Saturday, November 30, 2013

Vonn Injured in Training Crash

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Last week US skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn crashed during a training run. She had facial cuts, a shoulder contusion, a knee strain, and a partial tear of the ACL that she tore last February in Schladming. The others have already reported this story, so it is very old news. We normally would avoid it like we would a viper pit and stick to our usual stories involving witch doctors and Norwegian birthday treats. But one of our intrepid reporters was on the scene in Copper Mountain, ready and able to provide a unique perspective on Vonn's accident. Our reporter managed to run into one of Vonn's spokespeople, who will decode the mystery surrounding the US Ski Team's silence about the injury. This representative asked to remain anonymous, so we are calling her Margaret. Let's find out what Margaret has to say.
BB: Last February Lindsey blamed the conditions in Schladming for her accident. Does she blame the conditions in Copper Mountain for her latest crash?
Margaret: No. Everything was good in Copper Mountain. The weather and snow conditions were perfect.
BB: There were no course workers who left a pile of soft snow in her path like in Schladming?
Margaret: No.
BB: She didn't have a belly ache before training that day?
Margaret: No. She ate her usual breakfast and her stomach was fine.
BB: Was she distracted because she and Tiger argued?
Margaret: No, she was in a good state of mind. She said that her knee was feeling great and she was ready to win the downhill and Super-G races next weekend.
BB: Was she otherwise distracted? One of our intrepid researchers found out that she hired someone to create a birth certificate that would make her younger than Mikaela Shiffrin. Why would she do that?
Margaret: As everyone who follows World Cup skiing knows, records are extremely important to Lindsey. Nothing else matters to her because she needs every record she can get to cement her legacy. The only way an athlete remains known is through having lots of records. She wants to set the bar high with so many records that nobody will ever be able to catch her. When she saw Mikaela winning a world championship gold medal and a Crystal Globe at such a young age, it made her jealous. Lindsey wanted to be the youngest American woman to win a world championship gold medal and Crystal Globe. Getting a new birth certificate would enable her to have that record.
BB: That certainly is a creative way to get a record.
Margaret: Lindsey can be very intrepid.
BB: But she will never be as intrepid as our reporters or research team! The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters and researchers in the business! (short pause) From what I can gather, Lindsey only has herself to blame for her crash. It seems like she was trying to come back too soon from her Schladming injury.
Margaret: How dare you imply that the crash was her fault! She was not trying to come back too soon. She did everything that her doctors and physical therapists told her to do and was actually ahead of schedule with her recovery. Lindsey really is a superhuman rehabber! She will skip the races in Beaver Creek, but she will make the biggest comeback ever in World Cup skiing history in Lake Louise.
BB: I'm sure she will, which implies that her knee injury was not as serious as people originally thought it was. Perhaps she is playing mind games to get her opponents to feel sorry for her?
Margaret: She doesn't need to play mind games because she is naturally better than the others. After all, you don't see the other racers chasing records to ensure their legacies.
BB: So the weather and snow in Copper Mountain were good, she was not distracted, her knee and belly felt fine. I have the feeling that you're hiding the real reason for her crash from our readers.
Margaret: Here is the official explanation. A men's team was training on the course before Lindsey did her run and left some ruts. One of her skis got caught in a rut, which caused her to fall.
BB: That's it? Most people can extricate their skis from a rut without falling. Since she is superhuman, what is the real reason? I can tell you're hiding something from me.
Margaret: OK, here goes. The real reason is two kids were playing with their Ski Racer Barbie dolls and using them as voodoo dolls.
BB: This sounds like a very plausible explanation. Are you sure that an opposing team's witch doctor didn't put a curse on her?
Margaret: Yes, I'm sure. We found the kids and the dolls.
BB: Tell our readers what happened.
Margaret: Two 7-year-old twin sisters from Vail, who I will call Renee and Dustie, were playing with their Ski Racer Barbie dolls. They had the special Lindsey Vonn edition dolls with their replica speed suits and gold medals. They were having the dolls ski down their Barbie Olympic Ski Mountain and having them take turns winning their races.
BB: That sounds very innocent. I don't see any voodoo involved so far.
Margaret: That's right. After a while Renee decided that her doll was Stacey Cook and Dustie decided that hers was Lindsey. Renee's doll was faster down the Barbie Olympic Ski Mountain than Dustie's three times in a row. Both girls are big fans of Lindsey and wanted to do something to help Dustie's doll beat Renee's, just like in real life. The night before, the girls had watched a National Geographic TV program about alternative medicine. One of the segments was about acupuncture. The girls decided to so some acupuncture with Dustie's doll. They got some pins from their mother's sewing box and put then in the doll's face, shoulder, and right knee.
BB: Oh dear! Those are the same places where Lindsey was injured.
Margaret: It gets even better. After putting the pins in the dolls, they decided to have them race down the Barbie Olympic Ski Mountain one more time. That was at the exact time that Lindsey had her crash. Was this a coincidence? I don't think so!
BB: Come on, these are Barbie dolls, not real voodoo dolls. Renee and Dustie are also 7-year-old children and not witch doctors.  It had to be a coincidence.
Margaret: When the girls put the pins in the Barbie doll, they also said, "Eenie meanie, chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak."
BB: That is from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Our intrepid researchers found out that the girls watch Rocky and Bullwinkle DVDs. So you are saying that Lindsey crashed because two girls stuck pins in a doll and quoted a line from an old cartoon show?
Margaret: That is exactly what happened.
BB: What will happen to the girls?
Margaret: At first Lindsey was very upset that little girls would use their Ski Racer Barbies as voodoo dolls. Then she thought about her reputation as someone that kids look up to if she were to yell at Renee and Dustie in public or talk to a reporter about what they did. She decided it was better to do nothing herself. But she did call her former bodyguard, Red Bull Mafia hit man Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli, to talk with the girls and their mother.
BB: What happened to the dolls?
Margaret: Vinnie wanted to destroy the dolls. But he was worried that if he destroyed the dolls, Lindsey would experience even more bodily harm. He let the girls keep their dolls, but told them not to stick pins in them anymore. Vinnie also told the girls that he was keeping an eye on them and threatened to take their dolls away if they ever put pins in them again. Both girls will undergo extensive psychotherapy to figure out why they would play with their Ski Racer Barbie dolls that way.
BB: Don't you think that Dustie and Renee could have bright futures working as witch doctors for a ski team? Since the Congo stopped issuing witch doctor visas, ski teams have to find different ways to get one. Why not use homegrown talent?
Margaret: The point is that they were not playing appropriately with their dolls. Dustie was always supposed to let Renee's doll win. That is the way of the US ski team. Lindsey must always win.
BB: Of course. It would be a scandal if Lindsey were beaten by one of her lesser teammates, whether it was in real life or with seven-year-olds playing with their Barbie dolls. Well, it looks like we are just about out of time. Margaret, I want to thank you for your special insight.  And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Barbie dolls and Bullwinkle are evidently a deadly combination.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Felix and Miriam: The New Hot Skiing Couple?

