Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ted Ligety vs the Austrian Ski Federation (OeSV)

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

We thought that our band of intrepid reporters and researchers were sucked into a black hole because they all disappeared. They have come back to us, but who knows for how long. Hey, we will take them for as long as they are willing to stay. Anyway, the men's giant slalom race in Soelden was cancelled due to bad weather. Ted Ligety accused the OeSV of engineering the race cancellation because superstar Marcel Hirscher was unable to compete there due to an injury. The Austrians thought that Ligety's comments were over the top. We wanted to talk to both Ted Ligety and someone from the OeSV to get both sides of the story, but Ted was not available. But OeSV president Peter Schroecksnadel was willing to talk to our intrepid reporter. Let's find out what he has to say.

BB: As everyone knows, Sunday's race in Soelden was cancelled due to high winds, rain, and fog. Why was it cancelled at 6:45 and not closer to the 10:00 race time?
Schroecksnadel: It was already very windy and rather foggy at 6:45 and the forecast was for the weather to get worse as the day went on. It also would not have been safe to bring shuttle buses full of athletes, servicemen, trainers, and fans up the hill to the race area. The wind got up to 150 kilometers per hour. Athlete safety is important.
BB: Ted Ligety tweeted that the race was cancelled before any course inspection, which is not normal. Why was the race cancelled without an inspection?
Schroecksnadel: Again, it was not safe to bring buses up the mountain to the race area. We watched the weather forecasts all night and knew that the weather would get a lot worse throughout the day before it would improve in the evening. I'm sure that Ted would have been upset if he was doing a course inspection and then was stuck on the hill in a raging storm because the shuttle buses were not running to bring him down. As far as I am concerned, we made the right call to cancel the race.
BB: How far in advance did you know about this storm? It seems like the week before the race, the forecast was for nice weather.
Schroecksnadel: We knew about the storm three days before the race. The women's race was given the green light because the forecast was for moderate wind. There were no major problems on Saturday except for some wind later in the day. But the Sunday forecast was for stormy weather that would have been unsafe for the racers.
BB: Ted Ligety accused you along with the FIS for pre-planning to cancel the race several days in advance. Is this true?
Schroecksnadel: Of course not! Sometimes the weather man is correct and other times he is not. We were hoping that the storm would come later, or even not at all, but it was not to be. Everyone was hoping that there would be a race.
BB: The OeSV is also accused of cancelling the race because Marcel Hirscher was not competing due to a fractured ankle. There was suspicion because a race in Austria was cancelled because Austria's big superstar was absent and this could help him in his quest for a 7th consecutive overall title.
Schroecksnadel: Marcel is not our only good skier. There are three other Austrians in the top 16 on the World Cup start list. We would not win the Nations Cup every year if we only had one ski racer. (short pause) Let's say that the race was in the USA and Ted was out due to an injury. If the race were cancelled due to the weather, would people be suspicious that it was being cancelled to protect Ted? No! Ted is naturally upset about not getting to compete, but he is being a big baby about it. He needs to go to a safe space with his new baby's teddy bear.
BB: Did the OeSV and the FIS conspire to create this storm? 
Schroecksnadel: What???
BB: A week before the race the forecast was for nice weather. Suddenly, three days before the men's race, the weather man is predicting a big storm to hit Soelden. What happened in those four days?
Schroecksnadel: A storm front materialised. It was a big one that affected all of Austria and a lot of Germany.
BB: So you are saying that the OeSV did not create this storm for the purpose of cancelling the first men's race of the season?
Schroecksnadel: No. The OeSV can control its ski racers, but we cannot control the weather.
BB: What about hiring a witch doctor to conjure up this storm?
Schroecksnadel: We don't need witch doctors! We are Austria! Remember who wins the Nations Cup every year. Austria is not like those wimpy countries who need witch doctors and their potions to help them win. We win because ski racing is in the Austrian DNA!
BB: Yes Austria is the mighty Power Team. We thought that the OeSV is using Austria's super powers to create a storm big enough to warrant cancelling a race.
