Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saalbach and Maribor Wrap-Up

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The races in Saalbach and Maribor had more than their fair share of excitement and surprises. Our intrepid reporters were in both places looking for the stories that nobody else would dare to print. Of course our gallant journalists found stories that the others ignored. We will do news briefs instead of our normal interview format. Let's find out what our reporters have to say...

Training Doesn't Count. Adrien Theaux executed a perfect Kristian Ghedina spread-eagle jump and landed on his feet during one of the downhill practice runs. He earned a score of 20 out of 10 for his graceful position in the air and pinpoint landing from the artistry judges on the sideline. It was a record artistic impression score. But wait! According to Section 12.3 in the FIS Big Book of Rules, the only artistry scores that can be submitted for records must occur during actual competition. The French Ski Federation appealed to the FIS to  have it count, citing the forerunner who tied for an artistry gold medal in Vail, but its plea fell on deaf ears. The French representatives were told that if Adrien, or any other racers, want to set a new artistry record, they must do so in a real race.

No More Witch Doctors? After Austria swept the three podium places in the Saalbach downhill, the ski blogosphere lit up with complaints about how the Austrians had the home advantage. If home snow advantage was really such a big thing, then Georg Streitberger would have won the race, or at least been on the podium. But he wasn't. Georg is from the Saalbach area. The athletes may have been competing in their home country, but they still had to perform on race day and they did. So much for the naysayers who claimed that the Austrian speed team is washed up. But the real issue that the Austrian sweep in Saalbach raises has nothing to do with home snow advantage. Austria is one of the few teams that does not have a witch doctor. The Austrian coaching delegation believes that the Power Team is so good that it doesn't need a witch doctor. Over the past two seasons there has been a huge demand for witch doctors. The FIS even set up a special course to train witch doctors because the countries which have them are no longer issuing witch doctor visas. It is possible that the Austrian sweep could convince teams that they don't really need a witch doctor to be successful. Then there would be a lot of unemployed witch doctors heading back to Africa, South America, and Oceania and resulting economic chaos in their homelands. Let's hope that the teams with witch doctors will keep them in order to prevent world economic collapse.

Witch Doctors II. German ski team witch doctor Dr. Mabongo went to Maribor to work with the women. Whatever he did paid off and he is the top witch doctor of the weekend. He is definitely the front runner for this year's Dave Seville Award. Viktoria Rebensburg started the weekend off with a close 2nd place finish in the giant slalom race. In the slalom race the next day, the two German women in the second run, Lena Duerr and Maren Wiesler, both had their best finishes in a World Cup slalom. Lena was 5th and Maren 12th. Now the Germans have a dilemma. After working with the women for almost two seasons, Dr. Mabongo switched over to the men's team. The German men have had great results this season. Now what will the German Ski Federation (DSV) do? Will Dr. Mabongo stay with the men or go back to the women's team? Or will the DSV hire a second witch doctor? We will provide updates as soon as we get them.

Almost Doesn't Count. Lindsey Vonn repeating endlessly on social media about how she had the fastest first split in the Maribor giant slalom brings up an interesting question for the FIS. Will a racer only get World Cup points if she crosses the finish line? Or could she earn special bonus points for having the fastest times between the start and first split, the first to the second split, or the last split to the finish line even if she has a DNF? One of our intrepid reporters talked to Bob, our contact at the FIS. Bob told our reporter that for now the only time that counts is when an athlete crosses the finish line. Basketball players don't get a point if their shot hits the rim and footballers (soccer players to our US readers) don't get a partial point if they hit the crossbar or post. A ski racer could be the very fastest up until the last gate before the finish, but if she misses that gate, her run goes into the race record as a DNF and the split times are meaningless. The FIS also does not keep records of who had the highest number fastest split times in a season or a career. But Bob also said that the FIS is always open to new ideas and could discuss the idea of giving points for the fastest split times in races.