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The European tabloids and gossip columns are buzzing with the news about German Alpine skiing star Felix Neureuther and German biathlete Miriam (Miri) Goessner revealing their relationship. Since so many others have already reported this news, we would normally avoid this story like we would a pack of rabid pit bulls. But the others have not asked this fundamental question...should Felix and Miri replace Austrians Benjamin Raich and Marlies Schild as skiing's power couple? Our intrepid research team found two experts on sports and love who were willing to talk with our intrepid reporter as long as we did not reveal their true identities. Sarah is a psychology professor at an American university and David is a sports psychologist who works with a European curling team. Let's find out what they have to say. 

BB: Benni and Marlies have regained their position as skiing's power couple after Aksel Lund Svindal and Julia Mancuso broke up last summer. Do you think that Felix and Miri should replace Benni and Marlies as the hot power couple of skiing?
David: I think so. Benni and Marlies have shown that their love is long-lasting, even when Aksel and Julia took the spotlight. But the fans get tired of the same people being together all the time and look for someone new and fresh. Felix and Miri are a new couple and are therefore more exciting than one that has been together for what seems like an eternity.
Sarah: Definitely not! Felix and Miriam should stick to their own kind!
BB: Sarah, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean. Felix and Miri are both German. In fact, they are from the same city. They both compete in sports that require skis.
Sarah: He is an Alpine skier and she is a biathlete. 
David: That is true. But they are both professional athletes and accept the demands of their sports. They both understand that training and fitness are important and can support each other.
BB: Right. Fellow athletes know about training and the need to be apart from each other because of competition schedules. Even if Felix and Miri were both Alpine skiers, they would be away from each other for a good part of the season.
Sarah: That is true. But Benni and Marlies are both in the same sport. Their fans love them because they are with their own kind and not with someone from another sport.
BB: So when Aksel and Julia were the hot power couple, it didn't matter that Aksel was Norwegian and Julia was American?
Sarah: That's right. The important thing is that they were athletes competing in the same sport.
BB: I see. David, what do you think?
David: Sarah is correct that it didn't matter about Aksel and Julia being from different countries. Their relationship bloomed as people were getting tired of Benni and Marlies. People want to see exciting romance, not people who act like an old married couple. Felix and Miri are two good-looking athletes who can get the fans excited about romance again.
BB: When Aksel and Julia were together, there were a lot of broken hearts. Women wanted to be with Aksel and men with Julia. Are hearts breaking all over Germany because Felix and Miri are together?
David: Yes. Felix seems to have a sizable following of both women and gay men, even though he is definitely straight. Miri also has a lot of male followers. But their true fans want to see them happy, so they will be in favor of their relationship.
BB: Let's imagine for a moment that a female Alpine skier is gay and the partner of another female Alpine skier. Would it be possible for them to be a power couple that could replace Benni and Marlies?
Sarah: Yes. That is something new and different, yet the two women would be with their own kind.
David: I agree with Sarah about a gay or lesbian Alpine skiing couple being a refreshing change from a straight couple. If the right people were involved, there could be a gay Alpine power couple.
BB:  Sarah, a gay Alpine skiing or biathlon couple is okay, but a couple where one person is an Alpine skier and the other is a biathlete is not?
Sarah: That's right. First a romance starts off between two athletes that use skis, like a biathlete and a ski jumper. But once you allow mixed couples like that to become the "in thing," then it heads us down a slippery slope. The next thing you know, an Alpine skier will want to be with his cow!
BB: I'm a bit confused here. How does an Alpine skier having a relationship with a biathlete lead to someone wanting to date his farm animals?
Sarah: It doesn't go right from someone dating a person in a similar sport to dating his cow or sheep. First it begins by two people in slightly different sports dating each other. When that is considered acceptable, then next thing you know, the Alpine skier is in a relationship with someone who plays golf or does curling. It's a shorter step than you think from a different sport to a cow or chicken.
David:  Hey, wait a minute. What do you have against curling? It's a great winter sport.
Sarah: Curling is shuffleboard on ice. It's not a real sport!
David: Oh yeah! You try standing on ice and wielding a broom!
Sarah: It's also very boring. A match takes forever.
David: Curling takes a lot of skill and balance. It's not a sport for wimps. But I bet you would be an ace at curling since I can tell that you are good with a broom. You probably even have a pointy black hat to go with your broom.
BB: Time out! Let's get back on track. We are supposed to be talking about whether or not Felix and Miri should be the ski world's new power couple, not the merits of curling. 
David: Are you saying that you don't like curling either?
BB: No. I have watched my share of curling because it's the only thing that Eurosport shows in the winter. 
David: I would never have consented to this interview if I knew you were so biased against curling!
BB: Curling is a fine game. Now can we talk about Felix and Miri?
Sarah: You like curling?!? I didn't realize that I was being interviewed by one of those European socialist reporters. You are as liberal as everyone else in the media. May you be struck dead by a lightning bolt!
BB: I am not biased, liberal, or conservative. I am part of the most intrepid team of journalists in the business. 
David: Curling is not just a game, it is an Olympic sport. I take that back. It's the greatest Olympic sport ever. It has the grace of ice skating, the strength of weightlifting, and the excitement of Alpine skiing.
BB: Speaking of Alpine skiing, can we get back to Felix and Miri?
Sarah: David, you have the world's lowest boredom threshold.
BB: Well, it looks like we'll never know if Felix and Miri will replace Benni and Marlies as the ski world's new power couple because we are out of time. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: It looks like some things are better being left unknown.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Athlete Profile: Henrik Kristoffersen

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Before we begin our interview, US racer Lindsey Vonn had a crash in training and will have a MRI on her knee. We hope that this is just a precautionary measure and that she is okay. 

