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WEEKLY WHINE

Schmilblick Patrol: Ester Ledecká

Edvard: Hello everyone! Good evening! Welcome! Thank you! Thank you very much! Thank you everyone! Really, settle down! We’ve got a show to do! Hello everyone, and welcome to GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol! We are here in Pyeongchang, Korea Rep, where we have elbowed ourselves into the Winter Olympic party. Everyone here in Pyeongchang has been wonderful to us. It’s been a fabulous experience, it really has. And the Olympics have been great. It’s been one thrill after another. And in fact, the star of one of those thrills is here with us today. Our participant is a skier and snowboarder from Prague, Czech Rep. She’s been participating in competitive snowboarding since she was sixteen. She competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics as a snowboarder, in the parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom. And here at the 2018 games, she competed as a skier and, of course, won gold in the women’s super G, beating out Anna Veith by a hundredth of a second. Here she is everyone, the gold medallist in the women’s super G, Ester Ledecká!

Ester: Hello!

Edvard: Hi there, Ester. Welcome to the programme.

Ester: Thank you.

Edvard: How does it feel to be an Olympic gold medallist?

Ester: To be a what?

Edvard: An Olympic gold medallist.

Ester: A what?

Edvard: An Olympic gold medallist.

Ester: [broad smile] Still not sure I understand. What am I again?

Edvard: An Olympic gold medallist. [points to medal around Ester’s neck]

Ester: [holds up medal] Oh, yes. This thing.

Edvard: Yes, that thing.

Ester: I think it has still not sunk in. Maybe I’ll go home and scream, “Omigod, I won a gold medal!”.

Edvard: Well, congratulations on that. And we’ll let you get back to your other events, but first, we have some patrollers for you to meet. First, we have Symmarnay from Syracuse, NY, USA.

Symmarnay: Hi!

Edvard: Jin from Busan, Korea Rep.

Jin: Hello!

Edvard: And Seong Hi from Wonju, Korea Rep.

Seong Hi: Hello!

Edvard: Welcome, all of you. Thank you for joining us. Ester, would you give them a description of your Schmilblick, please?

Ester: My Schmilblick is: Why I competed in the super G on borrowed skis.

Edvard: Why you competed in the super G on borrowed skis. Borrowed from Mikaela Shiffrin, yes?

Ester: Yes, that’s right.

Edvard: Well, our patrollers will try to find out why. If they can, they will win a trip to Winterberg, Germany, for a Snowboard World Cup event. Josie, tell them all about it.

Josie: Well, Edvard, we’ll put all three of our patrollers in a fabulous hotel at the Winterberg resort, where you’ll spend four nights and three days. Lift passes and your choice of ski or snowboard equipment are included. And we’ll set you up with tickets to all the World Cup events, plus invites to the after parties of your choice. That’s all waiting for you if you can identify Ester’s Schmilblick. Edvard?

Edvard: Thank you, Josie. But if you cannot identify Ester’s Schmilblick in eighteen queries, Ester will be our winner. You’ll win a trip to Seoul for a Ddakji World Cup event. Josie, tell her all about it.

Josie: That’s right, Edvard. Ester, we’ll put you in a fabulous hotel in Seoul, where you’ll spend four nights and three days. Metro passes and your choice of new mobile phone or 3D printer equipment are included. And we’ll set you up with tickets to all the World Cup events, plus invites to the supermarket tours of your choice. That’s all waiting for you if the patrollers cannot identify your Schmilblick, Ester. Edvard, back to you.

Edvard: Thank you, Josie. So a lot riding on this today. Patrollers, are you ready?

Jin: Yes!

Seong Hi: Ready!

Symmarnay: Absolutely.

Edvard: Ester, ready?

Ester: I’m ready.

Edvard: Then let’s go on patrol! Symmarnay, you have the first question.

Symmarnay: Great. Hi, Ester.

Ester: Hello.

Symmarnay: Do you have your own skis?

Ester: Yes, of course I do.

Edvard: But you didn’t use them.

Ester: No.

Edvard: Okay. Well, Ester does own skis, so no reason to worry there. That’s one question down and seventeen to go. Jin, let us hear your first question.

Jin: Hello, Ester.

Ester: Hi.

Jin: Congratulations on the gold!

Ester: Thank you.

Jin: Did you crash in training and break your skis?

Ester: No, I didn’t.

