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International Ski Federation (Fédération Internationale de Ski)

The International Ski Federation - Fédération Internationale de Ski, Internationaler Ski Verband - is abbreviated in all languages as FIS. The organisation was founded on 2nd February 1924 during the first Olympic Games in Chamonix, France with 14 member nations. Today 107 National Ski Associations comprise the membership of the FIS.

Skiing has existed since time immemorial. The old Scandinavian legends bear witness to this. In a cave in the north of Russia can be found what is probably the oldest wall painting in the world representing a skier. Its age? Beyond doubt, several thousands of years! In Sweden, geologists have dated fragments of antique skis as being four thousand years old.

Paulus Diaconus, in 770, named the Laplanders as "Skridfinnen" (Gliding Finns).

If the existence of skiing is very ancient, its practice as a sport is very recent. It was not developed in Norway until after 1850, when the first races were held around the town of Christania, which later became the city of Oslo. Skiing's universal fame dates from the performance accomplished by Fridjof Nansen (NOR) in Greenland in 1888. Using skis, the famous explorer was able to cross Greenland from one sea to the other in 46 days. Pierre de Coubertin, who revived Olympism, together with his colleagues from the IOC, paid him a special tribute by awarding him the second Olympic Diploma of Merit in 1905.

From 1870 onwards, the Alpine countries were in turn affected by the rapid expansion of skiing as a sport: the first competitions in Germany in 1879, the foundation of the first Swiss Club in 1893 at Glaris initiated by Christoph Iselin. National Ski Associations appeared in turn in Russia (1896), Czechoslovakia (1903), the United States (1904), Austria and Germany (1905) and Norway, Finland and Sweden (1908).

From 1910 to 1924, an international Skiing Commission strove to monitor the development of competitive skiing throughout the world. In 1924, at the time of the first Olympic Winter Games, this commission gave birth to the Federation International de Ski.

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