Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Urgent Appeal for ACLs

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

It was revealed last weekend in Val d'Isere that US skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn has re-torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that she originally tore at the World Championships last February. It appears that either the doctor who performed her original surgery did not do a very good job, or Vonn came back too quickly and damaged her ACL. Either way, it seems like ACLs just don't last very long with her and she is now in need of another one before the 2014 Winter Olympics. The International Ski Federation (FIS) is putting out an urgent appeal to all of the racers in the World Cup to donate an ACL to Lindsey so that she will be able to compete in the Olympics with a healthy knee. We sent one of our intrepid reporters to Vail to try and talk with Lindsey. She was not available, but her physical therapist Patrick was willing to talk to us. Let's find out what Patrick has to say.

BB: When did you start asking the other World Cup skiers to donate their ACLs to Lindsey?
Patrick: Right after last weekend's downhill race in Val d'Isere. She did not finish the race because she felt like her knee did not hold up. We felt that since her ACL was gone, we needed to find a new one for her as soon as possible so that she is ready for the Olympics in Sochi.
BB: Have any of the other racers stepped up to give Lindsey one of their ACLs?
Patrick: Not yet. But I'm sure they will. After all, they gave Lindsey all of their medals from Schladming. (see this story)
BB: There is a big difference between a medal and an ACL. A person can live without a world championship or Olympic medal. It is very difficult to walk properly, let alone ski, when you are missing an ACL. 
Patrick: Neither of those statements is true. Medals are very important for establishing a legacy. The more medals that Lindsey has, the bigger her final legacy will be. She cannot live without her medals and crystal globes. As to being without an ACL, Lindsey even said, "Who needs an ACL anyway?"
BB: Exactly. Please tell our readers why the other World Cup racers should give Lindsey an ACL if she really thinks that she doesn't need one.
Patrick: As everyone knows, Lindsey said that athletes are only known through their records. Lindsey needs a healthy ACL to be able to establish her legacy and set the bar so high that nobody else in the future will be able to catch her.
BB: Are you implying that the other World Cup racers are not as important as Lindsey?
Patrick: Well everyone knows that's true! The World Cup just isn't the same without her.
BB: You are right. There is a lot less drama among the women this season and a lot more sportsmanship and friendly behavior. 
Patrick: The only reason the other women are winning this season is because Lindsey has hardly competed. When she did, she was not at her best because of her knee.
BB: Come on, the reason the other women won was because they were the best that day. 
Patrick: Lindsey does not just want to break Annemarie Moser-Proell's women's World Cup victory record. She wants to break Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 wins. She also wants to win another Olympic downhill gold medal. Silver or bronze just isn't good enough for her.
BB: The other racers would also like to win medals in Sochi. 
Patrick: I'm sure they do. But the racers from the other countries are all interchangeable and nobody will remember them four years from now. But Lindsey wants to be remembered forever, and the others must do all they can to help ensure that she is.
BB: Getting back to convincing the others to donate an ACL...Are you asking just the women to donate one or the men too?
Patrick: Anyone who wants to donate an ACL is welcome to. It doesn't matter if donor ACLs come from a man or woman.
BB: If Lindsey does get a donor ACL from a man, would she be eligible to compete in men's races?
Patrick: If Lindsey does end up with a man's ACL, she will apply to the FIS to compete in men's races. After all, she will have a man's part inside of her.
BB: Uh...You might want to rephrase that last sentence. 
Patrick:  What I meant was if she has a male ACL in her knee, she should be able to compete in men's races.
BB: That's better. We don't want to give our readers the wrong impression of the Blickbild. Anyway, assuming that Lindsey gets a new ACL as a Christmas present, do you think she will be ready to compete in Sochi?
Patrick: Definitely! She was way ahead of schedule in her original rehab and was training to run a marathon within a month after her surgery last winter. Lindsey is a superhuman rehabber who only needs one week to prepare for the Olympics.
BB: What about ski racing fans or members of her fan club? Surely they want to see Lindsey succeed and would do anything for her to win a gold medal in Sochi.
Patrick: She will take an ACL from anyone, though she prefers one from a fellow racer because it would help to eliminate the competition for finishing on the top podium step. But I'm sure she will accept one from a member of her fan club. In fact, we would like to have as many donor ACLs as possible so that we can stockpile them.
BB: How many ACLs does a person need? There is  one per knee and people only have two knees.
Patrick: We want to have plenty in reserve so that when she tears her donated ACL from trying to come back too quickly, and requires another new one, she will have one all ready to go.
BB: I see.  She does seem to be rather hard on her ACLs.  It sounds like a good idea to have some in reserve. (short pause) Let's say that nobody in the World Cup wants to give up an ACL to Lindsey. Will any Mafia hit men be involved in getting the others to donate?
Patrick: I hope that it doesn't come down to calling Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli. It would be great if the other racers donated their ACLs because they realize that it's the right thing to do.
BB: Let's say that Vinnie's brand of persuasion has no effect. Would you resort to invading other countries to get donor ACLs?
Patrick: Tina Weirather is currently leading the overall standings, so if we had to invade a country to get an ACL, Liechtenstein would be the perfect place. It is small, so we would not require a large invasion force.
BB: We saw what happened last summer when a special military unit was formed to invade Slovenia. The invaders could not even find Slovenia and ended up in Moscow and then somewhere in Siberia. They still have not come back. Liechtenstein is much smaller than Slovenia. Would any invading force even be able to find Liechtenstein on a map?
Patrick: I hope that nobody has to invade Liechtenstein to get an ACL for Lindsey. It would be much harder to find than Slovenia.
BB: What is Lindsey doing in the meantime?
Patrick: I have her on a special regimen to strengthen the muscles around her knee. Even without an ACL, she will have the strongest legs in the World Cup. She will probably make her big comeback in Cortina in January.
BB: How many comebacks can one person make? 
Patrick: Every comeback that she makes will be even more spectacular. Just wait and see how she does in Cortina!
BB: We can't wait. Well Patrick, it looks like we are just about out of time. It was a very interesting interview with you, as always. I hope that you are successful in your quest for a new ACL for Lindsey. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We won't give up our ACLs without a fight!

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bode's Baby Lotto

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

When US ski racing star Bode Miller brought his son Samuel/Nathan/Matthew/Mark/Luke/John to Soelden for the races last October, the press couldn't get enough photos of his wife Morgan holding the little tyke. In Beaver Creek Morgan held up Bode's 5-year-old daughter Dacey for the cameras. With Dacey in school and Samuel/Nathan/Matthew/Mark/Luke/John back in his mother's custody in New York, it looks like there will be no more photo opportunities for Bode and Morgan to pose with a baby or small child until Sochi. But our intrepid research team found out that Bode and Morgan will have a baby or child at every race in the World Cup. Neither Bode nor Morgan was available to talk with us. But one of our intrepid reporters found one of Bode and Morgan's spokespeople, who we shall call Mary. Let's find out what Mary has to say.