Edvard: Good. No broken skis for you then. Well, that’s two down and sixteen to go. But before we get to our next question, let us get to know our patrollers. Seong Hi, hi.

Seong Hi: Hi.

Edvard: Hi, Seong Hi. [pause] Sorry. So, you are from Wonju.

Seong Hi: Yes.

Edvard: Where is that?

Seong Hi: It is in Gangwon-do, the same province as Pyeongchang. Not far from here, in fact.

Edvard: Local girl.

Seong Hi: Yes.

Edvard: And it says here that you are a speed skater.

Seong Hi: Yes. I have been skating since I was young. I am on my high school team, and I hope to reach the Olympics in 2022.

Edvard: Short or long track?

Seong Hi: Both. But I like long track better.

Edvard: What distances?

Seong Hi: 3,000 metres and 5,000 metres in particular. And I like the team pursuit.

Edvard: Great. Well, we hope to see you at the next Olympics. But first, we hope to hear you ask your first question of Ester.

Seong Hi: Ester, did your skis feel wrong?

Ester: I did not quite like the way my skis felt in training. So the answer would be yes, my skis did feel wrong, in a way.

Edvard: In a way?

Ester: Yes.

Edvard: Well, that could be a promising line of questioning for the three of you. So a good question there. Three down and fifteen to go now. Symmarnay, hi.

Symmarnay: Hello Edvard.

Edvard: From Syracuse, NY, USA.

Symmarnay: Yes.

Edvard: And what do you do there?

Symmarnay: I am a student at Syracuse University.

Edvard: The Orange.

Symmarnay: SU!

Edvard: And you also enjoy winter sports, I understand.

Symmarnay: Yes. I love figure skating. Ice dancing especially. Me and my sister.

Edvard: You ice dance?

Symmarnay: Yes. With my sister, Mallarnay.

Edvard: Is that allowed? I thought it was male-female pairs only.

Symmarnay: For competitive events, yes. But there’s a rink back in Syracuse that holds an ice dance night every week, with an instructor. Mallarnay and I always go.

Edvard: Any thought to doing it competitively?

Symmarnay: No. Not unless Mallarnay and I could do it together. And it doesn’t look like they’ll be changing the rules any time soon.

Edvard: Well, that’s too bad. But as long as you are having fun, that’s what matters. Let’s have your next question for Ester, please.

Symmarnay: You said you borrowed Mikaela Shiffrin’s skis.

Ester: Yes.

Symmarnay: Did you also borrow her poles?

Ester: No, I used my own poles.

Edvard: Your own poles.

Ester: Yes.

Edvard: Well, that may be useful information for our patrollers. You used your own poles, but Mikaela’s skis. So that’s four down and fourteen to go. Jin, hi.

Jin: Hi there!

Edvard: You live in Busan.

Jin: Yes. It’s in southern Korea.

Edvard: And you play... ddakji? Have I said that correctly?

Jin: Yes. It is a game in which you attempt to flip over your opponent’s cards.

Symmarnay: Like pogs?

Jin: Like what?

Symmarnay: Pogs. It’s an American game.

Edvard: I have not heard that name.

Symmarnay: Yeah. They’re, like, little discs. Lids from bottles. You make a stack of them, and then you toss another disc at them. Try to make them flip over.

Jin: Yes, ddakji is much like that.

Symmarnay: Maybe you can show us after the show.

Jin: I would like to very much, yes.

Symmarnay: Cool.

Edvard: Great. We’ll look forward to that, and maybe we’ll even post a video on the website. But first, we’ll need another question from you, Jin.

Jin: Yes. Ester, you said that your skis felt wrong. In what way did they feel wrong?

Ester: That’s not a yes or no question.

Jin: Oh! Sorry! Ester, did your skis feel... um... too slippery?

Ester: No, they didn’t.

Edvard: Not too slippery?

Ester: No.

Edvard: Okay. Well, that’s five down and thirteen to go. Seong Hi, we return to you.

Seong Hi: Ester, did your skis feel too bendy?

Ester: Too bendy?

Seong Hi: They’re supposed to bend, right?

Ester: Yes, to a degree.

Seong Hi: So then did –

Edvard: So we’ve established that skis are supposed to bend. Good. That’s six down and twelve to go. So –

Seong Hi: Wait! That was not my question!

Edvard: Ester already answered it.