Artistry Awards. No race weekend report is complete without the artistic impression awards. Kathrin Zettel may have had the best second slalom run in Maribor, but she also had the highest artistry score of the weekend. During the first run she had a balance break and ended up on one ski. She earned a score of 9.2, getting bonus points for technical merit for going around a gate on one ski. Marie-Michele (Mitch) Gagnon and Tina Maze copied Benni Raich's 360 spin in Vail but with different results. Mitch beat Tina by a score of 8.7 to 8.15. Mitch did a 360 but was deducted for a bend in the waist. Since the 360 had been done before, neither she nor Tina earned an originality bonus. But Mitch stayed on her feet, while Tina received a mandatory 0.5 deduction for her fall.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Almost doesn't count. That's why we don't hire people who are almost intrepid.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vail Judging Controversy

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

It seems that every major championship these days has a judging controversy. At the Olympics Max Franz was stripped of his artistry gold medal due to irregularities with the judging (see this story). Now it looks like there was a new judging scandal in Vail. Austrian legend Benjamin Raich and Forerunner Number Three tied for the gold medal in artistry. But many felt that Forerunner Number Three should have won gold outright and Raich should have earned silver. Our intrepid research team investigated the judging and one of our researchers talked to Bob, our favorite contact at the FIS. Let's find out what he has to say.

