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.

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