BB: Bode recently lost custody of his infant son and his daughter is with her mother in San Diego. How can Bode and Morgan pose with the kids at European races when they don't have custody of them?
Mary: Everyone on the US ski team feels badly for Morgan because she had a miscarriage and she has the need to be a mother and have a baby in her arms. We are helping her to satisfy that need. This will help Morgan, which will help Bode to do well in his races.
BB: I see. What are you doing to help the Millers?
Mary: The people on the US ski team have put their heads together and came up with a fantastic idea. The International Ski Federation (FIS) and the various race venues are also on board with it. 
BB: Tell our readers about this idea.
Mary: It is very simple. Every person attending a World Cup ski race with a boy under one year old or a girl under age 6 will automatically have their names put into a special drawing. Before the race starts, one of the names will be drawn. That person's child will win the opportunity to spend the race with Morgan and be in a photo with both her and Bode.
BB:  Would the parents also get to pose with Bode and Morgan?
Mary: Hell no! Having the child's actual parents around would spoil the illusion. But Bode and Morgan will give the child's parents photo cards and their autographs as a thank you gesture. 
BB: Wouldn't Bode and Morgan feel that it's a bit awkward to pose for the cameras with a child that isn't theirs?
Mary: Morgan is already used to that. She has posed for photos with Bode's kids and neither of them are her biological children. 
BB: That is true. But wouldn't it be rather weird to pose with a different child at each race? 
Mary: Not really. They will be used to it after a couple of races. 
BB: Will the kids get to keep their given names?
Mary: No. The winning child will also have his or her name changed for the day. Children's names will be put into a drawing and the child will have the name that is drawn for race day. The names will be appropriate for the race venue. The children will have German names in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, French names in France, and Italian names in Italy. 
BB: Interesting. What if the parents object to their children being taken away from them to spend race day with strangers? People bring their kids to the races to have fun as a family.
Mary: The parents will have no say in the matter. If they don't want their kids to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch a race with Morgan Miller and time afterward with Bode, they should hire a babysitter.
BB: Do the child's parents need to provide diapers, bottles, or snacks?
Mary: That would be a good idea. The parents would give Bode and Morgan whatever they were planning to bring for their baby or child for the race. 
BB: What if the child objects? Many young children cry when they have to sit on Santa's lap or when they see clowns. 
Mary: We are prepared for that. The child will have all of the candy that he or she can eat. Nothing calms a child faster than candy. We will also tell the child that he or she is going to be on TV. 
BB: So much for teaching kids not to take candy from strangers. (short pause) Let me see if I have this straight. A young child will be taken from its parents to spend a day with a strange woman and her husband, have his or her name changed, and be fed lots of candy. All the parents get is a photo card, an autograph, and a child with a belly ache from eating too much candy.
Mary: You got it! But you left out the part of the lasting memory of being with Bode and Morgan. 
BB: I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but a child that young won't remember posing with Bode and Morgan for the TV cameras. Maybe a 5-year-old will have a memory of it, but an infant won't. 
Mary: The child's parents will also get a souvenir photo that they can show their child to remind him or her of his or her special day with Bode and Morgan. It will be something that they can cherish as a family.
BB: When will this baby lotto start?
Mary: We are hoping to start at next weekend's races in Val Gardena. The children who are chosen will be so lucky and will have a wonderful story to tell their grandchildren.
BB: I'm sure they will. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for this interview. It will be interesting to see how these drawings work out for both the Millers and the kids. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Ski racing fans, you have been warned about bringing your children to the races.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

North American Race Summary (Belated)

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The first speed races of the season are now over and a lot has happened over the two weekends when the World Cup was in North America! Our intrepid reporters were in Beaver Creek and Lake Louise, bringing our readers all of the action from the North American speed races that the others didn't dare to print. Instead of our usual interview format, we will use news briefs. We will count down 8 key events from the two weekends of races in North America, starting with the least significant. Let's find out what really happened in Beaver Creek and Lake Louise over the last two weekends.

8. Greatest comeback ever. Yes it has really happened. The question the whole ski world has been asking was finally answered when Lindsey Vonn competed in Lake Louise. Vonn has officially made the greatest comeback ever by any athlete in any sport who ever had an injury. Hermann Maier and Daniel Albrecht’s comebacks paled in comparison to Vonn’s, especially in terms of daily press coverage. Every day in the news there was a story about Vonn, her superhuman rehabbing abilities, and what she had for dinner that night along with the requisite photos on her Facebook page.  Nobody knows who won the first women’s downhill race in Lake Louise.  But everyone, even people who never follow ski racing, knew that Vonn finished in 40th place. Does anyone really know or care who won that race? (For those few fans who really do care about ski racing, the answer is Maria Hoefl-Riesch).

7. The World Cup Zoo.  There is a reason the World Cup tour is called the White Circus. In Levi the winners of the slalom races won reindeer. Beaver Creek winners got an eagle. The winners in Lake Louise were rather disappointed to find that they just got cowboy hats and no pets. Lake Louise men’s downhill winner, Dominik Paris, said that he was crushed when he found out that he did not win a moose. Because of the popularity of podium shots of race winners with their new pets, the FIS is currently looking into giving animals to the winners of every race instead of prize money.

6. Real Men Climb Mountains. The second men’s downhill training session in Lake Louise was cancelled due to a power failure. Without power, the lifts were stuck. Old timers were amazed at how wimpy and coddled the current generation of ski racers is. Back when the old guys were racing, they had to hike up the hill to get to the starting line because there were no chair lifts. They also had to carry their equipment on their backs and bring their own food, water, medical supplies, and Swiss army knives.

5. Real Men Also Compete In Men's Races.  It looks like Swiss Ski made the correct decision letting the Swiss men’s speed team race against men instead of women. Patrick Kueng won the Beaver Creek Super-G. Beat Feuz also performed respectably in his first races back after being absent from the World Cup for a season. The only male Swiss racer who was upset by this decision was Carlo Janka, who really wanted to be the first skier to win a men’s and women’s overall globe. But judging from how he skied in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek, Carlo did an excellent job of channeling his disappointment.

4. More Alpine Gymnastics. Italy’s Sofia Goggia and Austrian Kathrin Zettel showed the world that Felix Neureuther is not the only racer who can promote the new sport of Alpine gymnastics. In the Beaver Creek downhill Sofia performed her patented spin move. Kathrin Zettel tried to perform a forward somersault as she started in the Beaver Creek giant slalom race. Sofia’s score was 8.3 and Kathrin’s was 8.4. It was tough for the judges to determine who was better because Sofia had a higher mark for artistic impression while Kathrin got a bonus for attempting a more difficult move. Kathrin received the higher score because she finished the race while Sofia had a DNF. By the way, Sofia tore her ACL in Lake Louise. We at the Blickbild wish her a full and speedy recovery.

3. Curses! Foiled Again! It looks like the Mongolian judge ordered the curse against Sweden to be lifted. Either that or German witch doctor Dr. Mabongo’s powers of cursing an entire nation’s ski team are waning. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby of Sweden won the Beaver Creek giant slalom race, edging out US wunderkind Mikaela Shiffrin. Jessica was a surprise winner. Since most ski fans know about the curse against Sweden for kidnapping Dr. Mabongo in Schladming last February, nobody in any “guess the podium” game anywhere picked Jessica to win. We shall find out in St. Moritz and Courchevel if the real abductor, Frida Hansdotter, is still under Dr. Mabongo's curse. Dr. Mabongo really needs to lay off the schnitzel and stick to his magic potions if he wants his curses to hold.

2. Larisa Rocks. Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw was dropped from the Canadian team last April because Alpine Canada discontinued its speed program. Instead of giving up, she got her own sponsors and formed Team Larisa. She had a 15th place finish in the Beaver Creek Super-G and was 7th in the first Lake Louise downhill. With her determination, Larisa should be able to fulfill her dream of competing at the Olympics in Sochi. Other racers are keeping a sharp eye on Larisa and her success. Our intrepid reporters often overheard conversations among the other World Cup women about how they want to go off and form their own teams. They are amazed that Larisa is succeeding without an army of trainers and big corporate sponsors. Larisa’s success is even more incredible because she does not have access to a witch doctor. If the Blickbild gave out an Intrepid Spirit Award, Larisa would easily win it. 

1    1. Short People Got No Reason To Lose.  Three of the smallest ladies in the World Cup had big success in North America. Swiss racer Lara Gut won 3 out of the 6 races and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather had four podium finishes. Move over Naim (Pocket Hercules) Suleymanoglu and Mathieu Valbuena! There are two new petite power packs vying for the title of Mightiest Midget in the Sports World. Anna Fenninger of Austria, who is no giant herself, had five top-5 finishes in North America including 3 podium places. Back when Lara, Tina, and Anna were kids, they were teased about their size, or lack thereof. But anyone who dares to mention that they could help Snow White’s dwarf count increase from 7 to 10 would get their butts kicked on the ski slopes by them. Even with her partially torn ACL and knee brace, Amazon-like Lindsey Vonn was no match for the Mighty Midget Power Ski Force. Other women in the World Cup have been looking into surgery to have their leg bones shortened so that they can be smaller.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We only hire short reporters because intrepidness is an inverse square function of height.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DQ Blues

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

It seems like every weekend a ski racer gets disqualified for one reason or another. In Soelden it was Emi Hasegawa for an unspecified equipment violation. In Beaver Creek Elisabeth Goergl was disqualified because her boots were 0.12 mm too high. The latest casualty of the DQ craze was Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, who was disqualified in Lake Louise for wearing arm protectors on the outside of her speed suit instead of underneath it. What is causing this sudden rash of disqualifications? Is there a conspiracy or is something else at work? Here to talk with one of our intrepid reporters is Bob, our inside contact at the International Ski Federation. Let’s find out what Bob has to say.