BB: Nice to see you again, Bob. Do you do any actual work at the FIS?
Bob: Yes. I was on the committee that investigated the Freedonian ski racing team (see this story) and I now work with artistry judges. In fact, I just graduated from the judging course and am a certified ski artistry judge.
BB: Congratulations! So it looks like you're the perfect person to talk to about the artistry judging in Vail. (short pause) Before we begin, tell us a little bit about Forerunner Number Three.
Bob: His true identity is Florian Szwebel and he's 18 years old. Florian is a member of the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. He hopes to earn a spot on the US ski team.
BB: If he keeps up his artistic skiing, he will be a shoo-in for a spot on the US team.  (short pause) Let's talk about the artistic impression judging in Vail.
Bob: The judging was very fair.
BB: I never implied that it was unfair. Let's take our readers step-by-step to explain how the artistry scores in Vail were figured. We'll start with the basics. There are six artistry judges, correct?
Bob: That is correct. There is also a head judge who steps in if the scores seem out of line. For example, if there is a big difference in the scores, the head judge's score will count. The head judge also has the authority to tell the others to raise or lower their scores.
BB: Where do these judges come from?
Bob: Three out of the six on the panel must be from the following countries: Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden and the USA. The other judges must be from a country that is an FIS member. The head judge can be from any country that belongs to the FIS.
BB: What was the composition of the judging panel in Vail for the men's slalom race?
Bob: The six judges for the men's slalom were from: Sweden, Norway, France, Croatia, Spain, and Canada. The head judge was Italian.
BB: I see that there were no Austrian or US judges on that panel.
Bob: Austria is banned from having judges on any artistry panel this season as part of the Max Franz decision. Judges for every race are chosen by a random draw.
BB: How is the scoring figured?
Bob: The six judges give the racer a score. The high and low scores are thrown out and the middle 4 scores are averaged. If the middle four scores are still far apart, the head judge's score gets averaged in.
BB: What is the maximum score that a racer can get for artistic impression?
Bob: Ten.
BB: Wait a minute! Benni and Florian both earned a score of 14.2. How is that possible if the maximum score is 10?
Bob: Racers can actually earn over ten points because of special bonuses for difficulty, originality, and technical merit. There are many pages in the judging code that explain all of the mandatory bonuses and deductions as well as ones that judges can take at their discretion.
BB: It sounds quite complicated.
Bob: It is. The judging course takes 6 months and you must pass the test with a score of 90 percent or better. You can't just walk in off the street and become an FIS artistry judge.
BB: You also can't walk in off the street and become a Blickbild reporter or researcher. We  have the most intrepid crew in the business. (short pause) Now that we know how the scores are figured, let's go through how Benni and Florian's scores were calculated.
Bob: I'll start with Benni. He received 9.5s across the board from the six judges.  They would have given him a 10, but he straddled. A straddle is a mandatory 0.5 point deduction.
BB: It seems that the judges were very impressed with Benni.
Bob: Of course they were! He is a legend. Benni also received 4.7 bonus points. He earned a 2-point originality bonus for the 360 degree spin move, 1.0 for staying on his feet the whole time, 1.0 for keeping his rhythm after the spin, and 0.7 for his balance and control during the spin.
BB: Now please break down Florian's score.
Bob: Florian received 10s from five out of the 6 judges. The Croatian judge gave him a 9.9, which was thrown out along with one of the 10s. Florian received the following bonuses: 2.0 in originality and technical merit bonus for skiing in his boots and executing slalom turns in boots, 1.0 for keeping his balance and control after coming out of his skis, 1.0 for his graceful arm positions while sliding down the hill in his boots, 0.5 for keeping his rhythm after losing his skis, and 0.5 for his controlled stop.
BB: Hey! That adds up to 15 points. How did he end up tying for gold with Benni? Did some of the judges fail a basic math test?
Bob: This is where the head judge stepped in.
BB: But the scores were not out of line. The high and low scores were within 0.1 point of each other. 
Bob: One of the qualifications for becoming an artistry judge is to be familiar with the FIS Big Book of Rules. There are even questions about the Big Book of Rules on the judging exam. The head judge came up to Markus Waldner, the new FIS men's race director, and asked if a forerunner could win a world championship gold medal. Herr Waldner, who is an expert on the Big Book of Rules, said that forerunners are not eligible for medals. Section 15.2 Paragraph 1 of the Big Book of Rules states that only actual racers can receive awards. However, he was willing to make an exception for Mr. Szwebel since his move was so incredible. The only thing was that as a forerunner, he was not allowed to beat one of the real racers. The head judge told the others that they had to lower their base score to 9.2 so that Florian would be tied with Benni.
BB: I see. Did the judges protest?
Bob: No, but the audience was upset and booed the score. The spectators felt that Florian should have won gold and Benni silver.
BB: When we watched the video of Benni straddling and doing his spin, the camera then showed his partner Marlies Schild with a disappointed look on her face. Why was she so disappointed about Benni getting an artistry medal?
Bob: She was disappointed about the straddle. He had a DNF in the giant slalom event and another in the slalom because of the straddle. At the time she was not sure that he would win an artistry medal.
BB: What do the athletes think of artistry medals?
Bob: They are serious about them, just like they are about the team medals. I'm sure that an athlete would prefer to win a discipline medal. But an artistry medal is just as good. When an athlete talks about his or her medal count, team and artistry medals are included.
BB: After Vail, will the FIS consider giving artistry medals to forerunners?
Bob: We will have to discuss that at our summer meeting. Florian's move was so unique, it had to be rewarded. But we want our forerunners to concentrate on doing their jobs instead of thinking up creative moves that upstage the racers. It is doubtful that forerunners will be eligible for artistry points or medals in the future.
BB: What about giving artistry awards during training? At the downhill training in Saalbach, Adrien Theaux did a Ghedina and landed a perfect spread eagle jump. The judges gave him 20 points for that move.
Bob: No. Just like the racers use training runs to get a feel for the course, the artistry judges use training runs to get used to each other and see how their scores compare with each other. Training runs don't count for World Cup points or medals. Artistry scores during training runs also don't count. It's only the races that count.
BB: That makes sense. Well Bob, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for this interview. It is always good to talk to you. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters and researchers get 12 points out of 10 for being intrepid.

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.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Geography Lessons

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

After Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger won their second gold medals, we sent one of our intrepid reporters into the stands in Vail and Beaver Creek to see what US ski racing fans knew about Slovenia, Liechtenstein, and Austria. Double gold medalists Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger are from Slovenia and Austria respectively. But why Liechtenstein? At the award ceremony for the Super-G race, the announcers didn't realize that 6th place finisher Tina Weirather is from Liechtenstein and not Austria. We won't be describing the people who talked to our reporter because they did not want to be identified even by gender or age. Let's find out what US racing fans had to say about European geography.

BB: What do you know about Slovenia?
Person #1: It's part of the former Soviet Union. 
BB: It's actually part of the former Yugoslavia. Where is Liechtenstein?
Person #1: I would imagine that it's somewhere in Europe.
BB: Good enough.

