Monday, November 19, 2018

The New Start Order Ranking System

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Last weekend in Levi ski fans were confused about Alexander Khoroshilov having bib 46 when he was in the top 15 just a few short seasons ago, while Matej Vidovic, who did not often score World Cup points, had start number 33. Well, dear readers, you are in luck. Our favourite contact at the FIS, Bob, is here to explain to one of our becoming-more-intrepid-but-still-not-yet-as-intrepid-as-our-original reporters how the new ranking system works. We guarantee that you will understand it clearly. Let's find out what Bob has to say...

BB: I heard that the new ranking system, which goes into effect next season, is based on a lot of math. 
Bob: That's right. Here at the FIS we love statistics and even developed our own formula to go along with our statistics. At first we wanted to use the Quadratic Formula, and use FIS points, race results, and potential race results values for a, b, and c--
BB: That sounds interesting, but we just received some breaking news. Marcel Hirscher's new reindeer, Mr. Snow, has disappeared under very mysterious and suspicious circumstances. What do you know about Mr. Snow's disappearance?
Bob: This is the first I heard of it. 
BB: You mean to tell me that you work at the FIS and this is the first you heard of Mr. Snow's disappearance?
Bob: Uh, yes. What happened?
BB: I was hoping that you would tell our readers. We just got a report from Finland that Mr. Snow vanished from his herd this morning.
Bob: Maybe he just wandered off looking for food. Reindeer do that you know. Can we get back to the new ranking system? We at the FIS are very proud of it. 
BB: I'm sure it is a source of pride, and it puts your idle minds to work. After all, it was the FIS who came up with such brilliant ideas like sprint downhills, two-run downhills, three-run slaloms, and only allowing 50 athletes per race. Hmmmm....Maybe your minds should remain idle. 
Bob: We never implemented the three-run slalom or the 50 racer rule. 
BB: And it's a good thing or else we would never have seen Albert Popov and others with bib numbers over 50 in the second run of the Levi men's slalom. But let's get back to Mr. Snow's disappearance. Do you think that Marcel's first reindeer, Ferdinand, was involved? He is not exactly the most mentally stable reindeer in the herd.  (see this story)
Bob: I don't believe that a reindeer has the capability of making a herd mate disappear. Maybe Henrik Kristoffersen kidnapped Mr. Snow to make ojlmsfjaegger from his heart. When Marcel won Ferdinand, Henrik wanted to give Marcel his favourite recipe for reindeer stew.
BB: I remember that well. That was why Ferdinand was afraid to go up onto the podium after the race. But why pick on Henrik? He was not the only Norwegian racer in Levi. Jonathon Nordbotten, Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, and Nina Haver-Loeseth were also in Levi. Perhaps one of them took Mr. Snow. They probably wanted a reindeer because they don't have one. Henrik has Lars.
Bob: But there is a real rivalry between Marcel and Henrik. In fact, Henrik has a motive because he seems to resent that Marcel almost always beats him. Marcel does not have such close competition with the others, so they don't really have a motive to steal Marcel's reindeer. Ms. Haver-Loeseth does not have anything against Marcel because she cannot compete in men's races. Now about our system for ranking racers. We had to discard using the Quadratic Formula because we now have more than three variables that we use for rankings.
BB: We will get to that after we finish talking about Mr. Snow--
Bob: And when will that be?
BB: I ask the questions because I am the reporter and you are the person who works for the FIS.  It looks like you want to accuse the Norwegians of foul play, or simply post-race hunger, in Mr. Snow's disappearance.
Bob: Well the Norwegians taking a reindeer to make stew or ojlmsfjaegger is certainly more plausible than a reindeer being mentally ill and harming his herd mate.
BB: But there are plenty of reindeer in Norway, unless there is a difference in taste between Norwegian and Finnish reindeer. 
Bob: There could be. But about our new ranking system for start order--
BB: And who calls a reindeer Mr. Snow? Was there no blood flow to Marcel's brain after the race because all of his blood was still in his leg muscles? That has to be the most lame name ever. No wonder Mr. Snow disappeared! He was probably embarrassed by his name, so he snuck off to join another herd and change his name. 
Bob: Mystery solved why the reindeer disappeared. I really want to talk about start order ranking. I think that ski racing fans are more interested in that than what happened to a reindeer in Finland.
BB: How do you know what racing fans are interested in? You probably think that a parallel race where the athletes are armed with bows and arrows would be more exciting to ski racing fans than the classical ski racing disciplines.
Bob: Parallel races with bows and, we never thought of that! I'll have to bring that up at our next meeting. I'm sure everyone will love it.
BB: We at the Blickbild are not only intrepid, we are creative. Which is more than we can say about Marcel's name for reindeer number three. By the way, what did Marcel name his new son?
Bob: He never announced the child's name. We thought that was rather strange because other ski racers announce their new babies' names. But maybe Marcel prefers his privacy.
BB: I can see why he did not announce the child's name. If the best he could come up with for his reindeer was Mr. Snow, I'm sure he named his kid something like Mr. Hospital. If he and Laura end up having more than one child, I'd hate to find out what any others will be named. For the child's sake, we can only hope that Laura chose his name. 
Bob: When can I explain the new ranking system?
BB: Now. But make it quick, because we are almost out of time. 
Bob: The new ranking system takes into account the following factors: World Cup results from the previous season, World Cup results from this season, recent Europa Cup results, other continental cup results, FIS race results, World Championship and Olympics results, the racer's country, and the rankings of the other athletes in the field. It is explained by the simple formula: [WCP + 3.81(WCC)+ 1.22 (EC) + CC + 0.87(FIS) + 1.49 (WSC) +1.82 (OG)] * RC +  - OR = FIS points. Our rankings are basically the athlete's FIS points. The lower the FIS points, the higher the ranking.
BB: Sounds very logical.  I'm sure racing fans can figure it out and easily predict any athlete's bib number based on your formula. 
Bob: Don't you want to know how we assigned a numerical value to each country, how we figured the original variables for this formula, or how we converted Olympic and World Championship placement to ranking points? It took a lot of people many hours to come up with it.
BB: I'm sure it did, but you left out Junior World Championship and Topolino results.  Shouldn't they also figure into the rankings, especially for younger racers?
Bob: All that time spent developing this formula for figuring rankings and start order!  Now we will have to go back and start all over again. I can't believe we left those things out! I hope that we can come up with a new formula by the start of next season.
BB: I'm sure you can. I have complete confidence in you and your other colleagues. You don't seem to have a lot of real work to do, so you should have plenty of time to fix your formula. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for another enlightening interview. We almost learned about why Matej Vidovic had a better bib than Alexander Khoroshilov in Levi. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We don't have a lame name. 

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