A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
The FIS wrapped up its annual summer meeting earlier this month. We have always wondered what really goes on at those meetings. Some of the proposals that they come up with are okay, but some are downright crazy. We wonder what drugs everyone is taking or if the sun has baked everyone's brains. Now we can wonder no more. One of our intrepid reporters attended a session of the summer meeting and recorded it on his iPhone. We finally finished transcribing the recording. We will refer to each delegate by his or her country. Let's find out what it says...
FIS: Item number one on today's agenda is the proposal to limit the number of athletes in every World Cup race to 50. The motion is now open for discussion.
Germany: This is a very good idea. There are now so many sports taking place in the winter and not enough time or TV channels to show all of them. I am always in favour of more football on TV. Having fewer racers would open up more TV time for football.
USA: I noticed that there is only one NFL game on German TV per week. I am in favour of showing more football on TV.
Germany: Not NFL football, real football. Or what you Americans call soccer.
Sweden: I am in favour of more curling on TV.
Norway: And more cross country races!
United Kingdom: Let's not forget cricket.
FIS: Cricket is a summer sport that nobody outside the West Indies understands. We are talking about World Cup ski races, which take place in the winter.
Austria: I am against limiting the number of racers. We Austrians produce the best racers year after year. If you limit the field in a race, the number of Austrian racers will be reduced.
USA: I always thought it was unfair that Austria got so many athletes in a race. Maybe it will be a good thing to have fewer Austrians in a race to give the other countries a chance to win once in a while.
Austria: Wow, first you take our trainers, then you have the nerve to complain that we are being unfair. Maybe if you treated all of your racers equally and didn't give your superstars preferential treatment, you would have more athletes in a race. We are the best ski nation in the world and earned those World Cup start places.
Croatia: My country has a small team and you don't hear us whining about how many athletes we are allotted per race. Maybe you need to go to a safe space with your teddy bear.
FIS: That is enough. The motion under discussion is not the number of Austrians in a race, but reducing the number to 50.
France: I don't like this idea, especially in technical races. It happens in almost every race that someone with a bib in the 50s qualifies for the second run. Limiting the field would take that away.
Switzerland: Let's not forget Carlo Janka, who had a 2nd place finish with start number 65. If there were only 50 athletes in his race that day, nobody would have heard of him.
Slovenia: Our legendary Tina Maze also won a race with a start number in the 50s.
USA: I am against reducing the field to 50 because I think that is still too many. I make a motion to reduce the field to 30 racers.
FIS: We just heard a new motion to reduce World Cup race fields to 30 racers. Let's discuss it.
USA: I will start. Only the top 30 athletes in a World Cup ski race earn points. The 31st place finisher gets nothing. If we reduce the field to 30 athletes, then everyone will earn points.
Germany: What a stupid idea! But what do you expect from a country that gives out trophies to last place finishers?
Austria: Giving everyone points in a race would totally devalue them. Why try your best if you know that you will get a point just for showing up?
Switzerland: At least do the math. Let's assume that the average DNF rate is 15%--
Croatia: Fifteen percent is an average for a course that is set by mere mortals. It is higher on an Ante Kostelic course.
Switzerland: Ante Kostelic doesn't set courses anymore because your country doesn't have any racers in the top 30 except for Filip Zubcic. And yes, I took his course settings into account with the 15% figure. In order to have everyone be able to earn points in a race, the field should be increased to 34 racers.
USA: But what if all 34 finish? The 31st to 34th place finishers will be without points. How do you think they will feel?
Germany: Like they will have to improve to make the top 30.
Italy: They can always do what our football players do--flop to the ground and then convince the referee to give the opposing player a yellow card. Or in the case of a ski race, influence the referee to give him points.
FIS: The only referees we have at ski races are the gate judges. I don't think that flopping to the ground and pretending to be injured will influence them. The artistry judges could be another story. They could interpret diving as an original move and give the racer an artistry bonus. But let's get back to limiting race fields to 30.
USA: I was just thinking...30 racers is too many. After all, only three racers, or sometimes four, are on the podium. Those who did not make the podium probably feel terrible. Therefore I propose reducing the field to three racers. It would have the dual purpose of making races short so that there is more TV time for other sports, and everyone would get a podium place.
Austria: That has to be the stupidest idea I ever heard! Have you even given this proposal any real thought--like who would be picked to be the 3 racing that day?
FIS: Let's not call each other's ideas stupid, even if they are.
Germany: Do you really think that the FIS is going to spend all of the time preparing courses, closing the off to the public, setting them, and letting the racers inspect the course for a 3-person race?
USA: Maybe we could have ten separate races with 3 athletes each. That way everyone not only earns points, they also get onto the podium. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
Slovenia: This is getting more and more ridiculous. I thought that the Blickbild was absurd, but you just surpassed it. In my country only the winners get trophies and the others get certificates. Nobody is traumatised for life because they got a certificate instead of a trophy.
Austria: It is the same in Austria. Our young ski racers have to earn their trophies and medals. They don't get a medal just for showing up on race day. Not everyone can be a winner.
USA: Oh yes they can! I propose a new motion to limit World Cup ski races to one athlete. That way the racer who starts automatically wins. After all, the second place finisher is really the first place loser. I even propose that the only racer allowed to start would be Lindsey Vonn so that she can easily break Stenmark's record for World Cup wins.
Switzerland: Don't you think that Ms. Vonn would actually wish to beat somebody instead of winning by default because she is the only athlete in the field?
USA: No. She will take a win any way she can to beat Stenmark and have another record. Her records are her legacy after all.
FIS: I think we have had enough discussion. Time to vote on all of these motions. All in favour of a one-person race with just Lindsey Vonn say, "Aye!"
FIS: All opposed say, "Nay!"
Everyone else: Nay!!!!
FIS: The nays have it. The motion for a one-person ski race is defeated. All in favour of a three person race say, "Aye!"
FIS: All opposed say, "Nay!"
Everyone else: Nay!!!!
FIS: The motion for a three-person ski race is defeated. All in favour of limiting the field to 30 racers say, "Aye!"
Everyone else: Nay!!!!
FIS: All in favour of limiting World Cup race fields to 50 athletes say, "Aye!"
Austria: I move that we keep race fields as they are this season and postpone voting on this until next year.
Switzerland: I second the motion.
FIS: All in favour of Austria's motion to postpone discussing limiting race fields say, "Aye!"
FIS: The motion passes to leave race fields as they are this coming season and table the discussion until next year. Now onto the second item on today's agenda...
Well, it looks like our intrepid reporter ran out of recording time. But it looks like we will hear more about reducing World Cup race fields next year. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.
The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We are offended that someone is actually more absurd than us.
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