Nineteen year old Norwegian racer Henrik Kristoffersen surprised a lot of people with his 3rd place finish in Levi last Sunday. Those who follow World Cup ski racing believed that it was just a matter of  time for Henrik to get a podium finish after establishing himself as a young racer to watch last season. Henrik appears to be the next in a long line of great Attacking Vikings from Norway. One of our intrepid reporters had a chance to talk to Henrik before he left Levi. Let's get to know Henrik a little better and find out what he has to say.

BB: Henrik, congratulations on your 3rd place finish in Levi. You had a very fast second run to move up to third place after being 4th in the first run.
Kristoffersen: Thank you. I went into Levi wanting to do my best and to see how I measure up to the others. It's hard to know where you stand until the first race of the season. A good start gives me confidence for the season.
BB: You certainly impressed a lot of people. Do you think you could win an Olympic slalom medal?
Kristoffersen: I would like to win a medal in Sochi. A gold medal would be awesome!
BB: Do you think that Marcel Hirscher should be worried?
Kristoffersen: Marcel is great and I hope that I can be as consistent as  he is.
BB: I'm sure you will be. If you had won the race in Levi, you would have won a reindeer.
Kristoffersen: I know. It would have been cool to have my very own reindeer.
BB: If you won the reindeer, what would you have named him?
Kristoffersen: I probably would have named him Kveldsmat.
BB: Not Thor?
Kristoffersen: No. Kveldsmat is a much more appropriate name for a reindeer.
BB: Tell our readers what Kveldsmat means in English.
Kristoffersen: Supper.
BB: What a terrible name! It's a good thing you didn't win the race. Ferdinand is a much better name.
Kristoffersen: Kveldsmat is the perfect name! I am Norwegian and we eat a lot of reindeer meat. Have you ever had a grilled reindeer steak? There's nothing like it.
BB: Does it taste like chicken?
Kristoffersen: No, it tastes like reindeer. If you were really intrepid, you would try a grilled reindeer steak.
BB: I happen to be very intrepid! The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters in the business! Anyway, I tried ojlmsfjaegger when I interviewed Kjetil Jansrud and lived to tell about it.
Kristoffersen: How did you like them? The ojlmsfjaegger that Kjetil's grandmother makes for the team are the very best!
BB: They were actually quite good. (short pause) How much do you know about reindeer behaviour?
Kristoffersen: I am Norwegian. Reindeer behaviour is a required school subject.
BB: You would be the perfect person to explain why Ferdinand refused to go onto the podium when he was awarded to Marcel Hirscher.
Kristoffersen: That was my fault.
BB: How was it your fault?
Kristoffersen:  Ferdinand overheard me talking to Marcel and Mario Matt on the podium. I told them that I wished I won the reindeer so I could make ojlmsfjaegger from its heart. Ferdinand looks like he would have the perfect-sized heart for ojlmsfjaegger. I also asked Marcel if he would invite me over for reindeer steaks.
BB: You didn't!
Kristofferson: I did. But I forgot one fundamental fact about reindeer. They have extremely sensitive hearing. Ferdinand understood everything that I said to Marcel and Mario.
BB: What language were you speaking?
Kristoffersen: English. Marcel and Mario speak and understand English.
BB: You are telling me that a baby reindeer brought up in Finland understands English?
Kristoffersen: Space aliens on "Star Trek" and science fiction movies all understand English. Why wouldn't a Finnish reindeer?
BB: You have a good point.  Is that why Marcel stood at a distance when petting Ferdinand? Mikaela Shiffrin was hugging her reindeer, but Marcel stood far away from his.
Kristoffersen: Probably. I think Ferdinand was afraid that Marcel would eat him after hearing me talk.
BB: I think that Ferdinand had a valid reason for being scared. Mikaela wants to keep track of Rudolf and see how much he is growing. If you won the reindeer, you would be counting down the days until you could have it for dinner.
Kristoffersen: If you were Norwegian, you would have had the same thoughts. 
BB: Do you think the reindeer herders of Finland will hire a Mafia hit man to come after you for your remarks about Ferdinand?
Kristoffersen: I hope not. Ferdinand is Marcel's reindeer, so it's his decision what to do with him. But I can give him my favorite recipe for reindeer stew or let him borrow my copy of "365 Ways to Cook Reindeer." 
BB: Well, Henrik, it looks like we are just about out of time. I want to wish you a healthy and successful season. I'm sure we will continue to see you on the podium. Good luck in Sochi!
Kristoffersen: Thank you.
BB: And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: If our reporters won a reindeer for being intrepid, they would not eat it.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Levi Summary