BB: Name three famous people or things from Austria.
Person #2: Let's racers, kangaroos...I can't think of anything else. 
BB: What would you say if I told you that the only kangaroos in Austria are in zoos?
Person #2: That seems awfully cruel to those poor kangaroos. They should be allowed to go free so we can see them in their natural habitat.  

BB: Tell me about Slovenia.
Person #3: It's the country that went to war with Freedonia. 
BB: That's Sylvania. You do realize that both Freedonia and Sylvania are not real countries?
Person #3: Are you sure? I saw a movie about a war between those two countries.
BB: That was an old Marx Brothers movie called "Duck Soup," which was fictional.

BB: Is Liechtenstein a large or small country?
Person #4: With a name like that, it must be very large.

BB: Name a famous person from Austria.
Person #5: Crocodile Dundee!
BB: He's Australian, not Austrian. 
Person #5: Is there a difference?

BB: Tina Maze put her country of Slovenia on the map with her two gold medals. Tell me what you know about Slovenia.
Person #6: It's the place where Borat is from.
BB: Borat is from Kazakhstan. He and Tina Maze do have something in common because they both made the world aware of their countries. But Kazakhstan and Slovenia are far away from each other. 

BB: Name three famous people or things from Austria.
Person #7: Um...mountains, Mozart, and Bruno.
BB: Bruno is a character played by Sacha Baron Cohen. But I'll accept that answer  because Bruno is technically Austrian.

BB: What do you know about Liechtenstein?
Person #8: It's an Austrian colony. That's why they said that Tina Weirather is from Austria.

BB: What language do people in Slovenia speak?
Person #9: Slovenian.
BB: That's correct. What about in Austria?
Person #9: German
BB: That's also correct. What do they speak in Liechtenstein?
Person #9: Liechtensteinian. 

BB: What is the capital of Austria?
Person #10: Vienna
BB: Correct. What is the capital of Slovenia?
Person #10: Um.....Budapest?
BB: That's the capital of Hungary. The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana. What about the capital of Liechtenstein?
Person #10:  Liechtenstein City?
BB: It's Vaduz. 

BB: Name a famous movie that takes place in Austria.
Person #11: The Sound of Music
BB: Right! At the end of that movie, the Von Trapp family escapes by hiking over the Alps into Switzerland. Can you really go from Salzburg to Switzerland over the Alps?
Person #11: Yes. They wouldn't have put that in the movie if it wasn't true. 
BB: The Von Trapps actually took a train to Italy and then took a boat to America. If they went over the mountains from Salzburg, they would have ended up in Nazi Germany. 
Person #11: I think you're wrong. The movie is correct.
BB: At the end of the movie the Von Trapp family is hiking over the Alps without backpacks, warm clothing, food, or water. Maria is wearing high heels. Was that also real?
Person #11: No, it was a movie! It's called artistic license.

BB: Do you know where Slovenia is?
Person #12: Of course I do. I passed through it on my way to Vail.
BB: Oh really? Did you fly to Vail from Europe?
Person #12: No, I drove here from Los Angeles.

Our intrepid reporter also showed people a world map and asked them to find Austria, Slovenia, and Liechtenstein. Half of the people were able to find Austria, while the other half pointed to Australia. When asked to find Slovenia, people pointed to: Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and one person even pointed to South Dakota. Liechtenstein was even harder. About 60% of the people questioned said that it does not exist since they could not find it. Twenty percent pointed to either Lesotho or Latvia. The other twenty percent said that Liechtenstein was too small to be shown on a map.

There you have it! And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: None of the people surveyed would make it as a Blickbild reporter. Our reporters have to pass a geography test before they are hired.

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, February 17, 2015

Vail Highlights

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Our intrepid reporters and researchers were in Vail bringing our readers the stories that the others don't dare to report. They worked overtime finding the things that the others ignored in Vail, which is why our report is a bit late. But, as they say, better late than never. Let's find out what our journalists came up with...

