A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
By now everyone who went online in the past 24 hours has heard about the drone that crashed just behind Marcel Hirscher during his second slalom run in Madonna di Campiglio. We would normally avoid this story like we would swimming in the ocean surrounded by sharks on a feeding frenzy because the others have already covered it. But, as usual, we have our own unique perspective on what happened and whose drone it was. One of our intrepid reporters went to Madonna di Campiglio and talked to our old friend, retired Schladming police chief and current special consultant on crime for the FIS, Hermann Mayer. Let's find out what he has to say.
BB: Herr Mayer, it is nice to see you again. When were you called in to investigate what we are calling the Killer Drone?
Mayer: I was actually in the stands watching the race. That is one of the benefits of being a special consultant to the FIS. I get free race tickets any time I want them.
BB: I see that you have two dogs with you now.
Mayer: Yes. Fido is starting to get older and it will soon be time for him to retire. I'll miss him because he has been my faithful canine companion for many years. But I am training Spot to replace him.
BB: Spot? What kind of name is that for a bloodhound? That is normally a name for a Dalmatian.
Mayer: I know, but I love American dog names. Every Austrian names his dog Bello, so I wanted something different. When Spot retires, the next dog will be Rover.
BB: What can you tell us about this drone? Who let it go over the race course?
Mayer: The media wants you to believe that it was a TV camera drone. But after examining the scene, there could be something more sinister afoot.
BB: So you don't believe that it was a TV drone?
Mayer: There is some circumstantial evidence that someone was specifically targeting Marcel Hirscher.
BB: Why would someone go after Marcel? He is a great guy. I can't imagine the Italians going after him because he donated race winnings to Italian earthquake victims a few seasons ago.
Mayer: The Italians have nothing against Marcel and actually admire his consistency. But the first piece of evidence is that the drone crashed while Marcel was racing. Why did it crash during his run and not when any of the others were going?
BB: I see. So it specifically went after Marcel and not the other Austrians?
Mayer: Right. Remember, a few seasons ago Tina Maze received death threats. Even the great Annemarie Moser-Proell received death threats in her time. So it is possible that someone was sending Marcel a message.
BB: Who would do such a thing, especially on international TV for all to see?
Mayer: We have several suspects. The first is Ted Ligety or one of his fans.
BB: Why would Ted go after Marcel? It is common knowledge that they don't like each other. But I can't imagine Ted trying to kill a competitor. I'd think that he would let his skis do the talking.
Mayer: Marcel is leading the giant slalom standings and that is usually Ted's globe. Also, one of our investigators found out that one of Ted's firms is developing drone technology. His drones are using the latest camera technology and will be even better than what the TV stations are currently using. Ted wants his drones to be used instead of the current FIS-approved ones.
BB: I thought he was just working on developing airbag systems.
Mayer: That's what he wants everyone to believe. But we sent an undercover investigator to Slytech and found out that they are also developing a new type of drone.
BB: So you think that Ted or someone working for his firm purposely crashed the drone to make it look inferior to his own product?
Mayer: That is a good possibility. Ted had already left the race venue after the first run, but he could have directed someone else to crash the drone, rattle Marcel, and promote his new product.
BB: Are the any other suspects?
Mayer: We are also checking the alibis of the Norwegian team. It is in Henrik Kristoffersen's best interest to get Marcel out of the picture to make it easier for him to win the slalom globe this season.
BB: It looks like Henrik is doing a good job of taking the lead in the slalom standings on his own. He does not need to eliminate his competitors.
Mayer: If Grandma Jansrud falls ill and cannot supply the team with ojlmsfjaegger, Henrik needs to have a backup plan.
BB: Somehow I don't see Henrik needing a backup plan to win races this season.
Mayer: But Aksel Lund Svindal might. It is a very tight race for the overall globe this season.
BB: I can't imagine Aksel trying to kill a competitor. He is one of the nicest men in the World Cup.
Mayer: Let's just say there were some not so nice feelings after Marcel won a Super-G race on a shortened course that happened to be set by his trainer.
BB: Wait a minute! Norway just had a Super-G podium sweep and the Norwegian trainer set that course. But I don't see Marcel going after the Norwegians.
Mayer: The Norwegians could be sending the message that the speed disciplines are their domain. Anyway, we found some suspicious markings on the drone pieces that could resemble a Norwegian flag if you hold them at just the right angle and have good lighting.
BB: Could someone have drawn the Norwegian flag on the drone to deflect attention from the real perpetrator?
Mayer: We are examining that possibility. But there was also very tiny print that said, "Made in Norway" on it. In addition, there was a stick man skiing with the word, "Marcel" with a circle and slash through it. For now the Norwegians are our number one suspects.
BB: What about other suspects?
Mayer: After the race we searched people leaving the area for remote controls. Nobody had one, but we found one in the trash. We now have it at our lab and are dusting it for fingerprints and checking for DNA.
BB: There are a lot of ski racing fans who dislike Marcel Hirscher. Do you think that one of them could have sent the drone after him?
Mayer: That is a possibility. But we found that most fans prefer to vent their dislike of Marcel in online ski racing forums.
BB: What about the Swedes? After all, they are the ones who kidnapped the German witch doctor at the Schladming World Championships.
Mayer: We ruled them out. The way their men's team is performing, you would think that they were still under the witch doctor's curse. None of them are close to Marcel in the slalom standings.
BB: What about Felix Neureuther? I know that Felix and Marcel are friends, but you never know what your friends would do to you behind your back. Felix could still be angry over losing the slalom globe the last two seasons to Marcel.
Mayer: Felix was also ruled out as a suspect. But I could possibly see Fritz Dopfer going after Marcel. Perhaps he sees Marcel as a symbolic representation of the Austrians' failed attempt to bring him back to the OeSV. We will definitely be investigating that lead.
BB: Do you think that the drone was flying over the race course as a promotion for the new Star Wars movie?
Mayer: We thought of that because what is more fitting for Star Wars than a drone? But we realized that most people who are into Star Wars are more into dressing up like the characters and going to comic book conventions than attending a ski race.
BB: Last year there was a Naughty Stone that went rogue and was going after Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn. Do you think that the drone was acting on its own and decided to attack Marcel for the fun of it? The Naughty Stone was nominated for the witch doctor of the year award for its powers. Could it be that this drone was thinking, "If a rock can get nominated for witch doctor of the year, then I could too?"
Mayer: That is also an interesting point, which we will be investigating. We will examine all of the pieces in our lab and figure out how it was working.
BB: Will fans start being searched for drones and their controls at races?
Mayer: I think so and also TV people. Effective immediately, TV networks will no longer be allowed to use camera drones. Ski fans at races should expect long waits to get in so we can check their pockets and bags for drones, remote controls and voodoo dolls.
BB: Voodoo dolls?
Mayer: Yes. Someone could be using a voodoo doll to direct a drone instead of a normal controller. You can't be too careful these days.
BB: That is true. When you figure out who the drone belonged to, you must contact us so we can tell our readers.
Mayer: I will do that, along with Fido and Spot.
BB: Speaking of Fido and Spot, I will have to bring a double batch of dog treats to our next meeting. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Herr Mayer, I want to thank you for another interesting interview. I'm sure you and your colleagues will figure out who crashed the drone on the race course. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.
The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We are not developing our own drone technology, so we didn't crash the drone. Anyway, we like Marcel.
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