the support car requires solid driving skills. In addition to Mavic, teams’ own support cars and the red cars of Le Tour’s organizers also follow the leading group. Many media representatives are also whizzing around on their motor- cycles. You have to be constantly checking your mirrors, and you also need to know the exact exterior dimensions of your car. The narrow streets of the French countryside often only allow about a foot between cars - if that. The most exhila- rating ride is in the mountains, where downhills on the winding roads are taken A group of cyclists has broken away from the main bunch. At the Tour de France, at almost 100 kilometers an hour. the cyclists are followed by the organizers’ The greatest treat when sitting in the Mavic car is, however, Le Tour’s specta- red car and Mavic’s yellow car, which is tors. At best, the car is only a meter from the cyclists, allowing you to experience Le Tour’s official support car. the support of the crowd from a cyclist’s perspective. q Next | 25 26 | Next Mavic men Yves Hézard (left) and Jacques Corteggiani Mavic has its own department are both former competitive in Le Tour’s race village. cyclists. Imagine the situation from the standpoint of the average Le Tour experiencing the collective enthusiasm, joy and encouragement spectator. He or she will have come a few hours earlier to enjoy a day after day. tasty picnic by the roadside with friends or family. After hours of waiting, they will see the best cyclists in the world racing past. That’s Mavic is there for everyone enough to make anyone smile! Mavic operates a neutral support car at Le Tour: Mavic is there to The cyclists and the Mavic team see smiling faces all the way help everyone. Competitors primarily receive assistance from their to Paris. Le Tour gathers a staggering 12 million spectators to own team’s support car. But when a competitor’s own support car the roadsides. It’s impossible to describe the feeling you get from isn’t around, Mavic steps in. In addition to the driver, the Mavic q Tour de France – a great spectacle ■ Text by Ilkka Järvimäki Le Tour, TdF, La Grande Boucle, Tour de France – this beloved race has many names. The Tour de France is not only the world’s best-known cycling race, but also one of the largest and most signifi- cant spectacles in sport. It competes for recogni- tion and spectator figures in the toughest league, as it is often compared to the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. The Tour de France can be seen as a melo- The T-Mobile team’s Michael Rogers dramatic opera. In the lead roles are the sport’s came tenth in this year’s Tour de France. best and highest-earning divas, and the wings are His placing could still change as a result bustling with large numbers of supporting cast, of the Floyd Landis doping incident. conductors with their batons, and - unfortunately – also the treacherous, shady characters. The plot of this three-week long show is full of suffering And on what kind of stage does it all hap- parts exuding the most drama are performed as and joy, sweet wins and bitter defeats, some- pen? The first scenes are played out over windy sweat-dripping solos in the mountains, with it times even plotting and cheating, and often great flat country, the final spurts in groups of hun- all culminating in a grand finale on the Champs- heroics to boot. dreds through narrow, city-center streets, the Élysée at the heart of Paris, where you’ll also q Next | 27 car also holds a mechanic. The yellow car is the only one allowed to follow the cyclist’s breakaways between 30 seconds and 1,5 minutes. “If a cyclist falls, we stop to help and check the bike for damage. If necessary, we change a wheel or the whole bike. We also carry drinks for cyclists, in case their own support car or the organizers’ drinks motorcycles aren’t around,” says Corteggiani. Mavic’s mechanics can change a damaged wheel in ten sec- onds. One Mavic support car contains eight rear wheels, five front wheels and three complete bikes. Mavic’s support car has proven to work so well, that the 29- year-long cooperation with Le Tour comes as no surprise. “Le Tour likes not having to worry about whether support is being carried out properly,” says Yves Hézard, who retired at this year’s Tour. According to Hézard, there wasn’t