1. It's deja vu all over again. Yogi Berra would have loved this one. The 2010 Olympics Super-G was that last major championship race where Lindsey Vonn won a bronze medal. The Austrian trainer set the course, an Austrian racer won the gold medal, and Tina Maze won the silver medal. Ms. Vonn's ex-husband, who was her trainer at the time, accused the Austrians of conspiring to make her lose (see  this article).  Fast forward five years to to Vail. The course setter for the Super-G was the Austrian trainer, though a different one than in Vancouver. The winner was Austrian, Tina Maze won silver, and Lindsey Vonn got the bronze medal. Here is another coincidence that was pointed out by one of our Alert Readers. The winner in Vancouver, Andrea Fischbacher, and Vail gold medalist Anna Fenninger both have the same initials. Is this just a weird coincidence or a planned Austrian conspiracy? This sounds like a job for our intrepid research team.

2. Two Awards, One Slope.  Men's downhill gold medalist Patrick Kueng is the only ski racer to win two different awards on the same race piste. Earlier in the season Patrick executed this epic save in the Beaver Creek World Cup downhill race. His score was over 17 points out of a possible 10 for artistry. He earned bonus points for his right leg being straight back when he landed and for his graceful arm positions and landing on one ski without falling. He set a record artistry score with that save that may never be broken. At the World Championships Patrick stayed on both skis and won the gold medal in the downhill. He may not have been as acrobatic in the World Championships, but the gold medal made up for it.

3. Someone Didn't Do His Homework.  During the women's Super-G race, one of the US commentators said that gold medalist Anna Fenninger was from Russia. Anna is from Salzburg, which was still in Austria the last time our intrepid research team looked at a map. Russia and Austria are not neighboring countries by any stretch of the imagination, though St. Petersburg and Salzburg both start with an S and end in "burg."Anna cannot see Russia from her house. At the Super-G award ceremony, 6th place finisher Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was introduced as being from Austria. That mistake is a little more excusable because Liechtenstein borders Austria. But Tina trains with the Swiss team. Switzerland is the other country which borders Liechtenstein. Also at the Super-G award ceremony, the children's choir which sang the Austrian national anthem left out some words. Oops. Did they really think that nobody would notice the missing words? Uh...Maybe 99% of the spectators didn't think anything was amiss with the Austrian national anthem, but Anna certainly noticed.

4. Who Are These Guys? US racer Travis Ganong won the silver medal in the men's downhill and his teammate Steve Nyman was 4th. But very few people seemed to know who they were. Many of the spectators  thought that Bode Miller was the entire US men's team. This was something which separated the true ski racing fans from the people who were in Vail simply to be seen. When Bode went out with an injury in the Super-G, most spectators thought that the whole US team was out. People were demanding refunds simply because they didn't realize that Travis and Steve are now the main men of the US speed team now.

5. Redemption is Sweet. Two seasons ago the Swiss men did not win a single medal in Schladming. In Vail they won gold (Patrick Kueng) and bronze (Beat Feuz) in the downhill race. In just two seasons the Swiss men went from being threatened with relegation to competing in women's races (see this story)  to being medal winners against their fellow men. The only one who was really disappointed was Carlo Janka, who wanted to become the first racer to win gold medals in the men's and women's division at a World Championship. We hope that the Swiss men can keep up their momentum.

6.  Where was Vinnie? Two years ago in Schladming everyone was asking where Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli was when Lindsey Vonn crashed and tore her ACL. This year the same question was asked, but for a different reason. Vinnie and his Freedonian teammates did not get to compete in Vail. Evidently the International Ski Federation (FIS) has stricter criteria about the countries that can enter racers in the World Championships. While the International Olympic Committee allowed the fictional country of Freedonia to enter a team for Sochi, the FIS has a rule that says only racers from real countries can compete at a World Championship. It looks like we will have to wait until the 2018 Olympics to see Vinnie and his fellow Freedonian Mafia enforcers on the race pistes. However, Vinnie and his colleagues were in Vail working as part of the security detail.

Now for our special awards....