BB: Why are so many ski racers suddenly being disqualified?
Bob: There are not any more skiers being disqualified than in the past. It’s just that some of the racers who were recently disqualified were more famous. Nobody cares if a 37th place racer gets a DQ. But when  a more famous racer gets disqualified, it gets more publicity.
BB: So you are saying that it’s a matter of perception?
Bob: That’s right.
BB: Let’s talk about Lizz Goergl’s disqualification in Beaver Creek. How can someone really measure a racer’s boots to the nearest thousandth of a millimeter? You would think there would be a reasonable margin of error for boot height.
Bob: We took that into account. But even the smallest bit can make a very big difference. Look what happened to the probe that crashed into Mars several years ago.
BB: The Mars probe crashed because the NASA scientists failed to properly convert US to metric measurements and misplaced a decimal point. It had nothing to do with ski racing.
Bob: That’s where you’re wrong. That small conversion error by the NASA scientists was multiplied over the distance between Earth and Mars. Now you understand why it’s so important to keep track of decimal points when doing math.
BB: The length of a standard downhill course is much shorter than the distance between Earth and Mars. Even if Lizzie’s boots were even a full millimeter higher than the requirement, it does not seem like it would make a difference. Twelve hundredths of a millimeter seems a bit over the top.
Bob: But it does make a difference. At the FIS safety is very important to us. So is always being right, even if it means disqualifying racers for things that don’t make sense to the spectators.
BB: How could I forget! Now let’s talk about Tina Weirather being disqualified for wearing arm protectors over her speed suit instead of underneath. What is the difference?
Bob: She could gain an unfair advantage by doing that because arm protectors on the outside would make her more aerodynamic.
BB: But she obviously didn’t have an unfair advantage because Maria Hoefl-Riesch beat her.  If wearing her arm protectors on the outside gave her such a big advantage, she would have won the race by 10 seconds. But that did not happen.
Bob: Did you see the color of her arm protectors and the colors in her speed suit? They did not match at all!
BB: Are you saying that Tina was disqualified because the colors of her speed suit and arm protectors clashed?
Bob: Believe me, if you saw how they clashed, you would have done the same thing.
BB: Are you telling me that Tina was disqualified for having poor style? If her arm protector did match her speed suit, would her result have counted?
Bob: It is hard to answer that question. We may have found a different reason to disqualify her. 
BB: Lindsey Vonn wears a knee brace under her speed suit. There is a big difference between the size of her left and right knees when she is wearing it. Why hasn’t she been disqualified?
Bob: There is nothing in our Big Book of Rules that specifies that a racer’s knees must be exactly the same size.
BB: So even if Lindsey wore the brace over her speed suit instead of underneath it, she is perfectly legal to race because it’s okay for a athlete to have different-sized knees? Yet wearing an arm protector over a speed suit is a rules violation. Can you explain the difference?
Bob: Sure. At the FIS, we are always right.
BB: Yes we are aware of the FIS always being right. But I was hoping for a more detailed explanation.
Bob: OK, at the FIS safety is our biggest priority. But our other major priority is always being right even when everyone else thinks we are wrong.
BB: That’s not exactly the explanation I was looking for, but I understand the need to quote the party line. (slight pause) What other things have you seen do you think could also give the FIS grounds for a disqualification?
Bob: Maria Hoefl-Riesch’s hot pink goggles! They should be banned because they clash with her black, white, and lime green speed suit and purple Milka helmet. She is proof that Germans have no fashion sense. Speaking of fashion nightmares, Adam Zampa should be disqualified for his speed suit. Whoever designed it was obviously smoking something funny. The whole French team should also be disqualified for their hideously ugly speed suits.
BB: Is there anything else that could disqualify a skier besides poor fashion sense?
Bob: Yes. We have warned Ted Ligety about how light flashes off of his teeth when he smiles. If he is not careful he could be disqualified. It’s like a laser beam is coming off of his teeth that could blind the other racers!
BB: Ted should be allowed to smile when he wins a race. Other racers also smile when they win. A World Cup victory is a big deal and racers should be able to express their joy of winning.
Bob: We may have to pass a rule forbidding athletes who win races to smile with delight. Celebrating a victory makes the athletes who didn’t win feel bad about themselves. At the FIS we care about the athletes and their self-esteem. Disqualifying athletes who smile over their victories would also solve the problem of Ted and his shiny teeth.
BB: I’m sure it will. Well Bob, I want to thank you for your time and insight into why ski racers get disqualified. With all of the reasons for a disqualification, it’s a wonder that anyone makes it to the finish line without a full investigation. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters would never be disqualified from receiving awards because they are too intrepid.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine ski racing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

CORRECTION:  Our reporters are the most intrepid in the business, but they are also human. It was not Lizz Goergl's boot that was 0.12 mm too long, but her skis. We apologize for the confusion this error may have caused our readers. Unlike the FIS, we are not always right even when we're wrong. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Vonn Injured in Training Crash

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Last week US skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn crashed during a training run. She had facial cuts, a shoulder contusion, a knee strain, and a partial tear of the ACL that she tore last February in Schladming. The others have already reported this story, so it is very old news. We normally would avoid it like we would a viper pit and stick to our usual stories involving witch doctors and Norwegian birthday treats. But one of our intrepid reporters was on the scene in Copper Mountain, ready and able to provide a unique perspective on Vonn's accident. Our reporter managed to run into one of Vonn's spokespeople, who will decode the mystery surrounding the US Ski Team's silence about the injury. This representative asked to remain anonymous, so we are calling her Margaret. Let's find out what Margaret has to say.
BB: Last February Lindsey blamed the conditions in Schladming for her accident. Does she blame the conditions in Copper Mountain for her latest crash?
Margaret: No. Everything was good in Copper Mountain. The weather and snow conditions were perfect.
BB: There were no course workers who left a pile of soft snow in her path like in Schladming?
Margaret: No.
BB: She didn't have a belly ache before training that day?
Margaret: No. She ate her usual breakfast and her stomach was fine.
BB: Was she distracted because she and Tiger argued?
Margaret: No, she was in a good state of mind. She said that her knee was feeling great and she was ready to win the downhill and Super-G races next weekend.
BB: Was she otherwise distracted? One of our intrepid researchers found out that she hired someone to create a birth certificate that would make her younger than Mikaela Shiffrin. Why would she do that?
Margaret: As everyone who follows World Cup skiing knows, records are extremely important to Lindsey. Nothing else matters to her because she needs every record she can get to cement her legacy. The only way an athlete remains known is through having lots of records. She wants to set the bar high with so many records that nobody will ever be able to catch her. When she saw Mikaela winning a world championship gold medal and a Crystal Globe at such a young age, it made her jealous. Lindsey wanted to be the youngest American woman to win a world championship gold medal and Crystal Globe. Getting a new birth certificate would enable her to have that record.
BB: That certainly is a creative way to get a record.
Margaret: Lindsey can be very intrepid.
BB: But she will never be as intrepid as our reporters or research team! The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters and researchers in the business! (short pause) From what I can gather, Lindsey only has herself to blame for her crash. It seems like she was trying to come back too soon from her Schladming injury.
Margaret: How dare you imply that the crash was her fault! She was not trying to come back too soon. She did everything that her doctors and physical therapists told her to do and was actually ahead of schedule with her recovery. Lindsey really is a superhuman rehabber! She will skip the races in Beaver Creek, but she will make the biggest comeback ever in World Cup skiing history in Lake Louise.
BB: I'm sure she will, which implies that her knee injury was not as serious as people originally thought it was. Perhaps she is playing mind games to get her opponents to feel sorry for her?
Margaret: She doesn't need to play mind games because she is naturally better than the others. After all, you don't see the other racers chasing records to ensure their legacies.
BB: So the weather and snow in Copper Mountain were good, she was not distracted, her knee and belly felt fine. I have the feeling that you're hiding the real reason for her crash from our readers.
Margaret: Here is the official explanation. A men's team was training on the course before Lindsey did her run and left some ruts. One of her skis got caught in a rut, which caused her to fall.
BB: That's it? Most people can extricate their skis from a rut without falling. Since she is superhuman, what is the real reason? I can tell you're hiding something from me.
Margaret: OK, here goes. The real reason is two kids were playing with their Ski Racer Barbie dolls and using them as voodoo dolls.
BB: This sounds like a very plausible explanation. Are you sure that an opposing team's witch doctor didn't put a curse on her?
Margaret: Yes, I'm sure. We found the kids and the dolls.
BB: Tell our readers what happened.
Margaret: Two 7-year-old twin sisters from Vail, who I will call Renee and Dustie, were playing with their Ski Racer Barbie dolls. They had the special Lindsey Vonn edition dolls with their replica speed suits and gold medals. They were having the dolls ski down their Barbie Olympic Ski Mountain and having them take turns winning their races.
BB: That sounds very innocent. I don't see any voodoo involved so far.
Margaret: That's right. After a while Renee decided that her doll was Stacey Cook and Dustie decided that hers was Lindsey. Renee's doll was faster down the Barbie Olympic Ski Mountain than Dustie's three times in a row. Both girls are big fans of Lindsey and wanted to do something to help Dustie's doll beat Renee's, just like in real life. The night before, the girls had watched a National Geographic TV program about alternative medicine. One of the segments was about acupuncture. The girls decided to so some acupuncture with Dustie's doll. They got some pins from their mother's sewing box and put then in the doll's face, shoulder, and right knee.
BB: Oh dear! Those are the same places where Lindsey was injured.
Margaret: It gets even better. After putting the pins in the dolls, they decided to have them race down the Barbie Olympic Ski Mountain one more time. That was at the exact time that Lindsey had her crash. Was this a coincidence? I don't think so!
BB: Come on, these are Barbie dolls, not real voodoo dolls. Renee and Dustie are also 7-year-old children and not witch doctors.  It had to be a coincidence.
Margaret: When the girls put the pins in the Barbie doll, they also said, "Eenie meanie, chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak."
BB: That is from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Our intrepid researchers found out that the girls watch Rocky and Bullwinkle DVDs. So you are saying that Lindsey crashed because two girls stuck pins in a doll and quoted a line from an old cartoon show?
Margaret: That is exactly what happened.
BB: What will happen to the girls?
Margaret: At first Lindsey was very upset that little girls would use their Ski Racer Barbies as voodoo dolls. Then she thought about her reputation as someone that kids look up to if she were to yell at Renee and Dustie in public or talk to a reporter about what they did. She decided it was better to do nothing herself. But she did call her former bodyguard, Red Bull Mafia hit man Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli, to talk with the girls and their mother.
BB: What happened to the dolls?
Margaret: Vinnie wanted to destroy the dolls. But he was worried that if he destroyed the dolls, Lindsey would experience even more bodily harm. He let the girls keep their dolls, but told them not to stick pins in them anymore. Vinnie also told the girls that he was keeping an eye on them and threatened to take their dolls away if they ever put pins in them again. Both girls will undergo extensive psychotherapy to figure out why they would play with their Ski Racer Barbie dolls that way.
BB: Don't you think that Dustie and Renee could have bright futures working as witch doctors for a ski team? Since the Congo stopped issuing witch doctor visas, ski teams have to find different ways to get one. Why not use homegrown talent?
Margaret: The point is that they were not playing appropriately with their dolls. Dustie was always supposed to let Renee's doll win. That is the way of the US ski team. Lindsey must always win.
BB: Of course. It would be a scandal if Lindsey were beaten by one of her lesser teammates, whether it was in real life or with seven-year-olds playing with their Barbie dolls. Well, it looks like we are just about out of time. Margaret, I want to thank you for your special insight.  And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Barbie dolls and Bullwinkle are evidently a deadly combination.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Felix and Miriam: The New Hot Skiing Couple?

