Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Requirements for Changing Nationalities

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

There were rumors earlier this year about Slovak ski racer Adam Zampa changing countries. Russia was supposedly recruiting him for its team. Anna Fenninger's strife with the Austrian Ski Federation also led to rumors about her switching nationalities. What are the exact rules for allowing ski racers to compete for other countries? Well, dear readers, you are in luck because we planned to do a follow-up to the Anna Fenninger versus the OeSV drama by explaining the rules for switching nationalities. One of our intrepid reporters was at International Ski Federation (FIS) headquarters in Switzerland, where he happened to run into our friend Bob, who is also our contact at the FIS. Let's find out what Bob has to say.

BB: Bob, it's good to see you again. What have you been doing lately?
Bob: As you know I was part of the committee that investigated the Freedonian Olympic Ski Team. After that fact-finding mission, I was assigned to media relations. My experience talking to you  Blickbild reporters helped me to get that position. 
BB: It's nice to see that we are good for something. (short pause) We are here to find out the exact procedure for a ski racer to change nationalities. For example, if Anna Fenninger or Adam Zampa had problems with their federations, could they easily switch countries?
Bob: The short answer would be no. According to the Big Book of Rules, there are two options. There is one set of rules if the federation releases the athlete and another if the federation refuses to release the athlete.
BB: Let's start with the federation not releasing the athlete.
Bob: The racer would have to take a year off from competition. When he comes back, he will start off with zero points and get the same start numbers as a World Cup rookie.
BB: So the athlete would not be allowed to race at all?
Bob: Not in any FIS-sanctioned races. A year off means a year off.
BB: What about other races, for example a ski school race? Can the athlete compete in a local ski school race?
Bob: Technically yes. The Big Book of Rules only says no FIS races. But imagine how demoralizing it would be for a child in a beginners' ski school class to be racing against Anna Fenninger or Adam Zampa. I don't think that too many ski instructors would allow that.
BB: What about being a forerunner for a World Cup race? Men are currently allowed to forerun women's races and vice versa.
Bob: I will have to look again at the Big Book of Rules. Being a forerunner is not the same as racing, so I would imagine that should technically be okay. I do see the FIS frowning on athletes who are forerunning races when they are supposed to be taking the year off. It defeats the purpose of taking a year off.
BB: I get the impression that you believe that a ski racer should be taking his year off sitting on the couch, eating junk food, and watching TV or playing video games. Injured athletes are allowed to train, so why shouldn't someone who is taking a year off because his federation would not release him?
Bob: There is a difference between a ski racer taking a year off to recover from an injury and one who decides to change nationalities because of a dispute with his federation. If we were not so strict, then national ski teams would be like English Premier League football clubs where most of the players are not actually English. Can you imagine the Austrian Power team with just a few Austrians and the rest of the team from all of the other FIS member countries? That would not be proper at all.
BB: To sum it up, if a federation won't release the athlete, then the athlete must take a year off and be a sofa skier the whole time. Now what are the options if the national federation releases the athlete?
Bob: There are three options: 1) The athlete must get a passport from the new country; 2) The athlete must have a parent or grandparent from the new country; or 3) The athlete must reside in the new country for at least two years.
BB: Those requirements bring up a lot of questions. Let's start with the residency requirement. Suppose Adam Zampa decided to compete for Russia and moved there with the intention of staying for two years so he could join the team. Could he get a two-for-one discount, or a family discount, on the residency rule if his brother Andreas joined him? In other words, if the Slovak Ski Federation throws Andreas in the deal between Adam and the Russians, would the FIS allow them one year apiece instead of two?
Bob: No. It must be two years per ski racer. There are no two-for-one or family discounts.
BB: Fair enough. What about racers who want to compete for a fictional country? Our readers know the story of the Freedonian Olympic Ski Team.
Bob: The FIS is not the International Olympic Committee. We have enough member nations. I'm sure you noticed that the Freedonians did not compete in any World Cup races or the FIS World Championships. It would be the same for anyone who wants to compete for a fictional nation.
BB: Anna Fenninger was recruited to compete for the planet Zorkon in the Andromeda Galaxy. Assuming the Austrian Federation releases her, how could she possibly meet the two-year residency rule?
Bob: She would have to live either on Zorkon or on one of its colonies.