1. Best Excuse. Lindsey Vonn may not have won a gold medal in Vail, but she gets one for having the best excuse for not winning. After placing 5th in the downhill race, Ms. Vonn said that that snow was different than it was during the training runs. She did not elaborate any further. Our intrepid research team was put to work trying to figure out what she meant. Was the snow harder, softer, icier, wetter, warmer, colder, or more powdery? It was none of the above. The reason why the snow was different in the real race than it was in training was that it was a different shade of white. During the training runs the snow was eggshell white but on race day it was pearl white. Most recreational skiers would not recognize the subtle difference in shades of white, but World Cup athletes are sensitive to those differences and those little variations can affect performance.

2. Top Witch Doctor. Dr. Djibuku of France, who works with the men's team. French men won a gold medal in the slalom, and bronzes in the Super-G and giant slalom races. Germany's Dr. Mabongo was close behind. Dr. Mabongo works with the German men's team, but in Vail he also worked with the women. German racers won silver in the women's giant slalom and silver and bronze in the men's slalom. Norway's Dr. Mwafume was a distant third. Kjetil Jansrud won a silver medal in the super-combined, but the Norwegians failed to win medals in the other events. You may be asking, what about Austria? Yes, Austria won the most medals, but they did it without a witch doctor.

3. Best Artistry.  No championship report from the Blickbild would be complete without an award for best artistry. Our intrepid reporters didn't see anything worth mentioning until the very last day in the men's slalom race. It was almost to the point where we would not have given an artistry award. But the last day of competition gave us our two winners...Benjamin Raich of Austria and Forerunner Number Three. Benni straddled a gate and did a 360 degree spin before continuing for a short while. He scored 14.2 out of a possible 10 points, earning bonuses for the 360 spin and keeping his momentum and rhythm. His score would have been even higher if he didn't straddle the gate first. That would have broken Patrick Kueng's scoring record. Forerunner Number Three tied Benni's mark.  After losing his skis, he stayed on his feet and slid down doing slalom turns on his boots before coming to a controlled stop on the sideline. He earned bonus points for his beautiful arm positions and for the originality of combining surfing with skiing. Forerunners are not normally eligible for our awards, but his move was so unique it deserved a medal.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters and researchers are so unique that they deserve medals.

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.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Vail Fashion Statements

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Our intrepid reporters are in Vail, bringing our readers all of the news that the others don't dare to print. While the others were reporting on the opening ceremony and the role of the wind in the women's Super-G, we marched to a different drummer. One of our never-say-die journalists found two students of fashion design who were willing to talk to him about the latest trends in speed suit fashion. Trent Dillon and Roger Niedermeyer came all the way from New York City to attend the world championships. Let's find out what they have to say.

