Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New World Cup Racing Category Starting in 2014/15

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

  Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst recently won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. I bet some of our more observant readers are thinking, "Hey, wait a minute! What does Conchita have to do with World Cup Alpine ski racing?" Our less observant readers are just waiting to see where this ends up. It turns out that Conchita got the powers that be at the International Ski Federation (FIS) thinking about what would happen if a World Cup racer was a drag queen. Would he/she compete in men's races or in women's? Here to talk with one of our intrepid reporters is our friend Bob from the FIS. Bob is back from his holiday and is always willing to talk to us. Let's find out what Bob has to say.
BB: How was your holiday?
Bob: It was great and too short.
BB: Holidays are always too short. (short pause)  Please tell our readers about this new racing category.
Bob: It is a special category for anyone who feels that he or she does not fit into racing in either men's or women's races.
BB: So there will be races for men, women, and others?
Bob: That is correct.
BB: Was Conchita the reason for this rule?
Bob: Not really. But her victory in the Eurovision Song Contest gave the FIS the kick in the pants to get it enacted. It has been in the works for almost two years.
BB: Really? Tell our readers how it originated.
Bob: As you recall, two seasons ago Lindsey Vonn requested to race against men. She was turned down by the FIS. The FIS ruled that only men could compete in men's races and women in women's.
BB: But the FIS made an exception for the Swiss men to compete in women's races. (see this story)
Bob: We did. But the Swiss men did so poorly two seasons ago we had no choice but to relegate them to skiing in women's races. Last season we changed our minds and let them ski in men's races because it was a lose-lose situation for them to compete against women. If they beat the women by large margins, then they would be viewed as macho gorillas who beat up on poor, defenseless women. But if they got beaten by women, they would have been the laughingstock of the ski world. It was then that we realized that we needed a third category of races. Women who wanted to ski against men and vice versa could all compete together.
BB: I see. So if Lindsey Vonn decides that she wants to race against men sometime in the future, she would race in this division, where there would be both men and women.
Bob: That is correct. She would fulfill her dream of racing against men, and the men who barely qualified to the World Cup would have the chance to feel good about themselves by beating women.
BB: What about Marcel Hirscher and his dog Whitey? As you recall, Whitey is female. (see this story)
Bob: Whitey was not a racer, she was a guide dog. She fulfilled the same function as a two-legged guide for a blind ski racer. Since Marcel had his eye surgery, he does not use Whitey anymore. But even if Marcel still had Whitey, he would compete in men's races.
BB: But a drag queen like Conchita would compete in the third category?
Bob: Yes, as long as she is dressed like Conchita. As you know, Conchita is really a man named Thomas Neuwirth. As Thomas he would compete in men's races, assuming he was good enough to be in the World Cup. But if he showed up as Conchita, then she would be in the third category.
BB: What about a woman who dresses like a man, for example a female Elvis impersonator?
Bob: It would be the same situation as Conchita. If the woman wore her regular clothing, then she would be in women's races. But when she is dressed as Elvis, she would be in Category Three. Extremely butch lesbians and very effeminate gay men could also compete in the third category.
BB: Would a racer who changes gender also ski in the "other" category?
Bob: Yes. It would take away having to enforce whether a person is a genetic male or female. The FIS would no longer have to conduct panty or chromosome checks to determine if a racer is really a man or a woman.
BB: Where would these races be held? 
Bob: They would be in the same venues as regular World Cup races. There would be three sets of races instead of two every weekend.
BB: And places where men and women compete in the same place on the same weekend, like Soelden and Levi, would have three races instead of two?
Bob: That's right. Three reindeer would be given away in Levi instead of two.
BB: So there would be three sets of World Cup crystal globes?
Bob: Right again.
BB: Would there also be three sets of medals at the World Championships and the Olympics?
Bob: At the World Championships there would be. The International Olympic Committee would have to decide about the Olympics.
BB: Would people really watch races from the third category on TV? The idea of a drag queen or female Elvis impersonator racing would have a certain novelty at first. But it would wear off quickly. 
Bob:  I think you are wrong. The Eurovision judges loved Conchita, as did the audience. Someone like her competing in a World Cup ski race would be a boost for us. Also, the thought of Lindsey Vonn being able to compete against men in this category would give World Cup ski racing huge TV ratings. Safety is our number one priority at the FIS. But big TV ratings are also important to us.
BB: Where would the FIS get the money to have a separate race circuit plus extra competition and training days at finals? Putting on a race is not cheap.
Bob: We would use some of the TV money that we get. There are also other possibilities like raising ticket prices by one or two euros, paying the racers slightly less for victories, or even having a bake sale to raise funds.
BB: I see. Will there be three categories of racers at lower levels, like the Europa or Nor-Am cups?
Bob: Not yet. But if the third category of racing turns out to be as popular as we think it will be, then we may expand it to the lower competitive levels.
BB: I guess we'll have to wait until the season starts to judge the success of the other category of racers. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Bob, I want to thank you for another enlightening interview. You were very interesting, as always. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 
The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We have three categories of reporters: intrepid, even more intrepid, and most intrepid of all. 
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