Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mid-Season Report Card

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The 2013/14 World Cup season has pased the halfway point. It has been a very exciting one so far with 3 women in contention for an overall globe and 2 men who are miles above the rest of the field. But the thing that our readers really want to know at the midpoint of the season is...Which witch doctor is better so far this season, Germany's Dr. Mabongo or France's Dr. Djibuku? Dr. Mabongo works primarily with the German women's team and Dr. Djibuku with the French men. Our intrepid research team crunched a lot of numbers to give our readers a head-to-head comparison of witch doctors. Instead of our usual interview format, we will do an analysis of five different categories to compare the two witch doctors and the data used to grade them. We are using a 10-point scale for grading, with 10 being the highest mark. Let's find out who the top witch doctor in the World Cup is.

Nation's Cup. As of 19 January 2014, the French men had 2116 points with 18 racers. That is an average of 117.56 points per skier. The German women had 1207 points from 13 racers, which works out to an average of 92.85 points per racer. The French men are second in the overall men's Nation's Cup standings, and first in the Nation's Cup giant slalom standings, while the German women are 4th overall and not leading in any discipline. Dr. Djibuku gets the higher rating in this category. Scores: Dr. Djibuku 8.6, Dr. Mabongo 6.7.

Individual Overall Standings. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany is leading the women's overall and downhill standings this season. She is one of three women with top-5 finishes in all 5 disciplines this season. In addition, Maria is the only racer, male or female, to have podium finishes in 4 disciplines this season. Maria does not have a weak event. Her worst event is giant slalom, where she is ranked 12th. Germany has two women in the top 30 overall, Maria and Viktoria Rebensburg. France's Alexis Pinturault is 3rd in the men's overall standings and is first by far in the competition for the  Longines Rising Star Award. France has four men in the top 30 overall: Pinturault, Adrien Theaux, Thomas Fanara, and Jean-Baptiste Grange. Nobody on the French team has points in every discipline. This was a close one, but the edge here goes to Dr. Djibuku due to more racers in the top 30 overall. Scores: Dr. Djibuku 8.7, Dr. Mabongo 8.4.

Podium Finishes: The German women had 8 podium finishes: 7 from Maria Hoefl-Riesch and one from Viktoria Rebensburg. Two of Maria's podium finishes were victories. France had 8 podium finishes from three different men. Alexis Pinturault had 4 podium finishes and France's only win so far this season. Thomas Fanara and Adrien Theaux were each on the podium twice. Our intrepid analysts gave 10 points for a win and 5 points for podium finish. Using that system, Germany had 50 points and France 45.  But Dr. Djibuku still gets a slight edge due to France having three different men on the podium versus two for the German women. Scores: Dr. Djibuku 8.8,  Dr. Mabongo 8.7

Potential for being Kidnapped. Dr. Mabongo has the advantage here, since he was kidnapped by Sweden at the 2013 World Championships. Germany hasn't hired any bodyguards for its prized witch doctor, so someone else can theoretically snatch him. Dr. Djibuku has been a lot better at being unnoticed, although a Pygmy witch doctor is pretty easy to spot in Europe. Since Dr. Mabongo was the first witch doctor hired by a national ski federation, he will always be more well-known and therefore a bigger target for a potential abduction than Dr. Djibuku. Dr. Mabongo is also slightly smaller than Dr. Djibuku, which makes him easier to hide in a skier's speed suit. But with the French men being so good this year, especially the technical team, Dr. Djibuku's abduction potential has increased. Scores: Dr. Mabongo 9.8, Dr. Djibuku 8.3.

Magic, Voodoo, and Curses. It seems like there have been quite a lot of curses and counter-curses thrown this season. Sweden has been under a curse since last summer for stealing Dr. Mabongo from Germany. The Swedish racers were supposed to be winless this season. However, Jessica Lindell-Vikarby won the Beaver Creek giant slalom. The Swedish men have yet to win a race, though Andre Myhrer had a second place finish this season. It is still unknown whether the Mongolian judge actually lifted the curse order or if Jessica's victory was due to either Dr. Mabongo's power fading or a counter-curse from another witch doctor. Dr. Mabongo has worked a lot of magic with Maria Hoefl-Riesch and she has been on a recent hot streak. But what caused teammate Viktoria Rebensburg's illness? Was it caused by a bad potion that Dr. Mabongo gave her, or was she cursed by another witch doctor and Dr. Mabongo doesn't know the counter-curse? Some are also saying the last week's huge snowfall in Cortina and resulting race cancellations were caused by Dr. Mabongo in an attempt to keep Maria Hoefl-Riesch at the top of the overall standings. Dr. Djibuku discovered the American breakfast cereal Wheaties in Soelden and has been feeding them to the French men since then. According to sources at the French Ski Federation, Dr. Djibuku did not need to put any curses on opposing racers because the Wheaties have made the French men fast on their skis. Alexis Pinturault attributes his victory in the Wengen slalom to Dr. Djibuku and Les Wheaties. Our intrepid analysts have said that it is even between Drs. Mabongo and Djibuku. Both have scores of 8.5.

Final Anaylsis: It has been a very interesting and exciting first half of the World Cup racing season. Both witch doctors are very close, though Dr. Djibuku is slightly ahead of Dr. Mabongo. At this point, Dr. Djibuku is the reigning witch doctor in the World Cup. He has an average score of 8.58 in all five categories to Dr. Mabongo's average of 8.42. But in the world of voodoo, magic, curses, and counter-curses, anything can happen. We at the Blickbild wish all of the racers and their witch doctors a successful second half of the season.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.

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