BB: That would be rather difficult because the Andromeda Galaxy is almost 3 million light years away. Does being on a Zorkonian space ship, or one from another planet, that is stationed on Earth count toward the residency requirement? After all, the space ship is property of that particular planet and therefore could be considered a colony.
Bob: I think you are getting too much into semantics and technicalities.
BB: Not really. A US military base in another country is considered to be part of the States. So why wouldn't a space ship from a distant planet be its sovereign territory on Earth?
Bob: I see your point about Anna satisfying the residency requirement by living in a space ship somewhere in Austria. But that sure sounds like it would really be bending the rules. It looks like we will have to add a provision about alien space ships to the Big Book of Rules. 
BB: What about a ski racer from Zorkon, or another planet? How could he get an FIS racing license?
Bob: The latest Big Book of Rules applies only to Earthlings. But someone from another planet would have to pick a country on Earth, live there for two years, and then apply for a racing license. So far no space aliens that we know of have applied for an FIS racing license. When one does, we will have to modify the Big Book of Rules to deal with that situation.
BB: Assuming that an alien space ship is considered property of another planet, the space aliens would actually have to live outside the ship to establish residency.
Bob: Right. The space aliens would have to actually live in the sponsoring country and not in their spacecraft.
BB: What about racers who train with other countries? For example Tina Weirather trains with the Swiss team and Veronika Velez-Zuzulova trains with the French. Does the time spent in the country of training count toward the residency requirement?
Bob: No, except in the case of Norway and Sweden. Every time a racer eats ojlmsfjaegger in Norway or surstroemming in Sweden without flinching or making disgusted faces, he gets 6 months credit toward his residency.
BB: What if a racer competes in another country's national championship?
Bob: That happens all the time. A racer doesn't get residency credit for winning another country's national championship race. In fact, he would probably be run out of town by angry natives with pitchforks and torches for daring to beat the skiers from that country.
BB: If a racer simply needs to get a passport from a sponsoring country, wouldn't that encourage a black market in passports to get around the residency requirement?
Bob: We thought of that and are developing technology to root out fake passports. If we at the FIS can tell that someone is wearing an arm protector over her speed suit instead of underneath it, then we can surely figure out how to tell a fake passport from a real one.
BB: Another option is having a parent or grandparent from the sponsoring country. During the Cold War, Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia, which was part of the Soviet Bloc. Could Adam Zampa get around the Russian residency and passport requirements because his parents and grandparents were from a country that was in the Soviet sphere of influence?
Bob: Nice try, but unfortunately not. Czechoslovakia was part of the East Bloc, but it was an independent country.
BB: What if you have a grandparent from a country that you never set foot in? For example, if I have a Lithuanian grandparent, but have never been to Lithuania, could I still compete on its national team as a World Cup ski racer?
Bob: Yes. That is correct.
BB: Yet space aliens must meet the two-year requirement or the sponsoring country's rules for obtaining a passport?
Bob: Yes.
BB: Let's see if I understand this. You have an Earthling and a space alien who have never been to a country that they probably can't even find on a map. The Earthling has a grandparent from that country, so he can compete on its national team. The space alien must live in that country and wait two years to compete as a ski racer.
Bob: That is absolutely correct.
BB: Don't you think that the FIS is discriminating against beings from other planets? 
Bob: No. Everyone must follow the same rules, no matter their planetary origin.
BB: But you have different rules for Earthlings and space aliens. That sounds like a clear case of discrimination to me. I'm surprised that the FIS hasn't been sued by someone from another planet. 
Bob: You can't say that because we have nothing in the Big Book of Rules that covers those from other planets.
BB: Bob, you just contradicted yourself. First you said that space aliens must follow the same procedures as Earthlings to switch nationalities or planets. Then you said that there are no rules for space aliens and that you must modify the Big Book of Rules when one applies for an FIS racing license. Which is it?
Bob: You're not as friendly as the reporters from other publications. They never ask questions about space aliens or think that we discriminate against them. Anyway, the FIS is always right, even when it's wrong!
BB: Of course it is. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Bob, I want to thank you for another enlightening interview. I'm sure our readers now understand what it takes for a ski racer to ski for a different country or planet.  I also hope that the FIS modifies the Big Book of Rules so that space aliens are included. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters may seem like they are from another planet, but they really aren't.