BB: Good morning, Trent and Roger.
Roger: It's not Roger, it's Ro-Zhay.
BB: What?
Roger: My name is pronounced Ro-Zhay, not Rod-Jer.
BB: Excuse me. Are you two ski racing fans?
Trent: What's not to like about ski racing? Who can resist a hot man in a ski-tight suit speeding down a mountain? I can't.
Roger: Oooooooh! Neither can I! Nothing beats big brutes in speed suits!
BB: What about the women?
Trent and Roger (together): Ewwwww!
BB: You two are studying fashion design, is that correct?
Roger: That's right. We're in our last year of design college. Our final project is to come up with a line of clothing.
Trent: Everyone else in our class is designing dresses or suits. Boring! Since we love ski racing, our final project is going to be a line of racing suits.
BB: For men, women, or both?
Trent: Of course for men, but women who want to race against men could wear them too.
Roger: As fans of the male racers, we came to Vail for inspiration. We wanted to see the latest trends in speed suit fashion and see if we could predict the next trend.
BB: I see. Have you found anything useful for your final project?
Roger: We have. We have been studying the trends in speed suits for the past 20 years.
Trent: And of course the guys wearing them.
BB: Let's try and stay on the subject of racing suits. We have noticed that race suits are getting more and more, shall we say, interesting. A plain race suit is no good anymore.
Roger: Well of course not. You have to remember that racers don't just win because they're the fastest ones down the mountain. They also get artistry points for their suits and how well their helmets and boots match them. (see this story)
Trent: That's right. Ski teams now hire wardrobe consultants to ensure that the racers look good. Everyone knows that when you look good on the outside, you feel good on the inside and will perform better.
BB: That's right. Roger (pronouncing it Ro-Zhay), what is your favorite speed suit?
Roger: I like the Italian suits the best. They may be classically simple, but sometimes less is more. I can see every muscle on an Italian racer's body without the distraction of busy patterns in the fabric. If I were an artistry judge, I would give the Italian team bonus points for their suits and for the scrumptious men who wear them.
Trent: The Italian speed suits are boring! They're only one color. Yawn! Who wants vanilla ice cream when you can have triple nut caramel fudge?
Roger: At least the Italian suits have color! Have you seen the Canadian suits for Vail? They're gray! Who in their right mind wears gray in the winter? You need color to brighten your mood and provide a contrast to the dreary weather.
BB: Trent, you obviously don't like plain racing suits. Which one is your favorite?
Trent: I'm partial to Finland's. They are putting everything together into one suit--a black and white checkerboard pattern with a touch of colored stripes.
Roger: Someone needs to design clothing for circus clowns! First of all, everyone knows you don't mix checks and stripes. Secondly, those suits make the racers look fat. Horizontal stripes combined with the checkerboard pattern have that effect. When you look fat, you feel sluggish. There's a reason no racer from Finland has won a race this season. They should at least have vertical stripes for a slimming effect.
BB: Who are your favorite racers?
Trent: Aksel Lund Svindal and Felix Neureuther.
Roger: Get out! They're my favorites too! Don't forget Christof Innerhofer, Carlo Janka, Matteo Marsaglia, Marcel Hirscher, Adam Zampa, and Ted Ligety.
Trent: Adam and Ted aren't really my type because I'm not into blonds. But I'll take the others and also Travis Ganong. He has a beard to die for!  Are they single?
BB: I'm afraid not. They either have girlfriends or they're straight. 
Trent: That figures. All the good men are either married or straight.
BB: Back to racing suits. You said that you had been studying racing suit trends. What do you think about Germany having the same suit for the past 20 plus years? They just change the color of the top part. 
Trent: Germany was ahead of its time with that suit 20 years ago with the zebra pattern. But the Germans need to get a new look. A white suit with splashes of black, red, and yellow would make the German racers look like they are actually in the 21st century.
Roger: I like the German suits. They have been around so long that they are now considered retro. And everyone knows that retro is the in thing these days.
BB: What do you lads think the future trend in speed suits will be?
Roger: Lots of sequins, feathers, and even rhinestones. My Bedazzler is ready!
Trent: Mine too!
BB: Uh....This is ski racing and not figure skating. I'm not sure how the racers would feel about wearing sequins, feathers, and rhinestones.
Trent: You are obviously straight and don't know what the biggest Winter Olympic sport is--it's figure skating. What do you think the men wear on their skating costumes? Anyway, the current suits won't be good enough for an artistry bonus in the future. Designers need to go above and beyond what they are doing now.
Roger: You said that you don't like the Italian racing suits. But imagine a red suit shimmering with red sequins or a blue one with blue sequins. That would be beyond fabulous!
Trent: Or imagine the Austrian suits with the words, "Power Team" spelled out in rhinestones. How stupendous is that!
Roger: I hate the Finnish suits now, but imagine them with the white squares filled in with rhinestones, the black squares with sequins, and the stripes with colored feathers. I can't think of anything more divine that that!
Trent: Oh my! That is even better than adding rhinestones and feathers to Hubertus von Hohenlohe's mariachi suit or filling in the polka dots on Argentina's racing suit with sequins!
Roger: Visualize this...Felix Neureuther in a German suit with the black stripes filled in with sequins. What could be hotter than Felix with a shimmery retro look?
Trent: Nothing! I think we should head back to New York and start working on our designs.
BB: What about the races? Didn't you come to Vail to watch the races?
Roger: Well, yeah! By the end of the championships, we will have lots of fantabulous designs for racing suits.
Trent: We will definitely have the top marks in our class for our speed suits. I'm sure a national team or individual racer will want one of our suits. Or we could be fashion consultants for a ski team too.
BB: Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for this interview and wish you good luck on your final design project. Perhaps we will see your work on a ski racer in the near future. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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