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The European tabloids and gossip columns are buzzing with the news about German Alpine skiing star Felix Neureuther and German biathlete Miriam (Miri) Goessner revealing their relationship. Since so many others have already reported this news, we would normally avoid this story like we would a pack of rabid pit bulls. But the others have not asked this fundamental question...should Felix and Miri replace Austrians Benjamin Raich and Marlies Schild as skiing's power couple? Our intrepid research team found two experts on sports and love who were willing to talk with our intrepid reporter as long as we did not reveal their true identities. Sarah is a psychology professor at an American university and David is a sports psychologist who works with a European curling team. Let's find out what they have to say. 

BB: Benni and Marlies have regained their position as skiing's power couple after Aksel Lund Svindal and Julia Mancuso broke up last summer. Do you think that Felix and Miri should replace Benni and Marlies as the hot power couple of skiing?
David: I think so. Benni and Marlies have shown that their love is long-lasting, even when Aksel and Julia took the spotlight. But the fans get tired of the same people being together all the time and look for someone new and fresh. Felix and Miri are a new couple and are therefore more exciting than one that has been together for what seems like an eternity.
Sarah: Definitely not! Felix and Miriam should stick to their own kind!
BB: Sarah, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean. Felix and Miri are both German. In fact, they are from the same city. They both compete in sports that require skis.
Sarah: He is an Alpine skier and she is a biathlete. 
David: That is true. But they are both professional athletes and accept the demands of their sports. They both understand that training and fitness are important and can support each other.
BB: Right. Fellow athletes know about training and the need to be apart from each other because of competition schedules. Even if Felix and Miri were both Alpine skiers, they would be away from each other for a good part of the season.
Sarah: That is true. But Benni and Marlies are both in the same sport. Their fans love them because they are with their own kind and not with someone from another sport.
BB: So when Aksel and Julia were the hot power couple, it didn't matter that Aksel was Norwegian and Julia was American?
Sarah: That's right. The important thing is that they were athletes competing in the same sport.
BB: I see. David, what do you think?
David: Sarah is correct that it didn't matter about Aksel and Julia being from different countries. Their relationship bloomed as people were getting tired of Benni and Marlies. People want to see exciting romance, not people who act like an old married couple. Felix and Miri are two good-looking athletes who can get the fans excited about romance again.
BB: When Aksel and Julia were together, there were a lot of broken hearts. Women wanted to be with Aksel and men with Julia. Are hearts breaking all over Germany because Felix and Miri are together?
David: Yes. Felix seems to have a sizable following of both women and gay men, even though he is definitely straight. Miri also has a lot of male followers. But their true fans want to see them happy, so they will be in favor of their relationship.
BB: Let's imagine for a moment that a female Alpine skier is gay and the partner of another female Alpine skier. Would it be possible for them to be a power couple that could replace Benni and Marlies?
Sarah: Yes. That is something new and different, yet the two women would be with their own kind.
David: I agree with Sarah about a gay or lesbian Alpine skiing couple being a refreshing change from a straight couple. If the right people were involved, there could be a gay Alpine power couple.
BB:  Sarah, a gay Alpine skiing or biathlon couple is okay, but a couple where one person is an Alpine skier and the other is a biathlete is not?
Sarah: That's right. First a romance starts off between two athletes that use skis, like a biathlete and a ski jumper. But once you allow mixed couples like that to become the "in thing," then it heads us down a slippery slope. The next thing you know, an Alpine skier will want to be with his cow!
BB: I'm a bit confused here. How does an Alpine skier having a relationship with a biathlete lead to someone wanting to date his farm animals?
Sarah: It doesn't go right from someone dating a person in a similar sport to dating his cow or sheep. First it begins by two people in slightly different sports dating each other. When that is considered acceptable, then next thing you know, the Alpine skier is in a relationship with someone who plays golf or does curling. It's a shorter step than you think from a different sport to a cow or chicken.
David:  Hey, wait a minute. What do you have against curling? It's a great winter sport.
Sarah: Curling is shuffleboard on ice. It's not a real sport!
David: Oh yeah! You try standing on ice and wielding a broom!
Sarah: It's also very boring. A match takes forever.
David: Curling takes a lot of skill and balance. It's not a sport for wimps. But I bet you would be an ace at curling since I can tell that you are good with a broom. You probably even have a pointy black hat to go with your broom.
BB: Time out! Let's get back on track. We are supposed to be talking about whether or not Felix and Miri should be the ski world's new power couple, not the merits of curling. 
David: Are you saying that you don't like curling either?
BB: No. I have watched my share of curling because it's the only thing that Eurosport shows in the winter. 
David: I would never have consented to this interview if I knew you were so biased against curling!
BB: Curling is a fine game. Now can we talk about Felix and Miri?
Sarah: You like curling?!? I didn't realize that I was being interviewed by one of those European socialist reporters. You are as liberal as everyone else in the media. May you be struck dead by a lightning bolt!
BB: I am not biased, liberal, or conservative. I am part of the most intrepid team of journalists in the business. 
David: Curling is not just a game, it is an Olympic sport. I take that back. It's the greatest Olympic sport ever. It has the grace of ice skating, the strength of weightlifting, and the excitement of Alpine skiing.
BB: Speaking of Alpine skiing, can we get back to Felix and Miri?
Sarah: David, you have the world's lowest boredom threshold.
BB: Well, it looks like we'll never know if Felix and Miri will replace Benni and Marlies as the ski world's new power couple because we are out of time. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: It looks like some things are better being left unknown.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Athlete Profile: Henrik Kristoffersen

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Before we begin our interview, US racer Lindsey Vonn had a crash in training and will have a MRI on her knee. We hope that this is just a precautionary measure and that she is okay. 