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The first slalom races of the year are over. Mikaela Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher were worthy winners in Levi and we congratulate them. We also congratulate Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Tina Maze, Mario Matt, and Henrik Kristoffersen for their podium finishes. The others will talk about how Henrik got his first podium finish at age 19, or how it looks like Marcel is headed for his third overall Globe, so we won't. Our intrepid reporter in Levi is bringing our readers the stories about the weekend's races that the others don't dare to print. Instead of our usual interview format, we will use news briefs. Let's find out what the others did not dare to print.

Biggest Comeback Since the Universe Was Created: Sorry Lindsey Vonn, but Julien Lizeroux of France had the best comeback this season. We will get serious for a moment and print something that the others have already covered. Julien missed over two seasons due to injuries. He had low expectations for himself in Levi, especially with start number 63. His goal was to have a good first run and, if he was lucky, make it into the second run. Julien finished the first run tied for 28th place and moved up to 17th after the second run. Chapeau to Julien for his amazing comeback! Welcome back, Julien!  We at the Blickbild wish you more success this season. 

Reindeer Saga: The winners of the Levi slaloms each won a reindeer. Mikaela Shiffrin named hers Rudolf and Marcel Hirscher named his Ferdinand. While Rudolf happily went up to Mikaela, Ferdinand refused to go onto the men's podium to meet Marcel. At first Ferdinand's handlers thought that he was just trying to prove to his fellow reindeer that he was not gay. Then the reindeer herders realized what was happening. Third place finisher Henrik Kristoffersen is Norwegian. Ferdinand overheard Henrik telling Marcel and Mario Matt that he looked like he would have the perfect sized heart for ojlmsfjaegger. Henrik even shared his mother's favorite ojlmsfjaegger recipe with Marcel and Mario. After hearing what Henrik said, Ferdinand was understandably afraid to go onto the podium. Reindeer have very sensitive hearing, plus every reindeer north of the Arctic Circle knows the association between Norwegians and ojlmsfjaegger. Note to those who are not our regular readers: Ojlmsfjaegger are cubes of pickled reindeer heart with a special smoked salmon and chocolate sauce. They are a beloved Norwegian birthday treat.

More on the Reindeer: Contrary to rumors floating around Levi, neither Rudolf nor Ferdinand will be sold to Norway and used to make ojlmsfjaegger or other meals. They will remain in Finland with their herds. Rudolf and Ferdinand will be equipped with the latest in video technology so that Mikaela and Marcel can watch them through Skype anytime they wish. Like good helicopter parents, Mikaela and Marcel can ensure that their babies are not being bullied or otherwise abused by their fellow reindeer or their herders.

Dr. Djibuku vs Dr. Mabongo: It looks like German team witch doctor, Dr. Mabongo, is back in favor after six German women made it into the second run on Saturday.  This week Dr. Mabongo gets the edge over French team witch doctor Dr. Djibuku. While France also had six men in the second run on Sunday, three of them did not finish it. All six German women finished their second run in Levi. Maria Hoefl-Riesch was 2nd, Christina Geiger 6th, and the other four German ladies were 12th, 16th, and tied for 23rd. 

Sweden's Curse: It looks like the curse against the Swedish team has still not been lifted. Sweden is still winless. Ski racing fans are trying to figure out exactly how many yak milk pellets it will take for the Mongolian judge to order the curse lifted. Last year's defending champion, Andre Myhrer, made a huge error in the first run and failed to qualify for the second. The best Swedish finishers in Levi were 5th place Matthias Hargin and 8th place Frida Hansdotter. We believe that Sweden is finally starting to realize that kidnapping Dr. Mabongo last February in Schladming was such not a good idea after all. Dr. Mabongo was found hidden in Matthias Hargin's speed suit and Frida Hansdotter was his actual abductor. Oh the ironies of life!