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, May 22, 2015

Anna Fenninger versus The Austrian Ski Federation

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

There has been big drama in the Austrian Ski Federation (OeSV) over the past few weeks. Two-time overall globe winner Anna Fenninger and the OeSV have been in the fight of the century. In the right  corner is Anna, who wants to keep her manager. In the left corner is OeSV president Peter Schroecksnadel, who wants Anna to give up her German manager so that he can manage her. We sent one of our intrepid reporters to Austria to try and interview both Anna and Herr Schroecksnadel to get their sides of the story. However, none of them were available. They had already talked to the others about this situation and wanted to be left alone. Not to be deterred, our reporter found the next best person to clarify this story from our unique perspective--our very own Answer Man, who is really one of our intrepid researchers. Let's find out what the Answer Man has to say.

BB: Can you give us some background about this story?
Answer Man: Anna has worked with a German manager for several years and she is happy with him. Herr Schroecksnadel wants her to give up the German manager so that he can manage her. Anna threatened to retire if she could not keep her manager. 
BB: Does Herr Schroecksnadel want Anna to give up her manager because the OeSV wants the money that she brings in, or is it because he is German?
Answer Man: The OeSV seems to have a recent history of bad dealings with the Germans. Fritz Dopfer competes for Germany instead of Austria. The OeSV tried unsuccessfully to get him back a couple of seasons ago. (see this story)
BB: But that is different because Fritz was not considered good enough to make the Austrian team when he was young. He has a German parent, so he decided to compete for Germany instead. The Austrians only wanted him back after he became successful.
Answer Man: Fritz's teammate Felix Neureuther also played an April Fool's trick on both the fans and the OeSV by announcing that he would compete for Austria. The OeSV salivated at the possibility of getting a big star like Felix, only to be told later that it was an April Fool's Day prank. Needless to say, the OeSV was very unhappy about being duped by a German. 
BB: Back to Herr Schroecksnadel wanting to manage Anna along with all of her teammates...Is it normal that the head of a federation also manages the athletes? Doesn't that seem like something from the old Soviet Union?
Answer Man: Schroecksi is an admirer of the old Soviet and East German sports systems.
BB: Wait a minute! The Soviets and East Germans doped their athletes to fulfill their aim of glory through sports. Are you saying that Herr Schroecksnadel supports doping his skiers?
Answer Man: Not at all. But the OeSV and former Soviet Union selected their athletes at a young age and developed them into stars. The federations also managed the athletes and had centralized training. Neither system had athletes who were prima donnas. Anyone who developed a big ego was kicked off the team. Their systems are actually quite similar, except for the doping part. 
BB: Eastern Bloc athletes were not allowed to mingle with the fans or Western athletes, but the Austrian skiers are allowed to. 
Answer Man: Yes, that is true. The OeSV does not need to worry about its athletes being exposed to the decadent West because they are already Western. Anyway, if the Austrians mingle with the French or Italians the only things they may get from them are some good recipes. However, the OeSV strongly discourages its athletes from going into McDonald's or other US fast food restaurants. 
BB: Good call. Marcel Hirscher seems to get what he wants from the OeSV. Why can't Anna?
Answer Man: The story making the rounds is that Marcel has four overall globes while Anna only has two. But that is not the real story. Herr Schroecksnadel manages Marcel, but he has his own team within the OeSV's structure. Marcel also told the OeSV that if he didn't have his own team, he would not allow his former guide dog Whitey to be the team mascot. Everyone on the team, especially Herr Schoecksnadel, loves Whitey and the whole team would have quit if she was no longer the official mascot. Marcel got his own team of trainers with Herr Schroecksnadel managing him and Whitey remained the team mascot. It was a win-win situation for Austria. If Anna had a dog that was team mascot material, things could turn out differently for her.
BB: Tell our readers about Anna leaving the team training camp in Cyprus. Where is she now?
Answer Man: She left the team training camp over the dispute about her management. The OeSV tried to get her to stay by telling her that it would buy her a whole new summer wardrobe, a new bicycle, and a new car, plus find her the perfect celebrity athlete boyfriend. That was obviously not enough. There has been talk of Anna forming her own team, like Tina Maze and Larisa Yurkiw did. But so far nothing has come of it. 
BB: If the situation cannot be resolved, will Anna compete for another country?
Answer Man: A lot of countries have offered asylum to Anna. The US was interested in adding Anna to its team, but that deal was nixed when Lindsey Vonn objected to having a teammate who could upstage her. There have been offers from many African, Asian, and Oceanic countries as well as from Antarctica. Any country would be privileged to have Anna on its team. 
BB: Antarctica?
Answer Man: Yes. If the fictional country of Freedonia can field an Olympic team (see this story), then so can Antarctica. Anna has even had an offer to compete for the planet Zorkon in the Andromeda Galaxy. 