Nineteen year old Norwegian racer Henrik Kristoffersen surprised a lot of people with his 3rd place finish in Levi last Sunday. Those who follow World Cup ski racing believed that it was just a matter of  time for Henrik to get a podium finish after establishing himself as a young racer to watch last season. Henrik appears to be the next in a long line of great Attacking Vikings from Norway. One of our intrepid reporters had a chance to talk to Henrik before he left Levi. Let's get to know Henrik a little better and find out what he has to say.

BB: Henrik, congratulations on your 3rd place finish in Levi. You had a very fast second run to move up to third place after being 4th in the first run.
Kristoffersen: Thank you. I went into Levi wanting to do my best and to see how I measure up to the others. It's hard to know where you stand until the first race of the season. A good start gives me confidence for the season.
BB: You certainly impressed a lot of people. Do you think you could win an Olympic slalom medal?
Kristoffersen: I would like to win a medal in Sochi. A gold medal would be awesome!
BB: Do you think that Marcel Hirscher should be worried?
Kristoffersen: Marcel is great and I hope that I can be as consistent as  he is.
BB: I'm sure you will be. If you had won the race in Levi, you would have won a reindeer.
Kristoffersen: I know. It would have been cool to have my very own reindeer.
BB: If you won the reindeer, what would you have named him?
Kristoffersen: I probably would have named him Kveldsmat.
BB: Not Thor?
Kristoffersen: No. Kveldsmat is a much more appropriate name for a reindeer.
BB: Tell our readers what Kveldsmat means in English.
Kristoffersen: Supper.
BB: What a terrible name! It's a good thing you didn't win the race. Ferdinand is a much better name.
Kristoffersen: Kveldsmat is the perfect name! I am Norwegian and we eat a lot of reindeer meat. Have you ever had a grilled reindeer steak? There's nothing like it.
BB: Does it taste like chicken?
Kristoffersen: No, it tastes like reindeer. If you were really intrepid, you would try a grilled reindeer steak.
BB: I happen to be very intrepid! The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters in the business! Anyway, I tried ojlmsfjaegger when I interviewed Kjetil Jansrud and lived to tell about it.
Kristoffersen: How did you like them? The ojlmsfjaegger that Kjetil's grandmother makes for the team are the very best!
BB: They were actually quite good. (short pause) How much do you know about reindeer behaviour?
Kristoffersen: I am Norwegian. Reindeer behaviour is a required school subject.
BB: You would be the perfect person to explain why Ferdinand refused to go onto the podium when he was awarded to Marcel Hirscher.
Kristoffersen: That was my fault.
BB: How was it your fault?
Kristoffersen:  Ferdinand overheard me talking to Marcel and Mario Matt on the podium. I told them that I wished I won the reindeer so I could make ojlmsfjaegger from its heart. Ferdinand looks like he would have the perfect-sized heart for ojlmsfjaegger. I also asked Marcel if he would invite me over for reindeer steaks.
BB: You didn't!
Kristofferson: I did. But I forgot one fundamental fact about reindeer. They have extremely sensitive hearing. Ferdinand understood everything that I said to Marcel and Mario.
BB: What language were you speaking?
Kristoffersen: English. Marcel and Mario speak and understand English.
BB: You are telling me that a baby reindeer brought up in Finland understands English?
Kristoffersen: Space aliens on "Star Trek" and science fiction movies all understand English. Why wouldn't a Finnish reindeer?
BB: You have a good point.  Is that why Marcel stood at a distance when petting Ferdinand? Mikaela Shiffrin was hugging her reindeer, but Marcel stood far away from his.
Kristoffersen: Probably. I think Ferdinand was afraid that Marcel would eat him after hearing me talk.
BB: I think that Ferdinand had a valid reason for being scared. Mikaela wants to keep track of Rudolf and see how much he is growing. If you won the reindeer, you would be counting down the days until you could have it for dinner.
Kristoffersen: If you were Norwegian, you would have had the same thoughts. 
BB: Do you think the reindeer herders of Finland will hire a Mafia hit man to come after you for your remarks about Ferdinand?
Kristoffersen: I hope not. Ferdinand is Marcel's reindeer, so it's his decision what to do with him. But I can give him my favorite recipe for reindeer stew or let him borrow my copy of "365 Ways to Cook Reindeer." 
BB: Well, Henrik, it looks like we are just about out of time. I want to wish you a healthy and successful season. I'm sure we will continue to see you on the podium. Good luck in Sochi!
Kristoffersen: Thank you.
BB: And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: If our reporters won a reindeer for being intrepid, they would not eat it.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Levi Summary

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The first slalom races of the year are over. Mikaela Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher were worthy winners in Levi and we congratulate them. We also congratulate Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Tina Maze, Mario Matt, and Henrik Kristoffersen for their podium finishes. The others will talk about how Henrik got his first podium finish at age 19, or how it looks like Marcel is headed for his third overall Globe, so we won't. Our intrepid reporter in Levi is bringing our readers the stories about the weekend's races that the others don't dare to print. Instead of our usual interview format, we will use news briefs. Let's find out what the others did not dare to print.

Biggest Comeback Since the Universe Was Created: Sorry Lindsey Vonn, but Julien Lizeroux of France had the best comeback this season. We will get serious for a moment and print something that the others have already covered. Julien missed over two seasons due to injuries. He had low expectations for himself in Levi, especially with start number 63. His goal was to have a good first run and, if he was lucky, make it into the second run. Julien finished the first run tied for 28th place and moved up to 17th after the second run. Chapeau to Julien for his amazing comeback! Welcome back, Julien!  We at the Blickbild wish you more success this season. 

Reindeer Saga: The winners of the Levi slaloms each won a reindeer. Mikaela Shiffrin named hers Rudolf and Marcel Hirscher named his Ferdinand. While Rudolf happily went up to Mikaela, Ferdinand refused to go onto the men's podium to meet Marcel. At first Ferdinand's handlers thought that he was just trying to prove to his fellow reindeer that he was not gay. Then the reindeer herders realized what was happening. Third place finisher Henrik Kristoffersen is Norwegian. Ferdinand overheard Henrik telling Marcel and Mario Matt that he looked like he would have the perfect sized heart for ojlmsfjaegger. Henrik even shared his mother's favorite ojlmsfjaegger recipe with Marcel and Mario. After hearing what Henrik said, Ferdinand was understandably afraid to go onto the podium. Reindeer have very sensitive hearing, plus every reindeer north of the Arctic Circle knows the association between Norwegians and ojlmsfjaegger. Note to those who are not our regular readers: Ojlmsfjaegger are cubes of pickled reindeer heart with a special smoked salmon and chocolate sauce. They are a beloved Norwegian birthday treat.

More on the Reindeer: Contrary to rumors floating around Levi, neither Rudolf nor Ferdinand will be sold to Norway and used to make ojlmsfjaegger or other meals. They will remain in Finland with their herds. Rudolf and Ferdinand will be equipped with the latest in video technology so that Mikaela and Marcel can watch them through Skype anytime they wish. Like good helicopter parents, Mikaela and Marcel can ensure that their babies are not being bullied or otherwise abused by their fellow reindeer or their herders.

Dr. Djibuku vs Dr. Mabongo: It looks like German team witch doctor, Dr. Mabongo, is back in favor after six German women made it into the second run on Saturday.  This week Dr. Mabongo gets the edge over French team witch doctor Dr. Djibuku. While France also had six men in the second run on Sunday, three of them did not finish it. All six German women finished their second run in Levi. Maria Hoefl-Riesch was 2nd, Christina Geiger 6th, and the other four German ladies were 12th, 16th, and tied for 23rd. 