initially even a written agree- ment between Mavic and Le Tour. For a long time, things worked on the basis of a verbal ‘gentlemen’s agreement’. Nowadays, coopera- tion is sealed in ink, but Le Tour has not begun milking Mavic for the visibility it gets. In fact, Mavic and the Amaury Sport Organiza- tion (ASO), which is responsible for arranging Le Tour, signed an agreement at this year’s race to continue cooperation on Le Tour until 2012. ■ The most stunning moment of every Tour: arriving in Paris. The Mavic cars, like all the other cars and motorcycles, arrive first to allow the cyclists a completely clear road to the finishing line. hear resounding cheers for the performers. The race itself already demands an unbelievable abil- as the World Wars meant that ten races went stars bow and remove themselves behind the ity from competitors and teams to recover from unridden. curtain, only to return to the same stage the fol- a hard day and to spread their energies correctly If everything goes to plan, the historic race will lowing year. over the three weeks. take place in 2013. The outlook for the world’s This drama’s audience consists of many lay- It’s difficult for those following the race on current political situation doesn’t indicate that the ers: in pride of place are the villagers whose television to understand how much of a team celebrations will need to be postponed, but there home country the caravan passes through every sport the long cycle race really is. It’s not easy are still clouds threatening the future of the race. year, and the millions of tourists who are parked to pick out each team’s tactics, or the division of The greatest of these come from within the with their camper vans along the more showy roles, amid the jumble of shirts emblazoned with sport: for many years – including this one – the stages. Hundreds of millions of people sit in front bright markings and sponsors’ logos, but every doping incidents that have wracked professional of their television sets, keeping a close eye on the team does have them. From the perspective of cycling and the sport’s most important event battle between these modern gladiators. the race as a whole, a key position is played not could, at worst, mean that the interest of the Le Tour is compulsory viewing for all cyclists only by the team’s number one rider, but also by large audience, the media and partners in coop- in July; but it doesn’t just appeal to those who are the helpers who must be able to keep going all eration will take a nose dive. And this significant into the sport. The Tour de France also enthralls day to ensure the safety of their leader and help and historic event cannot live without these three those viewers who don’t understand anything him to the best possible result. important elements. about sport, but who value the battle fought by This year’s extremely interesting and varied On the other hand, the Tour has experienced the world’s best cyclists against the conditions, Tour de France was the 93rd. The first competitive its lows many times in previous years, but has altitude, tiredness, pain, and their competitors. cycling tour of France was held back in 1903. always been able to bounce back from the dif- Three weeks and 3,700 kilometers asks a lot Although its centenary was celebrated three ficulties - and often in better shape than ever. from the cyclists, from some more than others. years ago in July 2003, we’ll still have to wait a Hopefully, it will continue to rise, cleaner and No-one gets off lightly, however. The length of the few more years for the hundredth actual race, more honest. ■ 28 | Next ■ ■ Text by Cliff Terry Photos by Wilson, Getty Images classic “The Duke” returns Wilson has been the Official Ball of the NFL since 1941. The latest game ball is called “The Duke”. I n 1922, the National Football League be- has changed – more wide open with much more “We have a lot of great products, but there’s gan playing its first games, using a Wilson passing.” not one that reinforces what our company is all football. The game has changed over the The footballs are made at a Wilson factory about more than the NFL football. Some 65 to 75 years, but the football hasn’t. As the NFL begins in Ada, Ohio, where the 150 employees turn out million Americans watch football every Sunday, another season this fall, it will still be using a more than 700,000 four-panel game balls annu- and the TV cameras zoom in on the ‘Wilson.’ And, Wilson football. ally, with “tens of thousands” sold to the NFL, the amazing thing is that after all those games “Our relationship with the NFL began in 1941 according to Considine, who adds: “It’s the only and conditions, our football has never failed in when George Halas and Wellington Mara asked dedicated football factory in the world. All they a game. Not once,” Considine smiles. “And that the league to adopt Wilson as the official game make are footballs. And I think that’s helped us ball goes through a lot of abuse!” ■ ball supplier. It’s the longest relationship a com- align strongly with the NFL.” pany has had with a sports league or organiza- tion. It’s amazing actually,” says Chris Considine, Legendary moments: Johnny Unitas, quarterback for the Baltimore Colts, launches a Wilson “The Duke” game ball into the air at the 1958 final, in which the Colts beat the New York Giants President of Wilson. 23–17 in overtime. For the 2006–07 season, Wilson’s “Official Game Ball” will become “The Duke” in honor of football legend Wellington Mara, late co-owner of the New York Giants whose nickname was “The Duke”. In 1941 the NFL came out with a redesigned football and named it “The Duke”, which stayed in play until the NFL and the Ameri- can Football League merged in 1969. “With today’s game ball, we’re highlight- ing the gold ‘NFL’ shield a little more,” explains Chris Considine. “In the early NFL days, the ball had a boxy look and the laces were higher. The shape of the ball has basically stayed the same, although it has more of an aerodynamic quality. The full- grain cowhide leather really hasn’t changed. We monitor it to make sure we have the right amount of pebble height. The NFL ball is a little bit big- ger than our ball colleges and high schools use. Pro quarterbacks usually have bigger hands and prefer the larger size. The game itself, of course, Next Next | 29 29 ■ Wilson's soccer game Text by John Pagni ■ Photos by Wilson T he 2006 World Cup is now in the record plan on target books with participants, fans and orga- nizers still discussing what went right or wrong. But that’s soccer – or football as it’s Amer Sports Latin America aims to make Wilson known in most parts of the world (see box). Meanwhile, Wilson is pushing ahead with its a force in the global game by being on the spot at strategy to make the brand numero uno in Latin kick off and proactive on and off the pitch too. America. “Although we officially launched our soccer campaign in September 2003, we have been active with sports products in the region 30 | Next “Sponsoring clubs gives significant exposure to identify Wilson as a soccer brand.” Mexican star Jose Antonio ’Tato’ Noriega ensured Wilson’s soccer campaign kicked off on the right foot. for a long time,” says Angel Rodriguez, Wilson’s time, the country is always a strong contender.” Regional Director Latin America. From this base, the campaign rapidly spread Senõr Rodriguez presents their roadmap. all over South America, home to two of soccer’s “We have 3 main goals: firstly to establish Wilson superpowers: Argentina and Brazil, 7 times as a soccer brand. Wilson is well-known brand World Cup winners altogether. In Brazil, Wilson in tennis, golf and US football, but not soccer. is becoming a major football brand by sponsor- Then develop a complete product line to meet re- ing championship teams São Caetano and Pay- gional needs. This is supported by a commercial sandu. strategy with a targeted marketing plan from the The Wilson Brasil ball has been a huge hit grassroots level up to professional teams, work- Over 70 types of soccer balls since its January launch. ing with coaches and opinion leaders.” Throughout Latin America, Wilson markets soc- cer balls, shinguards and goalkeepers’ gloves. Kick-off in Central America Over 70 types of football are made in Pakistan Wilson’s thrust began in Central America spon- and China for various market segments. Wilson multi-layers of poly-cotton lining to ensure soring competitions, clubs and players. The is responsible for all the specifications. shape and durability. Central American Union of Football (UNCAF) or- Foremost was the launch