BB: Are you saying that the news about Anna and her dispute with the OeSV has reached outer space?
Answer Man: Yes. 
BB: In order to believe the offer from Zorkon, you must believe that there is life on other planets.
Answer Man: The universe is so huge, there must be other planets out there that are capable of supporting life. Some of the alien life forms may be even more advanced than we humans. 
BB: If Anna were to compete for another planet, how would that work with the FIS? There are special requirements for athletes who want to switch countries.
Answer Man: That's right. The procedure for changing countries is quite complex. If the OeSV decides to release Anna, she can compete for another country. But she needs one of the following: a passport from her new country, a parent or grandparent who is from the new country, or residency in the new country for two years. If the OeSV refuses to release Anna, then she will lose all of her FIS points and be forced to sit out a year. When she returns she would start from zero. If she wants to compete at the Olympics, she would have to wait for three years or get special permission from the IOC to compete. The Mafia hit men from Freedonia were allowed to compete in Sochi because the IOC wanted new countries at the Winter Olympics. It didn't matter that Freedonia is a fictional country. 
BB: But what about competing for another planet? As far as I know, FIS rules only apply to countries on Earth.
Answer Man: Right. Anna would set an interesting precedent if she were to compete for Zorkon. She would be the first ski racer to compete for a different planet. There is nothing in the FIS Big Book of Rules that covers interplanetary or intergalactic transfers. The rules only discuss how a ski racer can compete for another country on Earth. The OeSV may have to release her unconditionally because of that technicality. 
BB: What about the language barrier? Anna speaks German and English. I would assume that the Zorkonians have their own language.
Answer Man: You evidently don't watch enough science fiction movies or TV programs. All of the aliens in them speak perfect English. Those that don't speak English, like the Martians in "Mars Attacks," have special machines that translate their language to English. If the aliens from Zorkon are like the others, they will speak English. 
BB: A lot of the old science fiction movies with alien invasions took place in 1950s America. Many science fiction programs and movies take place in the future. If Anna were to compete for Zorkon, would she have to time travel in order to do so?
Answer Man: That is a very good question. I suppose she might have to. We Earthlings haven't developed time travel technology yet, but maybe the Zorkonians can bring a time travel machine to Earth for Anna. The down side of Anna time traveling is that she won't be able to compete next season because she would either be in the distant past or future. 
BB: If Anna decided to compete for Zorkon, where would she train? Could she stay on Earth and train in Austria, or would she have to go to Zorkon?
Answer Man: Hopefully the Zorkonians would let her stay on Earth to train since that is where the World Cup races take place. That seems to make the most sense.
BB: If the FIS required Anna to live on  Zorkon to establish residency, how long would it take to get there?
Answer Man: The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.9 million light years from Earth. Anna obviously would not survive the trip to Zorkon if she went in a regular space ship or even one that went at the speed of light. She might be able to teleport there if the Zorkonians have that technology. However, if the Zorkonians were to establish a colony on Earth, Anna could live there and get residency credit. 
BB: Where would Zorkonians establish a colony on Earth?
Answer Man: On the only place still left to colonize--Antarctica.
BB: Hmmmm...Did that offer to compete for Antarctica really come from scientists working there, or from Zorkonians who have a secret colony at the South Pole? Are the international scientific teams in Antarctica really aliens from the planet Zorkon?
Answer Man: That sounds like something that our intrepid research team will have to investigate. For now Anna wants to compete for Austria because she is Austrian in heart and soul. But if there is an impasse, the Zorkonian offer is still on the table. 
BB: Ski racing fans want to see Anna on the race pistes, no matter who she competes for. She is one of the most talented racers of this generation and it would be a pity if she quit because of a conflict with the OeSV. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for your insight into the situation with Anna and the OeSV. Let's hope that Anna and the OeSV can resolve their situation to their mutual benefit. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters may seem like they are space aliens, but they are simply 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. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods Split Up

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The US sports power couple, Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn have split up. I bet you are wondering how this can be an exclusive story when it is old news that the others have already reported and beaten to death. We normally would avoid reporting this story like we would raw sewage, but we have our unique spin on it. Our intrepid reporter was unable to talk with either Mr. Woods or Ms. Vonn. But  a member of Lindsey's public relations team, who wanted to be called Mary for this interview, consented to speak with our reporter. Let's find out what she has to say. 