Perfect Score: Felix Neureuther gets the award for the most artistic racer this season. In Soelden he got high marks for staying on his feet when he lost a ski in the second run.  But in Levi, the judges gave him a score of 17 out of a possible 10 points. Felix did a cartwheel into a perfect sideways somersault/shoulder roll, got to his feet, and carried on skiing. He didn't even miss a gate! Watch it here. All six judges on the sideline, even the extremely strict Estonian judge, gave Felix a score of 10. But because Felix was able to finish the run, and even score points, the International Ski Federation (FIS) allowed the judges to give him bonus points for style and artistic impression. French racer Alexis Pinturault fell and slid on his back a long way down the course. But the judges were not impressed and gave Alexis a score of 7.3. After the race, both Felix and Alexis said that they were trying to promote the new sport of Alpine gymnastics so that it can become an Olympic sport in 2018.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: If Alpine gymnastics becomes an Olympic sport, our intrepid reporters will be there to cover it.

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Scandal in Soelden?

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Fans of US racer Julia Mancuso were disappointed when she barely failed to qualify for a second run in Soelden. Imagine their surprise and delight when 30th place Japanese ski racer Emi Hasegawa was disqualified and Julia got an opportunity for a second run. Hasegawa was disqualified for an equipment violation but no specifics were given. After hearing rumours that there may have been some foul play going on, we sent one of our intrepid reporters to Austria to figure out what really happened in Soelden. We were unable to contact anyone from either the US Ski Team or the Japanese Ski Federation. But our old friend, Schladming police chief Hermann Mayer, was willing to talk to us about what happened in Soelden. Let's find out what he has to say. 