Seong Hi: But I –

Edvard: What do I always say on this show?

Seong Hi: Um... “Welcome to Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol”?

Edvard: No. Well, yes, but we always say that once you’ve asked a question, it remains asked. So that question has been asked, which means that it has been asked. And therefore, that it has been asked. So we go over to you, Symmarnay.

Symmarnay: Okay. Well, did your skis feel too bendy?

Ester: No, they did not.

Edvard: All right. Well, it may have taken a bit longer to get there, but we have discovered that the bendiness of Ester’s skis is not at issue. It is now seven down and eleven to go. Jin, let us have your third question.

Jin: Ester, did you ask to borrow Mikaela’s skis after she won the giant slalom?

Ester: No.

Edvard: You didn’t?

Ester: Not afterward, no.

Edvard: Not afterward. Interesting. Well, that’s eight down and ten to go. Seong Hi, back over to you.

Seong Hi: Okay. Ester, did you ask to borrow Mikaela’s skis before she won the giant slalom?

Ester: No.

Seong Hi: Wait, what?

Symmarnay: You crafty bitch.

Ester: I have seen this show before.

Edvard: Well, it appears that you have successfully pwnz0r3d our patrollers. It is now nine down and nine to go. We are midway through our questioning, but our patrollers are not much closer to discovering Ester Ledecká’s Schmilblick, which today is why she competed in the Olympic super G, which she won, on borrowed skis. Symmarnay, we come back to you for your fourth question. What will you ask?

Symmarnay: Ester, did you steal Mikaela’s skis?

Ester: What? No! Of course not!

Edvard: Well, that is good, because we always have local law enforcement officers standing by at our studios, just in case.

Symmarnay: In case of what?

Edvard: You know. Stuff. Anyway, that is ten down and eight to go. Jin, you may ask your next question.

Jin: Ester, did Mikaela know that you were using her skis?

Ester: Yes, she was aware.

Edvard: Well, that’s somewhat reassuring. It is also eleven down and seven to go. Seong Hi?

Seong Hi: Did you ask to borrow Mikaela’s skis while she was winning the giant slalom?

Ester: No.

Jin: As in, while she was heading down the mountain?

Seong Hi: Yes.

Jin: How would she do that?

Seong Hi: I do not know. But she said that she did not ask before Mikaela won, or after. There was still one other possibility.

Jin: I do not think you are making the most advantageous use of the limited number of queries that we have.

Edvard: Well, we have now reached the closing stretch. It is twelve down and six to go, which means that each of our patrollers have two questions remaining. Symmarnay, let us have yours.

Symmarnay: Ester, did you have Mikaela’s permission to use her skis?

Ester: Yes! Of course I did!

Edvard: Well, it is good to clear that up. But what is not so good, at least for our patrollers, is that it is now thirteen down and five to go. Jin, back to you.

Jin: Ester, did Mikaela walk up to you and say that you could use her skis?

Ester: Yes, she did.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick.

Ester: No, it is not.

Edvard: Okay. Well, it does appear that we are getting closer to uncovering your Schmilblick anyway. But patrollers, you must hurry. It is fourteen down and four to go now. Seong Hi, we return to you.

Seong Hi: Ester, did you agree to use Mikaela’s skis immediately?

Ester: No, not immediately.

Edvard: Interesting. Well, there may be more to find out there, but our patrollers are running out of queries. It is now fifteen down and three to go. Symmarnay, what will your last question be?

Symmarnay: Did you agree to use Mikaela’s skis immediately before the race?

Ester: Yes.

Edvard: But that is still not your Schmilblick.

Ester: No, it isn’t.

Edvard: Okay. Sixteen down and two to go now. Jin, one more question for you.

Jin: Ester, did you ask a Magic 8 Ball whether you should use Mikaela’s skis?

Ester: Yes, I did.

Edvard: You did?

Ester: Yes.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick?

Ester: No.

Edvard: Well, I am stumped. It is seventeen down and one to go now, Seong Hi. You are the patrollers’ last chance. Let’s have your last question.

Seong Hi: Ester, did you decide whether to use Mikaela’s skis by closing your eyes and picking up a random pair of skis?

Ester: Yes, I did. And that’s my Schmilblick.

Edvard: Really?

Ester: Yes.

Edvard: You closed your eyes and picked up a pair of skis?

Ester: Yes.