BB: Our readers want to know the real reason why Tiger and Lindsey split up.
Mary: The official reason is that they both have busy lives and couldn't spend as much time together as they would have liked.
BB: That was the official reason reported to the press. But we all know that there is more to it. Did they have a hard time working out how the toilet paper was supposed to be hung?
Mary: I didn't hear anything about that.
BB: Toilet paper is  a bigger issue than you think. Alpine skiing's most beloved power couple, Benjamin Raich and Marlies Schild, found a way to work out how they hang their toilet paper.  (see this story) It evidently worked for them because they just got married. 
Mary: Lindsey never mentioned anything about toilet paper.
BB: Did she serve Tiger tinned ojlmsfjaegger instead of taking the time to make it herself?
Mary: Tinned what?!?
BB: Ojlmsfjaegger. They're the cubes of pickled reindeer heart in a special smoked salmon and chocolate sauce that Ragnhild Mowinckel, Lotte Smithest Sejersted, and Nina Loeseth share with the other racers on their birthdays. They are a special Norwegian birthday treat.
Mary: Those must be the weird things that the Norwegians serve at their parties. Neither Lindsey nor Tiger are Norwegian, so she would not make or buy them for Tiger on his birthday. Anyway, she doesn't cook. 
BB: Could the real reason be that she was having better performances in her sport and he was no longer good enough for her?
Mary: I don't think so. As you recall, Lindsey prefers to be better than those around her. She and Maria Hoefl-Riesch are very good friends. But the year that Maria won the overall globe, Lindsey wasn't her friend anymore. When Lindsey performed better than Maria the next season, they were friends again. 
BB: Was she simply tired of being known as Tiger's latest blonde girlfriend despite her achievements on the race pistes?
Mary: That could be. No matter how hard she tries to promote ski racing in the States, people just don't care about it except at the Olympics. She was much better known as Tiger's girlfriend.
BB: Did she break up with Tiger because she wants to get sympathy points at World Cup races and be known as the heroic racer who overcame a broken heart not just once, but twice, and lived to tell the tale?
Mary: That is very possible. First she overcame two life-threatening injuries in a row and then two real heartbreaks between her divorce from Thomas and breakup with Tiger. She was able to overcome the tragedies in her life to win ski races. That should be the real story.
BB: Now that Lindsey will be out of the tabloids as Tiger's girlfriend, do you think that she needs a new boyfriend to keep herself in the press?
Mary: I'm sure that she will do a good job promoting ski racing on her own, especially with her new foundation.
BB: Of course. But a new new boyfriend would help, especially if he were famous. 
Mary: It goes without saying that any boyfriend she has must be rich, famous, and an athlete in his prime. If he were also British royalty, that would be icing on the cake. But someone who's simply a rich famous athlete will do to help mend her broken heart. Tim Tebow is out because of his religion and he has faded away into oblivion. Roger Federer is married. I don't know who else she would go for.
BB:  I know an athlete who is even bigger worldwide than Tiger Woods who has recently become single. He's the most well-known athlete on the planet--Cristiano Ronaldo! He meets all of the criteria. Ronaldo is not British royalty, but he played for Manchester United before going to Real Madrid.  He could also give Lindsey fabulous hair styling tips. 
Mary: Ronaldo is one of the world's most famous athletes. But there would be the same problem of not having time to see each other. It wouldn't work out for  a couple of reasons. First of all, Ronaldo would upstage Lindsey and she would be known as his girlfriend instead of as someone who wins ski races.  Secondly, Ronaldo is younger than Lindsey and her history shows that she prefers older men.
BB: Then how about Gianluigi Buffon or Iker Casillas? They are older than Lindsey and are also internationally famous athletes. 
Mary: Who?
BB: Everyone in Europe knows that Buffon and Casillas are two of the all-time greatest football goalies. They each won the FIFA World Cup with their teams, plus Casillas' team won two European championships. Their clubs are in the Champions League semi-finals this year.
Mary: They may be famous in Europe, but Lindsey needs someone who Americans can easily recognize. A European soccer goalie won't do for her. Soccer is like ski racing in the States. Nobody cares about it except every four years when the FIFA World Cup is on TV.
BB:  You are saying that she needs a famous American athlete who's older than she is?
Mary: Correct.
BB: I've got it! Lance Armstrong would be her perfect match. He is well-known both in the States and internationally and he is older. They also have something in common because they were both involved with shady doping doctors. Lance had Dr. Ferrari and Lindsey goes to a Red Bull clinic in Salzburg that's run by Dr. Pansold, a former East German doping doctor. 
Mary: Are you crazy?!? That would never work out. Lance has been disgraced because he admitted to cheating. He would totally ruin Lindsey's image as the pure all-American ski racer.
BB: I may be intrepid, but I am not crazy. OK, I see your point about Lance. I have one more suggestion.......Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli. 
Mary: This is getting ridiculous. Where are you coming up with these people?
BB: Vinnie is perfect. He was on an Olympic ski racing team, so they are in the same sport. She doesn't have to pretend to like another sport like she did with Tiger and golf. Vinnie was on the Freedonian Ski Team, but he is from New Jersey, which makes him American. Vinnie is also older than Lindsey, has no connections with doping doctors, and won't upstage her by being a threat to her records. Lindsey is being called heartless in the press for dumping Tiger on the anniversary of his father's death. What better way to rehabilitate that image than by having a romance with the former bodyguard who spent time in an asylum for the criminally insane because he was blamed for her injury!
Mary: Hmmmm....very interesting.....I see your point. I will have to talk to Lindsey and see what she thinks about starting a romance with Vinnie. She may be up for it even though he's not a celebrity
BB: One more thing. Lindsey was named an honorary ambassador for the 2018 Olympics. Wouldn't Vinnie have been a better choice? After all, Baron Pierre de Coubertin said that the most important thing at the Olympics was not to win but to take part. Don't you think that Vinnie exemplifies that motto more than Lindsey?
Mary: From what I read, he didn't actually take part in Sochi.
BB: He most certainly did! Vinnie may not have raced, but he took part in the security detail. That could be considered taking part in the Olympics. 
Mary: Now you're getting into semantics. Lindsey actually competed in three Olympics and would be a great honorary ambassador.
BB: It's true that Lindsey was in more Olympics than Vinnie. He was a late bloomer as a ski racer, which shouldn't count against him. Lindsey won a gold medal while Vinnie took part. If Baron de Coubertin were alive today, he would have picked Vinnie over Lindsey to be the honorary ambassador. Therefore, Vinnie would be the perfect representative of the Olympic Spirit. 
Mary: But the baron is not alive and Lindsey got the position, so get over it!
BB: There's no need to be hostile. I was simply stating the facts. 
Mary: Sorry. I tend to get defensive where Lindsey is concerned because a lot of people seem to dislike her for some unknown reason. The first step is to get Lindsey and Vinnie together and then keep their romance alive in the press. All of us on Lindsey's public relations team will work on doing what we can to promote Lindsey, ski racing, and her relationship with Vinnie. If it works out with Vinnie, Lindsey's influence may help to get him an honorary Olympic ambassadorship.
BB: Let's see what happens. Well, it looks like we are just about out of time. Mary, I want to thank you for this interview. It was interesting to talk to you. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: None of our staff members are involved with either doping doctors or Mafia hit men.