Sweden's Curse: It looks like the curse against the Swedish team has still not been lifted. Sweden is still winless. Ski racing fans are trying to figure out exactly how many yak milk pellets it will take for the Mongolian judge to order the curse lifted. Last year's defending champion, Andre Myhrer, made a huge error in the first run and failed to qualify for the second. The best Swedish finishers in Levi were 5th place Matthias Hargin and 8th place Frida Hansdotter. We believe that Sweden is finally starting to realize that kidnapping Dr. Mabongo last February in Schladming was such not a good idea after all. Dr. Mabongo was found hidden in Matthias Hargin's speed suit and Frida Hansdotter was his actual abductor. Oh the ironies of life!

Perfect Score: Felix Neureuther gets the award for the most artistic racer this season. In Soelden he got high marks for staying on his feet when he lost a ski in the second run.  But in Levi, the judges gave him a score of 17 out of a possible 10 points. Felix did a cartwheel into a perfect sideways somersault/shoulder roll, got to his feet, and carried on skiing. He didn't even miss a gate! Watch it here. All six judges on the sideline, even the extremely strict Estonian judge, gave Felix a score of 10. But because Felix was able to finish the run, and even score points, the International Ski Federation (FIS) allowed the judges to give him bonus points for style and artistic impression. French racer Alexis Pinturault fell and slid on his back a long way down the course. But the judges were not impressed and gave Alexis a score of 7.3. After the race, both Felix and Alexis said that they were trying to promote the new sport of Alpine gymnastics so that it can become an Olympic sport in 2018.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: If Alpine gymnastics becomes an Olympic sport, our intrepid reporters will be there to cover it.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Scandal in Soelden?

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Fans of US racer Julia Mancuso were disappointed when she barely failed to qualify for a second run in Soelden. Imagine their surprise and delight when 30th place Japanese ski racer Emi Hasegawa was disqualified and Julia got an opportunity for a second run. Hasegawa was disqualified for an equipment violation but no specifics were given. After hearing rumours that there may have been some foul play going on, we sent one of our intrepid reporters to Austria to figure out what really happened in Soelden. We were unable to contact anyone from either the US Ski Team or the Japanese Ski Federation. But our old friend, Schladming police chief Hermann Mayer, was willing to talk to us about what happened in Soelden. Let's find out what he has to say. 

BB: Herr Mayer, were you actually at the women's race in Soelden?
Mayer: Of course! I attend all of the ski races in Austria. I not only watch the races, I hand out Hermann Maier's autograph cards because people think I am the Herminator and not the police chief. 
BB: Schladming must not have any crime if you can take weekends off to attend ski races.
Mayer: The biggest crime in the history of ski racing occurred  in my town during the World Championships! But other than that, we have almost no crime in Schladming. It is a very safe place.
BB: By biggest crime in the history of ski racing, you mean a course worker failing to clear away some soft snow from a jump in the women's Super-G race, which caused Lindsey Vonn to fall and injure her knee?
Mayer: That was not a crime; that was an accident. I'm talking about Sweden kidnapping the German team's witch doctor. Our methods for getting the witch doctor back are now part of the curriculum in police academies all over Austria. Dr. Mabongo's kidnapping was not in vain.
BB: That's great to hear. Our intrepid researchers heard about some foul play going on in Soelden. Is that really true or just a rumor?
Mayer: We have heard various stories and are checking them all out.
BB: Were any witch doctors involved?
Mayer: Despite the higher number of witch doctors than last season, there were no witch doctors involved.
BB: So nobody paid off a witch doctor to put a curse on Emi Hasegawa's equipment?
Mayer: No. All of the witch doctors were told in pre-race briefings that they were not allowed to put any voodoo curses on opposing teams' skiers or their equipment. In fact, the International Ski Federation (FIS) is formulating a special Code of Conduct for Witch Doctors to prevent too many curses and counter-curses during races. The skiers will have to win on their own, just like in the old days.
BB: What about Mafia hit men? I know that Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli works for both Red Bull and HEAD. As we know, HEAD is one of Julia's sponsors.
Mayer: We did not see any Mafia hit men at the races in Soelden. None of the skiers requested bodyguards at the races.
BB: Can you tell us what activity went on in Soelden that requires a police investigation?
Mayer: According to the Japanese, the US ski team bribed the FIS's equipment checker to say that Hasegawa was not in compliance. The Japanese also claim that the US gave them money to keep the matter quiet. The US is denying everything and said that Hasegawa's trainers were at fault for her non-compliant equipment and that Julia deserved her place in the second run.
BB: When did all of these payoffs supposedly take place?
Mayer: I have heard different things. The first version, which makes the most sense, is that they happened after the first run. I also heard another story that the payoffs happened right after Julia finished her first run and the US team knew she had a poor run. Yet another version of events is that the payoffs happened before the race even started.
BB: That last one does not make sense. There was no way to know before the race that Julia would be 31st after the first run and Hasegawa 30th. 
Mayer: One of the police officers found a crystal ball, an Ouija board, and a deck of Tarot cards in the US team's equipment truck. We are checking them out as well as other leads.
BB: Are other Austrian police agencies involved with your investigation?
Mayer: Yes. Interpol is also involved, as is my faithful bloodhound Fido.
BB: How can a dog follow a money trail? 
Mayer:  Fido is a bloodhound and can follow any trail, even an electronic one.
BB: He sounds like a real wonder dog. (slight pause) What have you found so far that you can disclose to us?
Mayer: As I said before, we found a crystal ball. It is now in a lab in Vienna. Special technicians will test it to see if it is a proper crystal ball for predicting the future or simply a decorative item. We will find out in the next week after all of the test results are in. The Tarot cards and Ouija board are also being tested.
BB: Was there anything else that seemed suspicious? The US doesn't have a team witch doctor and Vinnie went back to the States with Lindsey Vonn on Tiger Woods' jet. 
Mayer: We did find an unusual deposit into the Japanese Ski Federation's account that was set up for Soelden. It came from a numbered Swiss account. Interpol agents are in the process of finding out who owns that account and why money was transferred to the Japanese federation.
BB: How much money was deposited into the Japanese account?
Mayer: I cannot disclose the amount. Suffice it to say it was enough to get our attention.
BB: Could it have been money transferred from Japan because the racers and their trainers had some unexpected expenses?
Mayer: That is the most plausible explanation. But we must check out where the money came from to be 100% sure.
BB: There is also the claim that the US paid off the FIS to disqualify Hasegawa so that Julia could race. Were there any unusual money transfers to the FIS or withdrawals from any US accounts?
Mayer: We are checking that out but so far have found nothing. But there are a lot of accounts to check with only one dog. When we have anything else to report, you will be the first to know.
BB: What about the other Austrian police and Interpol agents?
Mayer: Unfortunately, Interpol didn't give us as many agents as we would have liked. The same goes for the other police agencies. I guess they figured that since Fido and I were the ones who got Dr. Mabongo back for Germany, the two of us can figure out if there was collusion between the US and FIS to disqualify Emi Hasegawa or if  she really did have an equipment violation.
BB: Are you involved with the elephants that were found by the Austrian women's team when they were training before the race?
Mayer: Yes. In fact, the Austrian police and Interpol are more concerned with the elephants than with any possible bribery or other wrongdoing in Soelden. There is a joint Gendarmarie-Interpol task force working on the elephant case. (see this story)
BB: Have you figured out where the elephants came from?
Mayer: That's the odd thing. We talked with every zoo in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia, and nobody is missing any elephants. Nobody knows where they came from or how they got to Soelden.
BB: Those elephants were supposed to be used to invade Slovenia. The invaders were going to cross the Alps on them. 
Mayer: The last person to do that was Hannibal. It worked for him, but it didn't turn out so well for his elephants.
BB: The invasion of Slovenia was luckily cancelled. But someone evidently forgot about the elephants and left them in the mountains.
Mayer: We suspected that someone was up to no good. Our original thought was that the US was going to storm the Japanese team's hotel with the elephants in order to disqualify Emi and get Julia in the race. They decided to stash the elephants in a remote place in the mountains, but the elephants got hungry and wandered to where the Austrians were training. The timing really didn't fit because the elephants were found the week before the race, before anyone knew the outcome of the first run. But the US did have that crystal ball, Ouija board and Tarot cards, so they may have known something that we didn't.
BB: What is going to happen to the elephants?
Mayer: They have been taken to the Salzburg Zoo, where they are being fed. We are in the process of trying to find out where they came from so we can return them to their rightful owners. If we can't find their owners, we will put them up for adoption. If you know people who can give an elephant a good loving home, have them call my office in Schladming or Interpol.
BB: If any of our readers would like an elephant, please contact Herr Mayer or your nearest Interpol field office. Herr Mayer, thank you for your time and information. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We never resort to foul play to get a story.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Vonn and Federer Athletic Duel

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

US skiing star Lindsey Vonn and Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer have challenged each other to a duel. Federer dared Vonn to a tennis match. Vonn then countered with asking him to do a ski race against her. They decided to settle on a golf match. Or did they? We normally would not report this story because we considered it too non-newsworthy even by our standards. But when not just one, but two, Austrian tabloids reported it, we figured they were onto something. We dispatched one of our intrepid reporters to Switzerland and another to Colorado to get the story. Our reporters were unable to interview Lindsey or Roger. But they were able to obtain a transcript of the meeting between representatives of Federer and Vonn that took place in an undisclosed location. They will be referred to as LV and RF for simplicity. Let's find out what they said.