BB: Herr Mayer, were you actually at the women's race in Soelden?
Mayer: Of course! I attend all of the ski races in Austria. I not only watch the races, I hand out Hermann Maier's autograph cards because people think I am the Herminator and not the police chief. 
BB: Schladming must not have any crime if you can take weekends off to attend ski races.
Mayer: The biggest crime in the history of ski racing occurred  in my town during the World Championships! But other than that, we have almost no crime in Schladming. It is a very safe place.
BB: By biggest crime in the history of ski racing, you mean a course worker failing to clear away some soft snow from a jump in the women's Super-G race, which caused Lindsey Vonn to fall and injure her knee?
Mayer: That was not a crime; that was an accident. I'm talking about Sweden kidnapping the German team's witch doctor. Our methods for getting the witch doctor back are now part of the curriculum in police academies all over Austria. Dr. Mabongo's kidnapping was not in vain.
BB: That's great to hear. Our intrepid researchers heard about some foul play going on in Soelden. Is that really true or just a rumor?
Mayer: We have heard various stories and are checking them all out.
BB: Were any witch doctors involved?
Mayer: Despite the higher number of witch doctors than last season, there were no witch doctors involved.
BB: So nobody paid off a witch doctor to put a curse on Emi Hasegawa's equipment?
Mayer: No. All of the witch doctors were told in pre-race briefings that they were not allowed to put any voodoo curses on opposing teams' skiers or their equipment. In fact, the International Ski Federation (FIS) is formulating a special Code of Conduct for Witch Doctors to prevent too many curses and counter-curses during races. The skiers will have to win on their own, just like in the old days.
BB: What about Mafia hit men? I know that Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli works for both Red Bull and HEAD. As we know, HEAD is one of Julia's sponsors.
Mayer: We did not see any Mafia hit men at the races in Soelden. None of the skiers requested bodyguards at the races.
BB: Can you tell us what activity went on in Soelden that requires a police investigation?
Mayer: According to the Japanese, the US ski team bribed the FIS's equipment checker to say that Hasegawa was not in compliance. The Japanese also claim that the US gave them money to keep the matter quiet. The US is denying everything and said that Hasegawa's trainers were at fault for her non-compliant equipment and that Julia deserved her place in the second run.
BB: When did all of these payoffs supposedly take place?
Mayer: I have heard different things. The first version, which makes the most sense, is that they happened after the first run. I also heard another story that the payoffs happened right after Julia finished her first run and the US team knew she had a poor run. Yet another version of events is that the payoffs happened before the race even started.
BB: That last one does not make sense. There was no way to know before the race that Julia would be 31st after the first run and Hasegawa 30th. 
Mayer: One of the police officers found a crystal ball, an Ouija board, and a deck of Tarot cards in the US team's equipment truck. We are checking them out as well as other leads.
BB: Are other Austrian police agencies involved with your investigation?
Mayer: Yes. Interpol is also involved, as is my faithful bloodhound Fido.
BB: How can a dog follow a money trail? 
Mayer:  Fido is a bloodhound and can follow any trail, even an electronic one.
BB: He sounds like a real wonder dog. (slight pause) What have you found so far that you can disclose to us?
Mayer: As I said before, we found a crystal ball. It is now in a lab in Vienna. Special technicians will test it to see if it is a proper crystal ball for predicting the future or simply a decorative item. We will find out in the next week after all of the test results are in. The Tarot cards and Ouija board are also being tested.
BB: Was there anything else that seemed suspicious? The US doesn't have a team witch doctor and Vinnie went back to the States with Lindsey Vonn on Tiger Woods' jet. 
Mayer: We did find an unusual deposit into the Japanese Ski Federation's account that was set up for Soelden. It came from a numbered Swiss account. Interpol agents are in the process of finding out who owns that account and why money was transferred to the Japanese federation.
