Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Board

It's a slow news day so I thought it would be good to explain some of the admin stuff surrounding FIS ski races.
The day before each race the organizers host a "Team Captain's Meeting." The meeting is mandatory and all athletes must be represented. Amongst other things, the meeting is used to verify who will and will not compete and discuss things such as the daily schedule, the medical plan, referee assignments, course setter assignments, safety issues, the time and location for awards and the start order.
The photo above was taken today and is the "Board" for tomorrow's races at Red Mountain, BC. Each athlete's name, nationality and FIS points is placed on a card which is placed on the Board in descending point order. As discussed in an earlier blog, ski racers start in point/world ranking order.
The top ranked 15 racers are known as "The Seed." These athletes are randomly given start positions somewhere between 1 and 15 using an arcane methodology involving numbered ping pong balls. Hey, it's part of the process and it is fair. Once these athletes are ordered and the participants confirmed, the referee does the "Bib Toss." Each bib is literally thrown into the crowd in the general direction of the athlete's respective coach.
Life on the road revolves around the daily Captain's Meeting. Coaches get all the bibs and information, then in turn meet with their athletes to pass it on and tailor their own team schedule. Athletes get accustomed to not knowing exactly what will happen tomorrow until 6-7PM the evening before.
The Captain's meeting is also a place where the coaches cajole each other, have a little fun and get a brief chance to socialize together. It's generally a good time.

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