Edvard: And then you won a gold medal on those skis?

Ester: Yes.

Symmarnay: You gotta be fucking kidding me.

Jin: Is that even legal?

Mikaela: [running into auditorium] Wait! Wait!

Edvard: It’s Mikaela Shiffrin, everyone! Gold medallist in the women’s giant slalom! Hello, Mikaela. What are you doing here?

Mikaela: Everyone, I have an announcement to make. Those weren’t my skis.

Edvard: What?

Ester: What? Mikaela, what are you talking about?

Mikaela: They were your skis, Ester. They were yours all along.

Ester: What do you mean?

Mikaela: Look, Ester. I knew you were having a crisis of confidence.

Ester: Crisis?

Mikaela: You were doubting whether you had what it takes to be a top skier.

Ester: No I wasn’t!

Mikaela: Yes you were, Ester. We all knew it.

Ester: I wasn’t!

Mikaela: Ester, it’s okay to admit. We all have our doubts. I’ve had them. I was waking up in cold sweats for three weeks coming into these games. And I know you were too.

Ester: What would make you think that?

Mikaela: It’s the SSDN. We all knew.

Ester: The what?

Mikaela: The Skier and Snowboarder Dream Network. We’re all linked through our dreams. Every skier and snowboarder in history. Past, present, and future.

Ester: That makes no sense.

Mikaela: It does. Of course it does. And you’re doubly linked, because you’re both. You’re a skier and a snowboarder.

Ester: Are you high, or what?

Mikaela: You know it’s true. You’ve had the dreams. You know. The one where you and I are storks, flying across the Strait of Malacca, talking about plate tectonics. Remember that one?

Ester: [helpless shrug] I don’t have the slightest clue what you’re talking about.

Mikaela: Come on, Ester! You know! Just think! [places hands on Ester’s shoulders] Remember it! Storks! You and me! The Mid-Atlantic Ridge! Subduction zones!

Ester: Mikaela, I literally have no idea what you mean. I’ve never had a dream like that.

Mikaela: What? You haven’t?

Ester: No.

Mikaela: Ever?

Ester: Sorry.

Mikaela: But how can... [gasps] oh no. No, no, no.

Ester: What?

Mikaela: I’m early!

Ester: You’re what?

Mikaela: You haven’t had that dream yet!

Ester: “Yet”?

Mikaela: But you will. You will have it. You’ll have a crisis of confidence. You’ll be doubting yourself. You’ll think that you should give up skiing, that you’ll never be as good as you want to be, that you’re letting down your entire country, that you’ll never win a gold medal.

Ester: But I just did.

Mikaela: And on that day, you’ll dream that we’re storks. We’ll fly over Singapore and Sumatra. I’ll tell you all about how the Indian subcontinent split off from what’s now Antarctica, smashed into southern Asia, and formed the Himalayas. [holds Ester’s hands] And then, I’ll let you borrow my skis, only they’ll actually be your skis, and you’ll have the run of your life, and you’ll win a gold medal, and you’ll make your grandfather proud, and you’ll be the greatest Czech athlete of all time, because the magic was in you all along, Ester. It wasn’t the skis, or the goggles, or even the Magic 8 Ball. It was in you. You just have to believe. Believe, Ester. Believe in yourself. What did you say?

Ester: But I already won a gold medal. See?

Mikaela: Where did you get that?

Ester: I won it. The super G. I beat Anna Veith. You saw it, right?

Mikaela: But you haven’t had the dream?

Ester: No, I haven’t.

Mikaela: Are you sure? Maybe you forgot it.

Ester: How could I forget a dream about storks and plate tectonics?

Mikaela: No, no. That’s not right. You have to have had it.

Ester: You are high.

Mikaela: I’m not! I promise! Look, I can prove it. Remember when I brought you my skis? You weren’t sure at first?

Ester: Yeah?

Mikaela: Well, what did you do then?

Ester: I asked the Magic 8 Ball.

Mikaela: And what did it say?

Ester: It was no help. It said, “Better not tell you now”.

Mikaela: See?

Ester: What?

Mikaela: The Magic 8 Ball knew! It knew that I was early! It knew that it wasn’t your time yet!

Ester: But I did win! It must have been my time!

Mikaela: Yes. [staring at Ester’s medal] It’s obvious what we have to do.

Ester: What are you talking about now?

Mikaela: We have to go back in time and prevent you from winning that medal!