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, May 4, 2015

Witch Doctor of the Year Finalists Announced

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The five finalists for the Dave Seville Witch Doctor of the Year Award have just been announced. Four are from the sport of Alpine skiing, while the fifth nominee is from football (soccer to our North American readers). The five finalists are: Two-time Dave Seville Award winner  Dr. Mabongo, two-time Dave Seville Award runner-up Dr. Djibuku, Kjetil Jansrud's grandmother, former Bayern Munich team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, and the Stone of Doom. We will do an analysis of the five candidates and then ask our Answer Man, who is really one of our intrepid researchers, who he thinks will win the Dave Seville Award in July.

The five candidates will be presented in alphabetical order and not ranked by the odds of winning the award.

1. Dr. Djibuku. Dr. Djibuku has been the French men's team witch doctor for the past two seasons and has done a great job with both the technical and speed teams. In 2013 and 2014 he was the runner-up for this award, though many felt that he should have won it last year.
Pro: Has done an excellent job with the French men's team, especially with Guillermo Fayed and Alexis Pinturault. Guillermo had a great season and was on the podium, or had top-5 finishes, in the speed disciplines. Alexis was 3rd overall, 2nd in the giant slalom standings, and won a bronze medal in Vail. Jean-Baptiste Grange also won a gold medal in Vail under Dr. Djibuku's guidance.
Con: The French men were good, but not always very consistent in both the speed and technical disciplines. This could work against Dr. Djibuku.