LV: Lindsey will play tennis against Roger if he agrees to be in a ski race against her.
RF: Remember that Roger is Swiss and learned to ski at a very early age, just like every other kid in Switzerland.
LV: This would be Lindsey's big chance to ski against a man after the International Ski Federation turned down her request to compete in men's races. And she has been playing tennis as part of her injury rehab, so she is ready to take on Roger.
RF: Both of these would be a lose-lose situation for Roger. If he beats Lindsey, he will be viewed as the big gorilla who beat up a poor, defenseless woman. If Lindsey beats him, he will forever be the wimp who lost to a girl. We need to find a different sport where both have a chance and where Roger will still be viewed positively if he beats Lindsey.
LV: How about golf?
RF: Have you forgotten who Lindsey's boyfriend is? I'm sure that Tiger gave her a golf lesson or two. And if they did play golf, would it be on a men's or women's course? Or would they just play mini-golf? I'm sure there has to be something else.
LV: Artistic gymnastics. It gets the highest ratings at the Olympics. Everybody loves gymnastics.
RF: I don't think that would work. Men and women compete on different pieces of gymnastics apparatus.
LV: We can limit the competition to the two common events, which are vaulting and floor exercise.
RF: Hey, wait a minute! I saw childhood photos of Lindsey and she did gymnastics as a kid. She would have an unfair advantage over Roger. Anyway, Roger doesn't have the right body type for gymnastics.
LV: How about javelin throwing? Roger has strong arms from tennis and Lindsey is very strong from all of her workouts.
RF: That's also a no-go. Lindsey can throw things really far. I have seen her throw her ski poles many times when she loses a race. If she wasn't a ski racer, she would have won an Olympic gold medal in javelin throwing.
LV: What about bowling? That's a sport where both men and women compete on an equal basis. Roger can't possibly have any problems with bowling.
RF: Would that be American bowling or European style?
LV: American bowling of course. Lindsey doesn't know how to do European bowling. The rules for the games are too complex. American bowling is much simpler.
RF: Since Roger does not have much experience with American bowling, Lindsey would automatically win. Anyway, we can't do anything that would tire out Roger's tennis arm.
LV: I'm out of ideas. Why don't you come up with something?
RF: How about a darts or archery tournament?
LV: Are you kidding?
RF: No. Men and women both have equal chances in darts or archery. It would be fun for both of them.
LV: I think you're forgetting this is going to be televised to the world. Darts and archery are not exactly the most exciting things to watch on TV.
RF: I was also going to suggest snooker, but that is also rather boring to watch.
LV: That's a good thing because Lindsey doesn't play snooker. She's not British!
RF: Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way. Instead of Lindsey and Roger competing in a sport, why don't they play a game? Chess is a very good game. You don't need to have big muscles or athletic ability to play chess.
LV: Uh...Lindsey doesn't play chess. It would be too geeky for her image if she was shown on TV playing chess.
RF: What about Monopoly? Everybody has played Monopoly. In the interest of neutrality, we could play Lithuanian Monopoly so that there is no bias toward the US or Swiss version.
LV: Lindsey doesn't like Monopoly because it involves handling money. Anything that's money-related gives her nightmares about her former tax problems.
RF: Monopoly money is not real money. It's play money.
LV: It doesn't matter. Money is money. I think we will have to give up on the idea of Lindsey and Roger competing against each other in something.
RF: No, we should not give up. I have one more suggestion. How about a match of Rock, Paper, Scissors? It doesn't involve handling money, it isn't considered nerdy, and both men and women are on a level playing field.
LV: Rock, Paper, Scissors would be perfect! Let's set up a date, preferably before the race in Beaver Creek.
RF: I'll meet with Roger, you meet with Lindsey, and then we will set up the TV date for the Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors showdown.
LV: OK, let's meet back here same time next week with all of the details. This will be the biggest sporting event of the year!
At this point both representatives shook hands and left.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We travel the world to bring our readers the stories that nobody else dares to print.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Soelden Redux

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Last weekend's opening races in Soelden were very exciting. The others will write about Ted Ligety's third win in a row or Lara Gut's surprise victory, which was her first in giant slalom. We won't because they have been replayed to death. One of our intrepid reporters was in Soelden, bringing our readers all the stories that the others did not dare to print.  Instead of our usual interview format, we will count down eight other memorable things about Soelden. Let's find out what they are.

8. Bode Miller is back. Yawn. Who cares? Other skiers have come back to the World Cup and scored points after longer absences from more severe injuries. There will be others making their comebacks in Levi, Lake Louise, and Beaver Creek. I'm sure some of them will also score points in their races. They will just have less fanfare. If anyone deserves big applause, it's Bode's wife Morgan. She was the one taking care of Bode's son and changing his nappies (diapers) while Bode was out having a good time racing.

7. The witch doctor's curse. Ski fans were hoping that Germany's witch doctor, Dr. Mabongo,  would not really carry out the Mongolian judge's order to curse the Swedish team. As our regular readers know, Dr. Mabongo was ordered to put a curse on Sweden so that its skiers would not win any races this season as a punishment for abducting him from the German team during the World Championships. (see this story) The best Swedish women's finisher was Maria Pietilae-Holmner in 7th. Andre Myhrer was the top Swedish man in Soelden in 23rd place. If Sweden does not have good finishes in future races, there is a possibility that the curse will be lifted because poor performances would be punishment enough. If the Swedish Ski Association sends the judge enough fermented yak milk pellets, his decision could be reversed even sooner.

6. Will Germany fire Dr. Mabongo? It looks like Dr. Mabongo, the German witch doctor, is coming under fire from the Deutscher Ski Verband (DSV). Even though Viktoria Rebensburg finished 3rd and her teammate Veronique Hronek finished a surprising 11th, Maria Hoefl-Riesch had a technical error and failed to finish. The men had a hard time with Fritz Dopfer finishing 21st and Stephan Luitz 22nd. Felix Neureuther lost a ski and failed to finish. Instead of realizing that Maria making an error and Felix losing a ski were things that can happen during a technical race, the DSV is blaming Dr. Mabongo for failing to prepare the German skiers properly. They also believe that Dr. Mabongo was unable to counteract curses and voodoo magic from other teams' witch doctors because he is getting older and losing his powers. Maybe he has been eating too much schnitzel and drinking too much beer. Whatever the reason, hopefully this is a temporary setback for Dr. Mabongo.

5. Neureuther scores 9.5 for Artistic Impression. When Felix Neureuther lost his ski in the second run, he did a great job keeping his balance. The judges on the sideline were so impressed that they gave him high marks for artistic impression. The German judge even gave Felix a perfect score of 10, but that was thrown out along with the Austrian judge's low score of 8.6. The four other judges' scores averaged 9.5. But Felix's serviceman was given an average score of 0.5 from the judging panel. For some strange reason the American judge gave the serviceman a score of 9.7. Fortunately, that score was thrown out. The serviceman appealed his score because he claimed that Felix's skis obviously had been cursed by an opposing team's witch doctor. His appeal was denied.