Ester: What?! Why?

Mikaela: It’s a paradox. Look, if you become a gold medallist at this age, then you’ll never have a crisis of confidence. You’ll always know that you are good enough, that the ability has always been within you. But obviously you have to have a crisis of confidence at some point, or else you won’t have that dream.

Ester: You want me to give back this medal?

Mikaela: No, you have to never win it in the first place! Look, we’ll just put you in a dream again, and you’ll make contact with your past self. Just tell her not to win. I mean, it’ll be hard. If you tell your past self that you’re going to win gold, she’ll be all, “Omigod! No way! That’s so awesome!” But then you’ll have to be all, “Yeah, but you can’t! Not yet! Trust me, it’ll all work out eventually!” And she’ll be all, “Eventually? Why can’t it just work out now? That’s total bullshit! I’m gonna win that gold! I’ll show you!” And you’ll be all, “I am you!” And she’ll be all, “Then I’ll show myself!”

Ester: Wait, wait, wait. Hold on, Mikaela. Hold on.

Mikaela: What? What is it?

Ester: That... that dream. How do you know the other stork was me? Couldn’t it have been any skier or snowboarder? Or maybe it was nobody at all. You know, like a dream NPC or something. A non-dreamer character. An NDC.

Mikaela: No, no, no. That’s not how the SSDN works. Here, I’ll show you. [holds Ester’s hands] Close your eyes.

Ester: Okay. [closes eyes]

Mikaela: Okay. Now relax. [closes eyes] Just breathe. And reach out. Reach out with your mind. Reach out to every skier and snowboarder who ever lived, and who ever will live.

Ester: This is stupid.

Mikaela: They’re out there. They’ll tell you.

Ester: Okay.

Edvard: Well, while they’re doing that, Symmarnay, Jin, and Seong Hi, congratulations on identifying Ester’s Schmilblick. You’ve won that trip to Winterberg. Have a wonderful time out there. Ester, thank you for joining us today, and congratulations again on –

Ester: I feel it!

Mikaela: Good. Now –

Ester: Omigod, I feel it! Every single skier and snowboarder! All of them! Ondrej! Bode! Sabrina! This is so unbelieveable!

Mikaela: Okay, now listen. What are they telling you?

Ester: “Omigod, that was so awesome. I knew you could do it.” Stuff like that.

Mikaela: Ask them about the dream.

Ester: Okay. [pause] They... they don’t know what I’m talking about.

Mikaela: What? Let me try. [pause] Oh. [longer pause] Oh.

Ester: What? What is it?

Mikaela: It wasn’t you.

Ester: What? What wasn’t me?

Mikaela: The other stork.

Ester: What?

Mikaela: [gasps; opens eyes] That wasn’t you! That was someone else!

Ester: [opens eyes] What? Who was it, then?

Mikaela: I don’t know! But I have to find out! Somebody’s having a crisis of confidence! Somebody needs my help!

Ester: Pretty sure you need help right now.

Mikaela: [puts hands over mouth] Omigod, that’s it!

Ester: What is?

Mikaela: It’s me! The other stork is me!

Ester: Wait. You were in a dream with yourself?

Mikaela: Yes! A future me, but me!

Ester: You’re not making any sense.

Mikaela: Time travel is always possible in dreams! Of course! I’m the one who’s going to have a crisis of confidence!

Ester: You’ve won gold too! How can you lose your confidence?

Mikaela: I don’t know! Maybe I start to think that it was a fluke, that I just got totally lucky and I don’t actually have the skills that people think I do! Maybe I’m scared that everything seems to be going my way, but one little mistake or one freak accident is going to shatter my confidence, or my shin, or both! Maybe I’m scared that no matter what I do, I know I’m nowhere near as good as the other skiers on the circuit! Maybe I’m scared that everyone’s going to find that out one day, and no one will care about me any more, and they’ll all be excited about the new prospect who’s better and faster and more attractive and better in front of the camera and I’ll be all alone and I won’t have anyone left and I can’t let that happen! I can’t let that happen to my future self! Come on! We’ve got to go save my future self! [grabs Ester’s hand, runs off with her]

Edvard: Um... okay. Well, that’s... that’s it for now. On behalf of Josie Tejada and all of us here, I’m Edvard van de Kamp, wishing you good tidings and better Schmilblicks. Good night everyone!

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