BB: How much money was deposited into the Japanese account?
Mayer: I cannot disclose the amount. Suffice it to say it was enough to get our attention.
BB: Could it have been money transferred from Japan because the racers and their trainers had some unexpected expenses?
Mayer: That is the most plausible explanation. But we must check out where the money came from to be 100% sure.
BB: There is also the claim that the US paid off the FIS to disqualify Hasegawa so that Julia could race. Were there any unusual money transfers to the FIS or withdrawals from any US accounts?
Mayer: We are checking that out but so far have found nothing. But there are a lot of accounts to check with only one dog. When we have anything else to report, you will be the first to know.
BB: What about the other Austrian police and Interpol agents?
Mayer: Unfortunately, Interpol didn't give us as many agents as we would have liked. The same goes for the other police agencies. I guess they figured that since Fido and I were the ones who got Dr. Mabongo back for Germany, the two of us can figure out if there was collusion between the US and FIS to disqualify Emi Hasegawa or if  she really did have an equipment violation.
BB: Are you involved with the elephants that were found by the Austrian women's team when they were training before the race?
Mayer: Yes. In fact, the Austrian police and Interpol are more concerned with the elephants than with any possible bribery or other wrongdoing in Soelden. There is a joint Gendarmarie-Interpol task force working on the elephant case. (see this story)
BB: Have you figured out where the elephants came from?
Mayer: That's the odd thing. We talked with every zoo in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia, and nobody is missing any elephants. Nobody knows where they came from or how they got to Soelden.
BB: Those elephants were supposed to be used to invade Slovenia. The invaders were going to cross the Alps on them. 
Mayer: The last person to do that was Hannibal. It worked for him, but it didn't turn out so well for his elephants.
BB: The invasion of Slovenia was luckily cancelled. But someone evidently forgot about the elephants and left them in the mountains.
Mayer: We suspected that someone was up to no good. Our original thought was that the US was going to storm the Japanese team's hotel with the elephants in order to disqualify Emi and get Julia in the race. They decided to stash the elephants in a remote place in the mountains, but the elephants got hungry and wandered to where the Austrians were training. The timing really didn't fit because the elephants were found the week before the race, before anyone knew the outcome of the first run. But the US did have that crystal ball, Ouija board and Tarot cards, so they may have known something that we didn't.
BB: What is going to happen to the elephants?
Mayer: They have been taken to the Salzburg Zoo, where they are being fed. We are in the process of trying to find out where they came from so we can return them to their rightful owners. If we can't find their owners, we will put them up for adoption. If you know people who can give an elephant a good loving home, have them call my office in Schladming or Interpol.
BB: If any of our readers would like an elephant, please contact Herr Mayer or your nearest Interpol field office. Herr Mayer, thank you for your time and information. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Vonn and Federer Athletic Duel

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

US skiing star Lindsey Vonn and Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer have challenged each other to a duel. Federer dared Vonn to a tennis match. Vonn then countered with asking him to do a ski race against her. They decided to settle on a golf match. Or did they? We normally would not report this story because we considered it too non-newsworthy even by our standards. But when not just one, but two, Austrian tabloids reported it, we figured they were onto something. We dispatched one of our intrepid reporters to Switzerland and another to Colorado to get the story. Our reporters were unable to interview Lindsey or Roger. But they were able to obtain a transcript of the meeting between representatives of Federer and Vonn that took place in an undisclosed location. They will be referred to as LV and RF for simplicity. Let's find out what they said.