4. Best Hair. No race recap would be complete without commenting on who had the best hair. There was a tie between World Cup first-timer Kieffer Christianson of the USA and Austria's Rainer Schoenfelder. Kieffer had a short bowl haircut with a tail in the back and was often mistaken for a monk in Soelden. He lost count of the number of times he was called, "Brother Kieffer" over the weekend.  It is a tradition with the US men's ski team that racers making their World Cup debuts get a goofy haircut from their teammates. Kieffer's haircut certainly fit that description. Rainer's hair was a very wild 1980s big hair style. Think '80s rock group hair combined with an Afro. It looks like Rainer will have to keep his hair for a while because several families of birds have made their nests in it. Who knows what else Rainer will find in his hair when he cuts it after the baby birds leave their nests. He could have more things hidden in his hair than Harpo Marx had in his trench coat.

3. Three is the luckiest number. Both women's winner Lara Gut and men's winner Ted Ligety had start number 3. There are rumors that several ski federations are going to stuff the number draw box with a lot of papers with the number 3 on them in Levi and remove the ones with other numbers. FIS officials will post security guards and even hire Red Bull Mafia enforcer Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli to monitor the bib number draw in Levi.

2. Revenge of the Midgets. Lara Gut, Tina Weirather, and Veronique Hronek probably spent a lot of time in school being teased about their height, or lack thereof. On Saturday they got their revenge toward all of those tall people who told them that they would make ideal mates for Snow White's 7 Dwarves. Lara won the race, Tina was 5th, and Veronique 11th. Any tall people wanting to challenge Lara, Tina, or Veronique to a ski race will lose "big time." On Sunday, Ted Ligety, Alexis Pinturault, and Marcel Hirscher earned the first three podium places. All three of those men are not exactly National Basketball Association material. But on Sunday they stood the tallest in Soelden.

1. Les Wheaties. While Germany's Dr. Mabongo's star is fading, France's witch doctor, Dr. Djibuku, is now the hottest witch doctor in the World Cup. After French skiers took 6 out of the top 11 places in Soelden, racers from other teams were asking them what they had for breakfast on Sunday. Alexis Pinturault was 2nd, Steve Missilier 4th, Thomas Fanara 7th, Cyprien Richard 8th, Mathieu Faivre 9th, and Thomas Mermillod Blondin 11th. Dr. Djibuku talked to our intrepid reporter and here is what he had to say. At first Dr. Djibuku said that a good witch doctor never reveals his secrets. Then he said he was in a supermarket looking for ingredients for his potions and saw a box of the American cereal Wheaties. It said, "Breakfast of Champions" on the box. Dr. Djibuku was intrigued and bought a box. On race day he told the French skiers that they had to eat Les Wheaties for breakfast instead of their usual fare. The Wheaties obviously worked. Now the French team will eat Les Wheaties for breakfast every race day. Even Alexis Pinturault had Les Wheaties for breakfast with the team and will stick with Dr. Djibuku instead of the Red Bull witch doctor.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters eat their Wheaties every day. That is why they are so intrepid.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Vonn, Others To Skip Soelden

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

By now everyone knows that Lindsey Vonn is skipping out on racing at the World Cup season opener in Soelden. The others have already reported about Lindsey's cancellation, so we would normally avoid it like we would  a river full of hungry piranas. But there are others who have also decided that they won't be racing in Soelden. They just did not get as much media attention as Vonn. One of our intrepid reporters is on the scene in Soelden and found two other American skiers who will not be racing in Soelden. They called a press conference to announce that they are coming back from injuries but decided not to race this weekend. Our journalist was the only one who showed up. As a result, we were able to interview them and bring you a story that nobody else dared to print. The skiers' names are Dick Nessman and Jane Volinsky. Let's find out what Dick and Jane have to say.

BB: Dick, let's start with you. What was the nature of your injury?
Dick: Twenty years ago I fell while skiing and broke my shoulder. This is the first time I have been back on skis since then. 
BB: You look like you're about 40 to 45. Therefore, you haven't been on skis since you were in your mid-20s?
Dick: I'm 47. 
BB: Don't you think you're a little old to be racing in the World Cup?
Dick: Patrik Jaerbyn was racing in his 40s. There have been guys in their 40s and 50s who competed in the Olympics and World Championships. 
BB: Patrik Jaerbyn had a long career as a world class ski racer before he retired. He also trained seriously for races up until the day he retired and never took 20 years off.  
Dick: I don't think that anyone has come back 20 years after incurring an injury. I would have made World Cup skiing history for my big comeback. 
BB: Sorry, Dick, but if Lindsey decided to race in Soelden, she would have been the history maker. Her comeback in Soelden could have been the most spectacular ever in the history of skiing.
Dick: But she was only off of skis for a few months and I'm coming back after 20 years. 
BB: Sorry, but when Lindsey returns to racing, her comeback will be the most impressive of all time. Nothing can beat it, not even a 20-year absence. (short pause) Why did you wait 20 years to get back on skis? Were you afraid of being re-injured?
Dick: Fear of injury had nothing to do with it. After my injury and surgery, I was transferred by my firm from Colorado to Iowa. It is very flat in Iowa and there is no place to ski. I got married, had kids, and just could not find the time for a ski holiday. Now that my kids are older, I decided to take them to Soelden for the races. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to make my big comeback.
BB: What made you decide to come to Soelden?
Dick: I did a little bit of local ski racing when I was in college and am the only ski racing fan in the state of Iowa. If Bode Miller, who is not that much younger than me, can make his comeback in Soelden, then I could too. 
BB: Did you really think you had a chance against men who have trained their whole lives as ski racers?
Dick: Yes. Soelden is a tough course and there are a lot of racers who can't finish. I figured if I went at a careful pace, I could make it into the top 30 and get a second run. There are many guys who can't finish the second run, which could give me a good chance at a being on the podium. 
BB: What made you decide to skip racing in Soelden?
Dick: I was skiing fine, though at first I felt a little rusty after not skiing for 20 years. But after watching some of the other racers train, I realized that the odds of getting on the podium were slim to none. I decided not to race here and will make my comeback at a local master's race in the States. In the meantime, I will be a spectator here.
BB: Good luck with your comeback. I'm sure it will be spectacular. (short pause) Jane, tell our readers about your injury.
Jane: I was out hiking in July 2012 and got a splinter in my left pinky. I couldn't get it all out and the part that was left in ended up getting infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. My doctor thought he would have to amputate my finger. I couldn't ski for a whole season because it hurt too much to have my hand inside a glove and to hold a ski pole.
BB: It looks like you have all of your fingers. How did you recover?
Jane: I had surgery over the summer to remove the splinter fragment. The infection went away and now I am able to wear a glove without pain and ski again. I came to Soelden with the hope of being able to show the world I could come back from my life-threatening injury.
BB: Have you done any ski racing before?
Jane: No, but I am Lindsey Vonn's biggest fan.
BB: Stop right there! You can't be Lindsey's biggest fan because you don't look a thing like her. You have short dark hair and Lindsey has long blonde hair. If you were really Lindsey's biggest fan, you would make an effort to look just like her.
Jane:  Lindsey is not a natural blonde. She dyes her hair. But I decided that I would wear a blonde wig under my helmet when I raced so the spectators would think I was her.
BB: Why should you make your comeback to skiing here in Soelden? There are plenty of places in the States where you could get back on your skis.
Jane: I came to Soelden specifically to see Lindsey make her comeback. It would have been the biggest world event since the Berlin Wall came down. But she decided not to race here. I was disappointed almost to the point of depression. Then I had an idea.
BB: Which was?
Jane: My real name is Linda Jane Volinsky, but I always preferred to be called Jane. But I thought I could use the initials of my first and last names to my advantage. I approached one of the coaches of the US ski team and asked if I could race in Lindsey's place since we had the same initials and I was also coming back from an injury.
BB: What did the trainer say?
Jane: He told me to work out with the team. Afterward, he asked if I thought I could get on the podium in the race. I told him probably not since it was my first time back on skis in a year.  At that moment I realized that if Lindsey felt that she couldn't get on the podium in Soelden, then neither could I. She only wanted to race there if she was assured of a podium place. I didn't want to be a disgrace to my idol by finishing off the podium, so I made up my mind not to make my comeback on skis in Soelden. I will wait another month for my finger to fully heal.
BB: Since you're not making your comeback in Soelden, where will you do so?
Jane: I live in northern California, so probably at one of the ski areas by Lake Tahoe.
BB: I hope your finger feels 100% ready soon and that your comeback is a success.
Jane: Thank you. I know I will come back stronger than ever.
BB: Well, it looks like we are just about out of time. Dick and Jane, I want to thank you for your time and wish you both success in your big comebacks. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We get the stories that nobody else cares to report.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.