2. Grandma Jansrud. Kjetil Jansrud's grandmother is not a witch doctor by training. She is the official supplier of ojlmsfjaegger to both the Norwegian men's and women's ski teams. Grandma Jansrud is the first woman to be nominated for the Dave Seville Award.
Pro: Kjetil Jansrud was 2nd overall and won the downhill and Super-G globes. He was practically unbeatable in the speed events early in the season. Lotte Smithest Sejersted and Ragnhild Mowinckel were also starting to have good results. When Grandma Jansrud was hospitalized during the season, Kjetil Jansrud went into a slump. That showed how powerful her ojlmsfjaegger are.
Con: Injuries to both Sejersted and Mowinkel prevented them from competing for a full season.

3. Dr. Mabongo. Dr. Mabongo was the first witch doctor to be hired by a national ski team. He spent two years working with the German women's team and the past season with the men's team. In 2013 and 2014 he was the winner of the Dave Seville Award.
Pro: Fritz Dopfer had one of his best seasons and was very consistent in both slalom and giant slalom. Felix Neureuther led the slalom standings until finals. Linus Strasser showed that he is one to watch next season. Stefan Luitz had his first World Cup podium. Dopfer and Neureuther also won medals in Vail.
Con: Stefan Luitz was injured and sat out a lot of the season. Neureuther was ahead by 55 points in the slalom standings going into finals and lost the globe to Marcel Hirscher. It turned out that he was having back problems, which Dr. Mabongo could not prevent.

4. Dr. Mueller-Wohlfahrt. The former team doctor of the Bayern Munich football club is not a witch doctor. But his actions could qualify him as one.
Pro: He put a hex on his whole team and many of the starters have been injured. Somehow he has psychic powers and must have known that he would leave the team. His parting shot was to curse the team with injuries. Even Bayern Munich's trainer knew that Dr. Mueller-Wohlfahrt cursed the team because he was blamed for Bayern's Champions League loss to Porto.
Con: He basically bit the hand that fed him by cursing his own team.

5. The Stone of Doom. Yes, a rock is the fifth candidate for the Dave Seville Award. But if a dead person (Bela Gutmann) could be nominated, then so can an inanimate object. The Naughty Ninja Stone of Doom is just as worthy a candidate for the Dave Seville Award as the other four.
Pro: The Stone of Doom derailed Ted Ligety's chance for a fourth consecutive win in Soelden and also  ended his winning streak in Kranjska Gora. It also prevented Lindsey Vonn from winning a medal in the downhill in Vail. The stone was so stealthy in the downhill race that Vonn didn't even feel that she had run over it. Having the ability to teleport itself from place to place also helped it become a nominee for year's best witch doctor.
Con: Nobody knows what the Naughty Stone really looks like. If the Stone of Doom wins, how will anyone know if the real stone is accepting the award or a rock that's an imposter?

BB: Now we ask our Answer Man who he thinks has the best chance to be crowned Witch Doctor of the Year.
Answer Man: I think that this year there is no clear favorite. Dr. Mabongo was the clear winner in 2013 and it was close with Dr. Djibuku last year. This year could be Dr. Djibuku's year to finally win. Grandma Jansrud has a good chance to bribe the award committee with her homemade ojlmsfjaegger,  although the committee members claim that they cannot be bought. But her ojlmsfjaegger is hard to resist and she could become the first woman to win the Dave Seville Award. I don't see Dr. Mueller-Wohlfahrt winning the Dave Seville Award. Football player David Alaba may be the Austrian Athlete of the Year, but the award committee seems to favor witch doctors who work for ski teams. The Stone of Doom is setting an interesting precedent because it is the first inanimate object to be nominated for the Dave Seville award. If the stone wins, it could open the door for other inanimate objects to be award candidates. Does the award committee want to be conservative and vote for a real person, or will it dare to be different? I foresee a three-way race between Drs. Mabongo and Djibuku and Grandma Jansrud. We will have to wait until July to find out if the award goes to a real witch doctor, a Norwegian grandmother, a former football team doctor, or a rock.
BB: Of course we will have one of our intrepid reporters bringing everyone all of the action at the award ceremony. Well, we are just about out of time. I want to thank our intrepid research team for summarizing the pros and cons of each candidate and our Answer Man for his analysis of who he thinks will win. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: You don't have to wait until July to read our stories.

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