Schroecksnadel: People can't control the weather, not even witch doctors from what I hear. At the World Cup finals in 2011, the FIS and German Ski Federation were accused of creating weather bad enough to cancel the last women's giant slalom of the season and give the overall globe to Maria Hoefl-Riesch. Of course they did not control the weather, but conspiracy theorists and Lindsey Vonn's fans still believe it.
BB: Did the OeSV pay off the weather gods to bring this storm?
Schroecksnadel: There are no such things as weather gods. People can't control Mother Nature.
BB: Oh yes they can! The Indians in the US do rain dances and the next day it rains. By the way, was there a group of Indians in Soelden doing a rain dance?
Schroecksnadel: I did not see any Native American Indians doing any rain dances in Soelden or in the nearby area.
BB: What about your racers dressing up as Indians and doing a rain dance? I saw that Roland Leitinger was reading a book about Colorado Indians and their traditions. Perhaps he convinced his teammates to dress up like Indians and do a rain dance. After all, Halloween is just around the corner.
Schroecksnadel: I keep a close eye on my athletes and I would have known if any of them snuck out to do a rain dance. Roland was reading the book to learn about Colorado. He will be going to Beaver Creek for the giant slalom at the end of November and wanted to learn the history of the area.
BB: What about FIS and OeSV officials dressing up as Indians and doing a rain dance?
Schroecksnadel: There were no Indians in Soelden. Nobody dressed up like Indians and did a rain dance to try and influence the weather! Can we move on?
BB: Okay. Did anyone from the OeSV find a magic lamp with a genie in it who granted him the wish of a big storm on race day?
Schroecksnadel: No! The race was in Austria, not Arabia! People find Yetis in the mountains here, not magic lamps with genies.
BB: Fair enough. Ted Ligety mentioned in one of his tweets that there was possible Russian collusion with the OeSV to cause this storm and cancel the race. Is that true?
Schroecksnadel: No, no no! Nobody in the OeSV, nor anyone on the FIS Technical Committee, is Russian. There was a Russian racer on Sunday's start list, but that's the extent of Russian involvement in the race.
BB: Are any of the Austrian trainers really Russian spies who are working undercover?
Schroecksnadel: We do not have any Russian undercover agents masquerading as Austrian ski trainers. It would have been easy to pick out foreign agents working as ski trainers because we test their DNA as part of the process to become a trainer. We would have found that a foreigner did not have the special Austrian ski racing gene and he would not have been hired.
BB: What about your racers? Is it possible that Marcel Hirscher is really a Russian agent who had a gene transplant to fool the DNA testers? After all, Marcel and Russian slalom specialist Alexander Khoroshilov have trained together in the past. Maybe he and his fellow Russians were the ones who caused the storm.
Schroecksnadel: Now you are getting really absurd!
BB: Of course I am getting absurd. We at the Blickbild ask the absurd questions that nobody else dares to.
Schroecksnadel: Marcel Hirscher, and the rest of my racers, are 100% Austrian. We do not have any Russians on the Austrian team! All of the athletes in Soelden really wanted to race. Manuel Feller even posted on his Facebook page that everyone wanted to race on Sunday. The Russians had nothing to do with the decision to cancel the race.
BB: So you are saying that the storm and ensuing race cancellation were not caused by: the FIS, the OeSV, a witch doctor, Native American Indians doing a rain dance, Austrian ski racers or FIS officials dressing up as Indians and doing a rain dance, a genie from a magic lamp, or the Russians? 
Schroecksnadel: That is correct. Ski racing is an outdoor sport and the athletes know what they are signing up for when they become ski racers. Cancellations due to bad weather are part of the game and not part of a grand conspiracy to favour certain racers.
BB: So who caused the storm?
Schroecksnadel: Nobody. It just happened. How many times do I have to repeat that the OeSV does not have the power to control the weather?
BB: There are rumours that Ted Ligety is planning to sue the FIS and OeSV for mental anguish because of this race cancellation. Have you heard anything about it?
Schroecksnadel: No, but I am not surprised. It is the American way to sue people for any little thing. If he wants to sue someone, it should be Mother Nature.
BB: Ligety versus Mother Nature would be an interesting lawsuit indeed. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Herr Schreocksnadel, I want to thank you for this interesting interview. We at the Blickbild wish the Austrian team a successful season. Oh, watch out if you hear Marcel Hirscher suddenly using Russian phrases. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We need to find that book about Colorado Indians so that we can learn a rain dance.

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