Sunday, February 23, 2014

Olympic Overview Part 2

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Here is the second part of our Olympic wrap-up. The others will talk about Tina Maze's second gold medal and Ted Ligety being the first non-European man to win a giant slalom gold medal, so we won't. Instead, as usual, we will focus on the stories that the others don't dare to print. Let's find out what our intrepid reporters have been up to in Sochi.

The Four-Year Plan. Former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin had his Five Year Plans back in the glory days of the Soviet Union. But US racer Andrew Weibrecht has a special training plan that has him peak every 4 years for the Olympics. Andrew won bronze in the Super-G in 2010, then nobody heard from him again until he beat teammate Bode Miller for the Super-G silver medal in Sochi. Weibrecht's best result in the World Cup were two 10th place finishes. Our intrepid reporter asked one of the US trainers why Andrew is on a four-year training plan instead of peaking every year for the World Cup seaon. The trainer said that since nobody in the USA cares about ski racing, except for the racers' friends and family members, it is not worth it to train for World Cup races. The only thing that matters in the USA is the Olympics. Therefore, Andrew's training was structured so that it would enable him to win Olympic medals. Unfortunately, despite his two Olympic medals, Andrew will probably still remain unknown in the USA.

The Real Superhuman Rehabber. While Lindsey Vonn posted photos of herself rehabbing her original knee injury and bragging of being ahead of schedule, Kjetil Jansrud was quietly rehabbing  his own severe knee injury in his Norwegian hometown. Instead of wearing high heels, doing backflips, and training to run a marathon, Kjetil was eating his grandmother's ojlmsfjaegger and taking his time to come back to training and racing. Kjetil's patience paid off with a gold medal in the Super-G, bronze in the downhill and the 4th place tin medal in the super-combined. When Kjetil came back to racing after his injury, nobody heralded his comeback as the biggest in the history of ski racing. In fact, almost nobody noticed that he had resumed racing. Kjetil attributes his Olympic success to patience, lots of support, and the reindeer who gave their hearts for Grandma Jansrud's ojlmsfjaegger.

Swiss Redemption. The Swiss men have won one gold medal, which is one more medal than they got in Schladming last year. But one of the Swiss men is in the running for a medal for his acrobatics and promotion of the new sport of Alpine Slopestyle. Didier Defago did some nifty one ski work and a spin in the giant slalom race. He was able to carry on, but ended up skiing out later. Nevertheless, it looks like Swiss Ski was justified in letting the men stay in men's races this season versus having them compete against women.

These Medals Are Mine. At last year's World Championships all of the racers gave their medals to Lindsey Vonn, who injured herself in the Super-G race (see this story). But none of the men in Sochi competing in the slalom race were willing to give Bode Miller any medals that they earn. Bode really wanted to earn the gold medal in the slalom event but ended up leaving Sochi after hurting his knee in the giant slalom. Bode was hoping to earn the gold medal, even though his best finish in a slalom race this season was 26th place. He was counting on his fellow ski racers being as generous with him as they were with Lindsey. Some of the other racers talked to our intrepid reporter only if they could remain anonymous. Skier A said, "Bode already has a medal from Sochi and doesn't need another one." Skier B replied to our question this way: "Lindsey was a more worthy cause because belly aches and depression are much worse problems than bad vision. He should have had his eyes fixed when he had the chance." Skier C replied with, "If I win a gold medal in the slalom, he can have it if he gives me his wife. Since that probably won't happen, I'm keeping my medal."

King of the Ante Kostelic Slalom Courses. Ante Kostelic is known for setting difficult and tricky slalom courses. He was the course setter for the slalom leg of the men's super-combined race and also the second run of the men's slalom race. The second run of Saturday night's slalom was such a "splatfest," the artistry judges ran out of pencils and had to stop keeping score.  Mario Matt, Marcel Hirscher, and Henrik Kristoffersen may have won the medals, but Slovak racer Adam Zampa was the True Master of the Ante Kostelic Course. He had the fastest time in the slalom part of the super-combined, which moved him up from 21st place after the downhill to 5th. Just to show that his performance in the super-combi was not a fluke, he again gave a clinic in how to ski a Kostelic course and was the only skier to break 54 seconds. Adam was one of the very few racers in the second run who did not have to stop and ask the course workers for directions and moved up from 26th after the first run to 6th. Adam does not attribute his success to the copious quantities of Red Bull that he drinks, but rather to the fact that he trains slalom with the Kostelics. While almost all of the other skiers in the slalom and their fans and federations were complaining about Ante Kostelic and wanting a lifetime ban on him setting courses, Adam said that he can't wait until the next World Cup race where Ante sets the course.

Hail Freedonia. The whole ski world has been wondering how Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli and his team of Mafia enforcers from Freedonia did in Sochi (see this story). Unfortunately, Vinnie and his teammates never made it to the starting line. When they got off the plane in Sochi, they were mistakenly identified as some of Putin's special Russian Mafia enforcers who were on the security detail. They were put to work in the Olympic village to help Putin rid the Games of those who could influence the innocent and pure Russians to "engage in undesirable practices." By the time that Vinnie and his crew realized what was happening, it was too late to register for the ski races. Vinnie still reports that his Olympic experience was everything he hoped it would be and he wishes to be part of the team in Pyeongchang in 2018, either as a skier or part of the security staff.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report. The Blickbild salutes the Alpine racers who competed in Sochi. They all deserve our respect, whether they won medals, finished last, or did not finish their races at all.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Never send a Mafia hit man to do a skier's job.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

No comments: