Monday, February 18, 2013

Memorable Moments of Schladming

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Now that the World Championships in Schladming have ended, it's time to reflect on them and come up with a list of our 10 favorite highlights. The others will talk about Ted Ligety's 3 gold medals, Mikaela Shiffrin becoming the 3rd youngest world champion in history, Marcel Hirscher taking slalom gold and Mario Matt winning bronze in front of the home fans, Fritz Dopfer's run in the team event to secure a bronze medal for Germany, and the USA leading the medal count. Instead, we will be telling ski fans about all of the moments that the others didn't think to write about. Instead of our usual interview format, we will be using a list. 

10. The Devil (Almost) Made Me Do It: If young French super talent Alexis Pinturault placed 6th in the giant slalom event instead of 5th, he would have the numbers 6-6-6 as his placings. Pinturault was 6th in the slalom and combined events. Satanists would then claim that Pinturault was one of them, and fundamentalist Christians would do everything in their power to avoid him since he would have the mark of Satan. Fortunately, French trainers reported that Pinturault has never been possessed by the devil or other demons. It was strictly a coincidence that he came close to having a 6-6-6 finish in Schladming. 

9. No Confusion Here: Austrian skier Michaela Kirchgasser, the silver medalist in the slalom, will not confuse fans if she marries her current boyfriend. Her teammate Regina Sterz, formerly Regina Mader, totally baffled the ski world when she changed her name after getting married. Kirchgasser decided to be more considerate of the fans and commentators than Sterz was. Her boyfriend is Sebastian Kirchgasser. Michela's comment: "I saw what everyone went through when Regina got married and I was determined to avoid causing even more problems with the team, fans, and reporters. I searched all over Austria until I found a man with the same last name as me. If we get married, I won't have to change or hyphenate my name." We at the Blickbild hope that things work out well between Michaela and Sebastian.

8. Real Men Must Sometimes Ask For Directions: In the giant slalom event Swiss skier Didier Defago skied out. He stopped and looked around like he was lost. A course worker standing on the side of the piste explained that Didier stopped to ask which way down was the easiest. A spokesman for the Swiss team reported that Didier got his days mixed up. As he was skiing down the men's course, he suddenly realized that he was supposed to have competed in the women's giant slalom race the previous day. See this story about the Swiss men. Austrian skier Benjamin Raich had a similar experience in the slalom, when he stopped in the middle of his run. Unlike Defago, Raich was able to finish his run without having to ask for directions and ended up in 13th place.

7. An 8.7 From the Bulgarian Judge and 7.6 From the Ukrainian: Croatian skier Filip Zubcic crashed into German skier Felix Neureuther during the team event, knocking Neureuther off of his feet. The six judges watching the event gave Zubcic a total of 8.25 points for his fall and crash. The Bulgarian and Ukrainian judges' scores were thrown out because they were the high and low scores. The scores from the other four judges were averaged. The Bulgarian judge was revealed as being overly lenient and was later replaced with a Romanian judge, while the Ukrainian gave the lowest scores to everyone who fell. The Croatian trainer appealed to the judges for artistic impression bonus points since Zubcic took Neureuther down with him. Zubcic was the only skier to take down another during the team event, but the Croatian trainer's appeal was denied.

6. Shooting Blanks: The Swiss men's team will return home from Schladming with a grand total of zero medals. That's zero, none, null, zilch, nix, a goose egg, aught, naught, nada, non, nil. Only Lara Gut was able to redeem Switzerland with her silver medal in the Super-G. Even though the Swiss men were originally supposed to start competing in women's races next season, the International Ski Federation (FIS) granted them a waiver to start competing in them starting next weekend in Meribel. Here is how Lara Gut reacted to that news," I think the men are going to be really embarrassed when a petite woman like me beats them in races. They should be put to work constructing tunnels through the mountains instead. That way their male egos will stay intact."

