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The man without whom no ski jumping would take place

28. 02 2009 10:30:00

(Liberec, own) When talking about ski jumping a name of a ski jumper is usually what comes to mind. Those who know more about ski jumping may think of the place where World Cups ski jumping takes place. But only few would know at least one name of a designer of ski hills.
Every jumping hill has a history. It is Miloslav Belonoznik who deserves the biggest merits in the history of Jested hills. He is a former Czechoslovak ski jumper, coach of ski jumping, long-term FIS member and last but not least designer of jumping hills. On entering the room of this 90-year-old Mr Architect you will see trophies and various awards from World Championships, Olympic Games and other competitions. Without doubt he is an important personality who deserves credit for his role in the development of skiing both at home and abroad.   
* How did you get from ski jumping to designing jumping hills_
By sheer chance. I competed from an early age and when I came to Liberec after the war there was no jumping hill here. That´s why I trained at Plane. Thanks to my previous experience I was asked to come to Prague as coach in the 1950s. In 1953 I was nominated to FIS where I was member until 1988. I became Chairman of FIS Sub-Committee for designing jumping hills; I had to study all that documentation on hill designing and most of all I drew on my experience. First we renovated the hill at Plane and designed some small hills. Than we set to designing the Jested one.
* The jumping hill in Jested was built specially thanks to you. What did you have to do before the construction of the hill began_
In 1959 I came with the idea that should we want to have some ski jumpers in Liberec we must have a hill built here. For that reason I became a member of tourism committee at the city hall and I tried to persuade all to build the jumping hill. It was already 50 years ago.
* How did the building of the hill in Jested proceed_
In the beginning we consulted people from abroad, for example the German coach. In 1961 my wife and I surveyed the hill using a 5-metre plank and from 1962 I was trying to get money for the construction. As part of a “Z” action I got CZK 300,000 but it wasn´t enough to build the hill. I invited a company from Usti nad Labem which did minimum work but wanted CZK 250,000 for it. I gave them only CZK 5,000 and set down do work alone, with a Mr Novak, an excavator operator only. But one bulldozer was not enough, so I got another one. Afterward it went better, although there were difficulties from time to time. Not everything could be done at once. During the construction we moved about 100,000 cubic metres of soil. Every now and then I carried out measurements to see if we were proceeding as we should.
* Can you describe to me what Jested looked like then_
We built a large, medium and a smaller 50-m hill. It was all provisional. We got an old railway carriage to Jested, pulled down the windows and this was the referees´ tribune. In 1967 the first competition took place there, even with competitors from aboard, there were 7 countries. Everyone who flew more than 100 metres from the large hill got a silver medal which my son had made.
* Where else did you design jumping hills apart from the Czech Republic_
Two jumping hills in Falun, Sweden and in the United States. I don´t remember how many exactly. I have introduced certification of all hills around the world; that was my idea. If a jumping hill meets all criteria compliant with FIS rules, it acquires a certificate. Then we had about 200 hills in evidence. Today there are a bit fewer of them.
* Which of your hills do you like most_
One of them is certainly the Jested one; I spent a lot of time on it. Next it was the hill in Harrachov, I took part in having it built. Czechoslovakia was the last country where a giant hill was built. First it was supposed to be situated in Spindleruv Mlyn but after problems with forest keepers it was built in Harrachov.
* Did you jump on the hills you have designed_
Yes, I did. Even on the one in Liberec. I competed in ski jumping until 1956.
* What was your greatest sport success_
I became national champion in 1948; in the same year I was the best in the Czech team at the Olympic Games, but I finished in the 16th place.
* How are you enjoying the World Championships in Liberec_ Are you going to see a competition_
If my health allows, I will go to see it. I have seen the ski jumping of Nordic combined contestants and I still want to see the ski jumpers.
* What do you say that at the Championships in Liberec women also take part in ski jumping for the first time_
It was my idea a long time ago too. When I worked as a coach I had two girls in my team and they were quite good at jumping. If they can do downhill skiing, they can do jumping as well.
(Romana; transl. mc)







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07. 9. 1989 v Bolzano

161 cm / 53 kg

Sci Club Gardena

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Ski jumping