Sapporo Dome to host skiing championships

OBERSTDORF, Germany -- Nordic skiing will head indoors for
the first time at the 2007 world championships in Sapporo, Japan.

Parts of the sprints for cross country and Nordic combined will
take place at the Sapporo Dome, a 40,000-seat stadium built for
soccer's 2002 World Cup. About 300 meters of the 1.2-kilometer
event will be held in the dome.

The 2007 worlds organization committee also said Friday it plans
to add a fourth Nordic combined event, with a mass start. Until now
at the worlds and Olympics, there has been a sprint, an individual
and a team event.

That would add a 20th event to the world championships. Cross
country, the only discipline with women, has 12 and ski jumping has

"The mass start is a very good competition,'' Nordic combined
World Cup leader Ronny Ackermann of Germany said. "I hope it's on
the schedule at a world championships -- we have a lot less races
than cross country anyhow.''

The Nordic ski disciplines have made numerous changes to their
sport in recent years to increase its popularity and television

The ongoing world championships at Oberstdorf have proved
popular. Organizers report 251,000 spectators for the first eight
days of competition. The event is being broadcast to 30 countries.