Friday, February 14, 2014

Olympic Overview Part 1

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The first week of the Sochi Olympics has been very exciting. The others will report about Switzerland winning two gold medals, a tie for gold in the women's downhill, the first Alpine skiing gold medal for Slovenia, and Christof Innerhofer earning two medals, so we will avoid those stories like live high voltage wires. Our intrepid reporters are in Sochi bringing our readers all of the news that the others don't dare to print. Instead of our usual interview format, we will use a list of events that the others didn't notice in Sochi. Let's find out what they are...
1. Most Noticeable Clothing. Germany gets the gold medal in this category. Their yellow, green, and blue striped jackets with red floral pants (for the women, the men wore white pants) set a new Olympic record for clashing colors and prints. They make the Norwegian curling uniforms look downright dull. The red floral pattern in the pants was also on the arms of the women's speed suits. We don't want to know what the designers at Bogner were taking when they created those outfits. Silver goes to the USA with their patchwork cardigans. First of all, who wears a cardigan in Russia in the winter? Secondly, they look like different children were assigned to knit a square and each one was sewn together to make a sweater. If any of the US athletes wants to go to Clown College after the Olympics, they have a ready-made outfit. Bronze goes to Argentina's polka-dotted ski suits. We didn't mention Hubertus von Hohenlohe's mariachi speed suit because he hasn't raced yet. Spoiler alert: It will be in next week's report.
2. I'd Like to Buy a Vowel. Some of the ski racers need to get together and exchange some vowels and consonants from their names. Nadia Jnglin-Kamer and Natko Zrncic-Dim could use some of  Ioan Valeriu Achiriloaie's extra vowels. In exchange, they could give Ioan Valeriu a consonant or two.
3. Did She or Didn't She? Julia Mancuso won a bronze medal in the super-combined race. Almost immediately, there was speculation whether she would bring her gold medal from Torino to the award ceremony. Her teammate, Lindsey Vonn, set a precedent in Vancouver after winning bronze in the Super-G. Vonn brought her gold medal from the downhill race to the Super-G award ceremony. For those who have been wondering, Julia left her Torino gold medal at home and happily accepted her bronze. But she did wear her famous tiara.
4. Longshots Rule. If you are gambling on who will win gold medals in Alpine skiing, your best bet is to pick a longshot to win. In three out of the four races run so far, only one favorite, Maria Hoefl-Reisch, won a gold medal. For those who are playing podium prediction games, your best bet is Icelandic racer Helga Maria Vilhajlmsdottir in the women's Super-G instead of Lara Gut, Tina Maze, or Maria Hoefl-Riesch.

5. Dr. Mabongo vs Dr. Djibuku. No Olympic analysis would be complete without a comparison of witch doctors. Germany's Dr. Mabongo had a better performance this week than France's witch doctor, Dr. Djibuku. It looks like Dr. Mabongo's job is secure, while Dr. Djibuku may be in danger of losing his.  Even though Maria Hoefl-Riesch finished 13th in the downhill, she won gold in the super-combined event and has been the only Olympian so far to defend a gold medal from Vancouver. The French men were not very good in either the downhill or super-combined. In fact, in the super-combined race Alexis Pinturault straddled a slalom gate, Thomas Mermillon-Blondin skied out with a fall, and Adrien Theaux finished 17th. Rumors are floating around Sochi that an opposing witch doctor put a curse on the French men. We will find out if Dr. Djibuku can counter that curse in the upcoming technical races.

6. The Most Decorated Olympian (in Training). If medals were given out for training races, Bode Miller would have 3 gold medals and a bronze. But they are not, and so far Bode is without a medal. He was 8th in the downhill and 6th in the super-combined. But wait! He has a good excuse for his performance in the real races. During the training runs it was sunny and the visibility was good. During the downhill and super-combined races the visibility was flat. Bode said that he has a hard time seeing in shade and flat visibility and does better when it is sunny because of his vision, or lack thereof. It turns out that Bode needs laser eye surgery. In fact, he now says that he should have had it over the summer but just couldn't find the time. It's hard to find time for eye surgery when your days consist of gym time, rehab, and leisure. In fact, earlier this season Bode asked Marcel Hirscher if he could borrow his seeing eye dog Whitey (see this story) to help guide him down race courses. Marcel refused to lend Whitey to Bode, saying that Whitey is now the Austrian team mascot and not available for hire.  He told Bode to get his own dog. Marcel also did not want Bode's wife to hold Whitey up for the cameras because she does not like to be picked up. Marcel thinks that Mrs. Miller should stick to local rent-a-babies.

7. Alpine Slopestyle, the New Olympic Sport. With slopestyle snowboarding being the latest Olympic sport, the Alpine skiers didn't want to be outdone. It started with Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde doing the limbo under a gate in the downhill race. Most fans don't know this, but Kilde is a limbo dancer in the off season. In a post-race interview, he told our intrepid reporter that he was simply practicing one of his moves to make the race more interesting. He was not allowed to continue because the rules say that even though he went under the gate, he still technically missed it. But he got a 9.2 from the Jamaican judge for his limbo move. Marie-Marchand Arvier had an artistic tumble into the safety nets during the women's downhill race. Even though her move was much more spectacular than Kilde's, the judges were not as impressed and gave her a score of 8.3. Two of the best slopestyle moves were performed during the men's super-combined race in the slalom run. The athletes figured if they could not handle Ante Kostelic's course setting, they may as well go out in a spectacular fashion. Andrew Weibrechts's belly flop netted an average score of 8.5 from all of the judges. Max Franz had the best move of the super-combined, which included a 360-degree spin and some one-footed skiing. Even though the US judge gave Max a stingy score of 8.4, that score was dropped and the other judges gave him an average score of 9.6. His total score was 12.6 out of 10--he got 3 bonus points for artistic impression.
And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report.

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