last January of In selected countries (Ecuador, Guatemala, ganizes regional club and country competitions the FIFA-approved Brasil ball. It is machine- Paraguay and Brazil) seven clubs have Wilson from World Cup qualifiers to the UNCAF Nations sewn in China and emblazoned with the Wilson sponsorship made up of team uniforms, travel Cup plus Under-20, -17 and -15 tournaments. logo, “Brasil” and the Brazilian flag. “Brazilians apparel and presentation materials. Their com- Its premier club prize is the UNCAF Club are very proud of their team and country,” says bined fan base is over 8 million and attracts lots Tournament (UCT) for the champions of Belize, Angel. of media exposure. In these markets, Wilson Guatemala, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, It complements the UNCAF Official Game uniforms are retailed alongside the main prod- Honduras and Panama. Ball, which is hand-stitched and also bears uct lines. Wilson has been UNCAF’s official ball spon- FIFA’s logo. It has a polyurethane cover with “Sponsoring clubs gives significant expo- sor since 2004. “The UCT is the main competition sure to identify Wilson as a soccer brand,” says for Central American clubs and gets appropri- Angel.“Recently, we signed a contract with Co- ate media coverage,” explains Angel. “Mexican lombian club Junior de Barranquilla, which will teams compete in the South America’s Copa Lib- wear Wilson uniforms from next January. This ertadores – the European Champions League deal will help us to grow in this market.” equivalent.” In addition, Wilson has been the official ball Growing sales supplier for the premier professional leagues in So how successful has the game plan been? Costa Rica (UNAFUT) and Honduras (LFP) since “When we started, we sold 54,000 balls a year in 2002 and 2005 respectively. Mexico – this year it’ll be 1.5 million! With a 15% “Costa Rica is one of the most important soc- share, we’re the #1 brand in a crowded market cer nations in Central America and played in the without being the official ball, whereas our 40% last two World Cup finals,” states Angel. ”Hon- A group pose when taking part slice in Costa Rica is a smaller number. This duras is similar. Though they didn’t qualify this in a Wilson grassroots promotion. makes us one of the big three in the q Next | 31 Argentina’s legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta was a natural choice for Wilson’s ’Some of us live forever’ ads. region. Wilson is now a soccer brand in Latin To help achieve this ambitious target, Wilson America. employs the technological advances made by its Soccer or football? “And soccer is the most important sport R&D in other sports. For example, DSTO2 foot- The word ’soccer’ was derived from the on the continent. Even if tennis is popular in wear technology was incorporated into Wilson game’s official name, ’association football’, Argentina and volleyball in Brazil, they are way shinguards. The latest DSTO3 will be woven into to distinguish it from rugby football. Both behind. balls, shinguards and other products. these codes plus American, Canadian, Gaelic “In Latin America, ‘the beautiful game’ (jogo New deals are in the pipeline and it would and Australian rules football trace their roots bonito) as it’s called in Brazil, is more religion come as no surprise to see Wilson take center from the original rough-and-tumble ‘football’ than sport. Everybody plays and it’s a huge busi- stage in the greatest sporting theater of all – the played in England in the 19th century. ness growth opportunity.” World Cup. ■ Students are credited with using the word ’soccer’ first. In the 1880s most were from the upper class and at Oxford had the habit of adding ’er’ at the end of words, for example ’brekkers’ for breakfast or ’Johnners’ for John. ’Footer’ was also used, but could have referred to either game. The abbreviation ‘socca’ was coined by 1889, and the spelling soccer appeared in 1895. So it is claimed that when asked if he wanted to play ’rugger’ (i.e. the ’rugby rules’) a student answered “No, soccer”. David Pickering’s Soccer Companion (Cassell, 1994) names the student as Charles Wreford Brown, later an England international and F.A. vice-president. ‘Footy’ refers to any game played with feet, hands, head and other parts of the body as in all the varieties listed above. ■ Argentinian goalkeeper Christian Luchetti was sponsored by Wilson while playing in Mexico’s Primera División. This acrobatic shot shows his prowess and Wilson’s ball and gloves. 