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.

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