Sunday, March 21, 2010

From the "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" Department

Bill Marolt, CEO of the US Ski Team, VP of FIS, and the guy who threw Bode Miller off the US Ski Team for partying too much, was arrested yesterday in Park City for DUI.

Karma can be a bitch.

Nice mug shot, Bill.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't Forget the Paralympics

I've never understood why the Paralympics aren't held before the Olympics instead of after. Holding them before would be such a perfect testing platform for transportation, volunteers, scoring & timing, accommodations, food service, and so forth. By the time the Olympics are over, the public is all Olympic-ed out, a lot of the volunteers don't show up because they've used up their vacation time or are just plain exhausted, the local natives are sick of all the inconveniences, and so forth. It gives short shrift to the para athletes.

If anything, the Paralympics is a better show than the Olympics. The paras may not have the star power of NHL players or the odd Apolo Ohno / Lindsey Vonn crossover star, but 100% of the para athletes are there simply because they love to play. None are eyeing an appearance on Jay Leno or a bigger endorsement contract. They just want to compete for the love of sport, which is the basic principle upon which the Olympics was founded, a principle largely forgotten at the Olympics.

The ski racing conditions at Pissler during the Olympics were appalling, as you know from my earlier posts. The result from almost every ski race was compromised by terrible weather and slushy snow. And THAT was in mid-February, in the heart of winter. This week, the Paralympics are trying to get off their ski races with Spring fast approaching, and it is not going well. Several training runs were canceled this week by fog in The Sewer, and today's DH was postponed by (shockingly) more fog in The Sewer.

The good news is that nobody will ever have to deal with the challenges of ski racing at Pissler again in our lifetime. Word among the ski racing community is that the Olympic ski races were such a disaster due to the coastal weather and the fog that Alpine Canada will never hold another national-level race there.

But of course, that's what everyone said in 1998 after the 3rd straight attempt at holding a World Cup at Creekside ended up without a racer leaving the gate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Those Wacky Downhillers

Eric Guay of the Canadian team, whom I predicted for Olympic greatness but who came up just short (two 5th places), won a very unlikely SG crystal globe yesterday at the World Cup finals in Garmisch. An almost impossible sequence of events needed to occur in order for Guay to win the globe, which included Guay winning the race, Michael Walchhofer either crashing or finishing way out, and Svindal not winning either. All of the above occurred, and Guay has a nice new shiny crystal globe for the airlines to smash on the way back to Montreal.

The Canadian team is extraordinarily stocked with talent and extraordinarily well-managed. It is, unfortunately, a testament to the flukey nature of Olympic skiing that they got skunked in Pissler. It's nice to see a Canadian take home a globe. The team deserves that, and more, after a very difficult and disappointing year in which several of their best medal hopes sustained season-ending injuries before the season really got started.

I think this may be Walchhofer's last season. He hasn't had a very good year, and he's got the look of a guy who has lost his jazz for speed. He's got two young kids, and I can see him calling it a career, going back to sleepy little Altenmarkt-Zauchansee to work in the family business. He's a great skier and has enjoyed almost every success possible to a ski racer, so I'm sure quitting looks pretty good to him right now.

photo by GEPA
Marco Buechel of Lichtenstein, for whom the SG WC Final was his last race before retirement, did something typically wacky for a downhiller to celebrate his retirement. He didn't quite do a "Full Rainer Schoenfelder" (ski buck naked), but fairly close. He ran the SG in a coat and tie, in bermuda shorts, and stopped midway down the run to chat with some fans. If my group had been doing the timing, Buechel's run would have been "LIMITS OFF!". Those of you who have been in the timing tower for World Cup know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Interesting Discussion on Sochi

To follow up on my earlier post on Sochi as a winter Olympics venue, this is an interesting interview, on NPR, with a Russian travel agent.


It sounds like a monumental clusterfuck in the making. But after Whistler's weather catastrophes,, how bad can it be?