5. Where Was Vinnie? That's the question that the whole ski world has been asking. Mafia enforcer Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli, who was hired by Red Bull to be US skier Lindsey Vonn's bodyguard in Schladming, was nowhere to be seen when Vonn fell during the Super-G race and injured her knee. See this story. It turns out that Razzovelli does not know how to ski, so he was unable to be by her side when she made her run down the Planai. She was on her own, totally unguarded. Because Razzovelli shirked his duties, Vonn landed awkwardly on a jump and tore knee ligaments. According to sources at Red Bull, Razzovelli is now in a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey. He suffered a mental breakdown from the guilt he felt at not being able to ski and therefore protect Vonn from injury. According to doctors, Razzovelli is in a catatonic state. He keeps repeating, "Kill Mr. R" from the time he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed at night.

4. The Understudy Comes Through: French skier Gauthier de Tessieres, who won the Super-G silver medal, was not even supposed to be in Schladming. He was sitting on his couch eating chips, drinking beer, and watching soap operas when he got a call from his trainer to go to Schladming and compete in place of his injured teammate Johan Clarey the next day. His story is the stuff of world championship legends. But Schladming was not the only time that De Tessieres shone as an understudy, as the Blickbild's intrepid research team learned. His school drama club performed "The Three Musketeers" and De Tessieres was the understudy for D'Artagnan's role. On opening night the actor playing D'Artagnan got sick with food poisoning and De Tessieres was called at the last minute to act. He did a brilliant job and replaced the original actor for the rest of the production. In addition, De Tessieres won a silver medal for his acting performance as the second-best actor in the play.

3. Witch Doctor Count: The Germans were the first ski team to get a witch doctor. See this story. France acquired a witch doctor just before the world championships and its team won medals. Sweden was thought to have a witch doctor, but it turned out that the Swedes kidnapped the German witch doctor. See this story  then this one. It turns out that Italy also has a witch doctor who helped the Azzurri win three medals. It is widely suspected that the USA also has a witch doctor because American skiers won 5 medals in Schladming, 4 of then gold. However, US team officials insisted that there is no team witch doctor, just very talented skiers. That was surprising. One would think that the US team would strongly believe in voodoo since most Americans seem to deny global warming. Judging from how the Swiss men performed in Schladming, they are in dire need of a witch doctor.

2. Revenge of the Witch Doctor: Continuing on the witch doctor theme, there was a lot of revenge going on between Germany and Sweden after the Swedes abducted the Germans' witch doctor. Sweden was upset that Germany's witch doctor was found just before Germany's last run in the team event. The Swedes had a pathetic performance against Austria in the gold medal round. But Sweden knew that revenge is sweet. The course setter for the second run of the women's slalom was the Swedish trainer. He deliberately set the course in a way that would make the Germans fail. Maria Hoefl-Riesch skied out and failed to finish. Lena Duerr finished in 21st place as the best German. But on Sunday it was the men's turn for revenge. Felix Neureuther won a silver medal, knocking Swedish star Andre Myhrer down to 4th place and off the podium. Neureuther commented, "Next time Sweden will think twice about stealing someone else's witch doctor."

1. Valentine's Day Chocolates: Norwegian skier Aksel Lund Svindal gave his girlfriend, US skier Julia Mancuso, a box of Milka chocolate hearts for Valentine's Day. The ski world thought that was a very romantic gesture from Aksel. But, unknown to Julia, Aksel removed half of the chocolates and replaced them with ojlmsfjaegger, which are a special Norwegian birthday treat. Ojlmsfaegger, as every Norwegian knows, are cubes of pickled reindeer heart covered in a special chocolate and smoked salmon sauce. Aksel and his teammates made the ojlmsfjaegger especially for Julia, even though it wasn't her birthday. They even made the ojlmsfjaegger look like real Milka hearts. The box was rewrapped in its plastic wrapper and given to Julia with a big bow on it. Julia seemed to enjoy the candy hearts. It is unknown at this time whether Julia ate real Milka chocolate hearts or the ojlmsfjaegger.

That concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive. The Blickbild wants to congratulate all of the skiers who participated in the world championships. Every skier, from the gold medalists to the last place finishers, gets our respect.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: All the news that our intrepid journalists report.

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