32 | Next Wilson celebrates at the US Open ■ Text by Markku Rimpiläinen ■ Photos by Getty Images 7 W ilson’s US Open Party has quickly become one 1 of the US Open’s – and the whole tennis year’s – most eagerly awaited celebrations. The guest list includes celebrities, media representatives and influen- tial people from the tennis world. The evening’s stars are, however, the Wilson players. Players present this year included Roger Federer, the world’s undisputed number one, Lindsay Davenport, Serena and Venus Williams, Feliciano Lopez, Ana Ivanovic, Taylor Dent, Nicolas Kiefer, Iveta Benesova, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Max Mirnyi and Tatjana Golovin. The guests were entertained by Chris Considine, President of Wilson. The party was held at New York’s traditional Marquee Club, where the first thing visitors encountered was an ice 6 sculpture in the shape of a Wilson tennis ball. 2 The evening’s music was provided by DJ Pesce from Los Angeles. ■ 1 Roger Federer. 2 Tennis Channel’s Murphy Jensen inter- views Venus Williams. 3 Tatiana Golovin. 4 Party guests at the Marquee Club. 5 Lindsay Davenport being interviewed by Murphy Jensen. 6 Serena Williams and Chris Considine, President of Wilson. 7 Wowow interviews Ana Ivanovic. 4 5 3 Next Next | 33 33 Paul Zimmer news Justine Henin-Hardenne Wilson powers ahead at Wimbledon Precor facilities for Hilton hotels Wilson players were at the fore during the Wimbledon Grand Slam tourna- Precor has made an extensive cooperation agreement with ment. Once again, Roger Federer played the best game and won Wimbledon Hilton Hotels Corporation. Fitness by Precor facilities will be for the fourth time. Still ahead of him in the list of honor are Pete Sampras installed in hotels belonging to Hilton’s four chains. This is with seven wins and Björn Borg with five. Next up for Wilson in the men’s Precor’s biggest agreement to date. game was No. 13 Jarkko Nieminen. Out of the women, third-ranked Justine As a partner, Precor is more than just an equipment sup- Henin-Hardenne placed highest. plier. Precor is building the facilities using its own brand: the For the first time, Wilson offered stringing services to players using company designs the interior decor and chooses the equip- Wilson and Luxilon strings at Wimbledon. Thanks to the cooperation agree- ment. Precor’s touch is so strong that the facilities have been ment signed with Luxilon, Wilson is the only brand able to offer full support given the name Fitness by Precor. to tour players. In accordance with the agreement, all full-service Hilton, Doubletree and Embassy Suites hotels will be furnished with Fitness by Precor facilities by the end of next year. The first New wheel hotels will be the Los Angeles Beverly Hilton, Honolulu Hilton Janica Kostelic and Anja Pärson Hawaiian Village, New York Waldorf Astoria and Hilton, as well prototype as the Las Vegas Doubletree Club and the Embassy Suites in from Mavic Alexandria, Virginia. During the Tour de France, Mavic brought out a new prototype that will be used to gather practical user experi- Salomon–Amer Sports team ences with the help of, for at the Prague Half Marathon example, the Cofidis team. A team from Amer Sports Czech Republic took part in the The prototype marks a new Prague Half Marathon in April and came in 16th. The team’s step forward in technology. organizer, Suunto’s and Wilson’s Product Manager Vit Novak, There are no holes whatso- praises the result as extremely good in view of the circum- ever in the rim of the wheel: stances. the treads, center and rim “For a couple of weeks before the run, the weather was form one carbon fiber whole. so bad that it was hard to get the guys onto the track. Only one The prototype aims member of the team got round to training before the big day.” for lightness, rigidity and The team’s average age was the seventh highest, but they improved aerodynamics. A beat many of their younger counterparts. “We reached the fin- more lightweight wheel en- ish line only three minutes after the team that came sixth, so ables better acceleration and better placings are