LV: Lindsey will play tennis against Roger if he agrees to be in a ski race against her.
RF: Remember that Roger is Swiss and learned to ski at a very early age, just like every other kid in Switzerland.
LV: This would be Lindsey's big chance to ski against a man after the International Ski Federation turned down her request to compete in men's races. And she has been playing tennis as part of her injury rehab, so she is ready to take on Roger.
RF: Both of these would be a lose-lose situation for Roger. If he beats Lindsey, he will be viewed as the big gorilla who beat up a poor, defenseless woman. If Lindsey beats him, he will forever be the wimp who lost to a girl. We need to find a different sport where both have a chance and where Roger will still be viewed positively if he beats Lindsey.
LV: How about golf?
RF: Have you forgotten who Lindsey's boyfriend is? I'm sure that Tiger gave her a golf lesson or two. And if they did play golf, would it be on a men's or women's course? Or would they just play mini-golf? I'm sure there has to be something else.
LV: Artistic gymnastics. It gets the highest ratings at the Olympics. Everybody loves gymnastics.
RF: I don't think that would work. Men and women compete on different pieces of gymnastics apparatus.
LV: We can limit the competition to the two common events, which are vaulting and floor exercise.
RF: Hey, wait a minute! I saw childhood photos of Lindsey and she did gymnastics as a kid. She would have an unfair advantage over Roger. Anyway, Roger doesn't have the right body type for gymnastics.
LV: How about javelin throwing? Roger has strong arms from tennis and Lindsey is very strong from all of her workouts.
RF: That's also a no-go. Lindsey can throw things really far. I have seen her throw her ski poles many times when she loses a race. If she wasn't a ski racer, she would have won an Olympic gold medal in javelin throwing.
LV: What about bowling? That's a sport where both men and women compete on an equal basis. Roger can't possibly have any problems with bowling.
RF: Would that be American bowling or European style?
LV: American bowling of course. Lindsey doesn't know how to do European bowling. The rules for the games are too complex. American bowling is much simpler.
RF: Since Roger does not have much experience with American bowling, Lindsey would automatically win. Anyway, we can't do anything that would tire out Roger's tennis arm.
LV: I'm out of ideas. Why don't you come up with something?
RF: How about a darts or archery tournament?
LV: Are you kidding?
RF: No. Men and women both have equal chances in darts or archery. It would be fun for both of them.
LV: I think you're forgetting this is going to be televised to the world. Darts and archery are not exactly the most exciting things to watch on TV.
RF: I was also going to suggest snooker, but that is also rather boring to watch.
LV: That's a good thing because Lindsey doesn't play snooker. She's not British!
RF: Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way. Instead of Lindsey and Roger competing in a sport, why don't they play a game? Chess is a very good game. You don't need to have big muscles or athletic ability to play chess.
LV: Uh...Lindsey doesn't play chess. It would be too geeky for her image if she was shown on TV playing chess.
RF: What about Monopoly? Everybody has played Monopoly. In the interest of neutrality, we could play Lithuanian Monopoly so that there is no bias toward the US or Swiss version.
LV: Lindsey doesn't like Monopoly because it involves handling money. Anything that's money-related gives her nightmares about her former tax problems.
RF: Monopoly money is not real money. It's play money.
LV: It doesn't matter. Money is money. I think we will have to give up on the idea of Lindsey and Roger competing against each other in something.
RF: No, we should not give up. I have one more suggestion. How about a match of Rock, Paper, Scissors? It doesn't involve handling money, it isn't considered nerdy, and both men and women are on a level playing field.
LV: Rock, Paper, Scissors would be perfect! Let's set up a date, preferably before the race in Beaver Creek.
RF: I'll meet with Roger, you meet with Lindsey, and then we will set up the TV date for the Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors showdown.
LV: OK, let's meet back here same time next week with all of the details. This will be the biggest sporting event of the year!
At this point both representatives shook hands and left.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.

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