definitely a reachable goal,” Novak believes. faster ascents in the moun- The half marathon was run as a 4 x 5.25 kilometer relay. tains. Extra rigidity reduces Salomon’s sales representative was team captain, and two energy losses. Improved Amer Sports sales representatives and the Czech Country aerodynamics have distinct Manager took care of the following legs. “Other colleagues advantages on fast surfaces were with us in spirit, cheering us on in the crowd.” and downhill sections. The Prague Half Marathon is part of the respected Prague Salomon’s team confirmed International Marathon. A total of 77 teams took part in this Salomon now has a more diverse team for the Alpine Skiing Amer Sports year’s race. World Cup – and it’s even leaner and meaner. Anja Pärson is aiming for her fifth World Championships whisks analysts in Åre. Janica Kostelic is also staying with Salomon, and off on an adventure will be telling us more about where her career is headed Although Amer Sports’ tradi- in September. tional CMD (Capital Markets Austria’s Klaus Kröll, one of the top names in the men’s Day) event is not usually held downhill, will be transferring to Salomon for the coming in Finland, this year’s was in season. Already part of Salomon’s downhill team is his fellow Bökars on the Gulf of Finland countryman Fritz Strobl. Davide Simoncelli of Italy’s Giant coast. The program was also Slalom team will be joined by Alberto Schieppati. out of the ordinary, as Amer Skiing for the Salomon team and the top-level Canadian Sports offered participants men’s national team are François Bourque and Stephan Guay. the chance to try out adven- Both are junior World Champions from whom we can also ture racing in addition to the expect many top placings in the men’s category in the coming usual lectures and product season. Austria’s Patrick Bechter and Alexander Koll are two information. The events were of Salomon’s very promising juniors. running, kickbike, cycling, France’s Ingrid Jacquemod, Marie Marchand Arvier, log carrying, abseiling, pad- Aurélie Revillet and David Poisson – all skiers in speed disci- dling and archery. 36 people plines – are also putting their faith in Salomon. took part in the CMD. 34 | Next photo : Christian Chaize - design: Eric Leprince 001. ZICRAL BUTTED SPOKES 002. OVERSIZE CARBONE HUB CROSSMAX SLR CROSS COUNTRY RACING AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE WITH A WINNING COMBINATION OF LIGHTNESS, RIGIDITY AND LOW INERTIA NEW 21 MM WIDTH UST RIM FUSION OF MAXTAL ALLOY, FORE TECHNOLOGY AND ISM MILLING FOR OPTIMUM LIGHTNESS AND STRENGTH GENERATING LESS ENERGY LOSS. UST an airtight rim compatible with tube type and tubeless tires for a better grip, less flats and more control FORE process of not drilling the rim upper bridge to give 40% more rigidity and higher resistance MAXTAL an exclusive alloy for a lighter and 30% stronger vs 6106 aluminum rim ISM inter spoke milling for a lighter rim and low inertia to climb faster and reduce braking distance NEW FTS-X HUB MADE OF MACHINED STAMPED ALUMINUM REDESIGNED WITHA WIDER ZICRAL SPOKE’S DISH TO IMPROVE RIGIDITY THEREFORE CONTROL.REAR ISOPULSE LACING BRINGS BALANCED SPOKE TENSION AND IMPROVES RESPON- SIVENESS. FTS-X a further improved free wheel system for intensive MTB ride: strengthened pawls and self-locking axle end screws to make the mechanism more hard wearing and new seal halving friction torque ZICRAL butted front spokes 10% stronger than Inox spokes at same weight for a lighter wheel mount thus rigid and liveliness ISOPULSE balanced radial lacing from side to side to spread torque tension, reduce spoke stress, improve endurance and power transfer. Available in disc version at 1520 g or Ceramic rim brake version at 1410 g Extended Mavic Inc. 17 Parkridge Road warranty. Haverhill, MA 01835 More on 003. 21 MM UST MAXTAL RIM mavic.com R E M E M B E R H O W Y O U R H E A R T W A S B E AT I N G B E FO R E Y O U R F I R S T K I S S ? www.suunto.com The new Suunto heart rate monitors capture your every heartbeat. They measure the Training Effect, the real result of your On a scale from 1 to 5, Training Effect 3.1 means that this workout improves your fitness level. workout, live on your wrist. So you know that your training makes a difference.
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