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The Sk8ologist
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Utopia: if I was FIRS president

The limos incessantly pull in to the Sheraton. A flock of celebrities step up on the red carpet to take part on Inline Speedskating World Championships’ opening gala, tonight here in Dubai. The jet-set is amassing in the lobby, while paparazzis do their job: everybody wants to be in the picture with the skating stars, a sure bet to appear on the cover of glossy magazines. Mr. Yann Guyader, CIC’s Global PR, is being the Master of Ceremonies, while CIC’s President, elderly Mr. William Begg, officiates as host for the VIP’s attending the party. Dom Perignon flows all-round, beluga caviar is being licked from urethane wheels by gorgeous ladies, a truckload of Armani and Versace suits are being worn by gents in this, the prelude of the most anticipated sporting event of the year.

The skaters’ village is fully booked: 3500 athletes from 95 countries are already here, the entire city is breathing the joyful roller atmosphere. The box office at Darlene Kessinger Stadium signals a huge “sold out”, 100.000 seats are to be taken for the entire week; in the black market a ticket can be obtained for no less than 3000 dollars.
The amazing venue is unique: delivered by the contactors ready and operative 10 months before the tournament, it boasts a movable ceiling, a banked track built with the new anti-abrasive hyper-polarized polymer (does not wears away or causes damages in case of falls, no cleaning or drying necessary), in turn surrounded by a road circuit made with pure asphalt locally produced with A-grade petroleum, its surface atomically polished with lasers. This infrastructure came with a price tag of 1.7 billion dollars, but the reigning Sheik considers it a savvy investment, given the enormous popularity skating is enjoying these days in the whole planet.

All mayor TV stations are rushing for the finest spot in the stadium. Media moguls are extending blank cheques right and left, as they fight for the best possible global coverage of this magnificent event, which will be broadcasted worldwide in digital 3-D with the new skate-cam technology that allows single viewers to modify in real time the camera’s angle over the racing athletes (at 360º). Transmissions will even reach twelve interplanetary settlements, including Phoebe’s High Security Penal Colony in one of Saturn’s moons, where the former FIRS/CIC echelon is currently lodging for life.
Other new technologies will also be employed, like the Super GPS Nanochip that gives exact coordinates of each skater at any time, to help their team staff to know accurately whom are they sleeping with, as well as assisting the judging team comprised of 4 humans and 8 robo-judges. Four of the robo-judges will closely follow the peloton, flying low on each side, back and front, noting fouls and administering penalties on the spot (a 300 volts discharge to the felon skater). The other four robots will be monitoring the performance of the human judges, which will be also immediately punished for any blunder or mishap they make (voltage variable, depending on fault’s entity).

Racing will be undoubtedly exciting. Korea wants to replicate last year’s title as best skating nation, while Colombia’s aim is to get that title back. Italy, USA, Holland and Switzerland are still back on track; their aspirations for world domination are realistic. New Zealand looks for its share of gold too, being Nicole Begg now in charge of the national team. But the up-and-coming nations are not to be easily dismissed: Ecuador, India and Canada are lately stealing podiums to heavy-weights like Germany, France, Belgium or Venezuela. Besides, the ten-million dollar prize for every world record beaten is an appropriate incentive for many a skater, although the most prominent pros get that sort of money in a couple of TV presentations or in any indoor “last-man-standing” race. Girls are even luckier: most were genetically modified by their parents to bear a striking resemblance to Tamara Llorens, so many of them have multi-million advertising contracts, while a few are even starting careers in Hollywood.

Several hours before the Inaugural Party at the stadium, in Dubai’s Convention Center the Annual Coaches Convention is taking place, organized by CIC’s Technical Comitee. It’s chairman, Mr Carlos Lugea, has been extremely successful in crafting an entire generation of brilliant professional coaches during his last years in charge. The 10.000 persons in attendance are giving a standing ovation to the last conferrer: Professor Giulio Ravasi just finished presenting his works about Zero-gravity training methods for time trialists.

Now the real festivity is about to begin. A huge red sun is setting on the horizon; dozens of helicopters glide over the stadium, thousands of spectators are quickly filling up the stands. In the mega-vip lounge the Royal Family is surrounded by all the political movers and shakers, heads of industry and celebrated financiers, bankers, fashion tycoons and other sports celebrities, making this probably the most glamorous happening in the entire planet. Being this a black-tie gala, an awful lot of Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Patek-Philippe et all can be seen there. Everybody’s sipping Krug Clos du Mesnil while tasting truffled vol-au-vents, raw oysters and Dodo eggs (catering by Hush, from Gstaad). Meanwhile, the masses into the colossal arena are being flooded with Heineken beer and chips, both on the house. But the super-show with 5000 performing artists, 100 megatons of fireworks and superb maser lightning coming from a geostationary satellite net cannot commence until the arrival of His Majesty, The FIRS Supreme Emperor.
Skating’s Tyrant, proud owner of 6 WIC teams (one males’ and five females’) is well known for his despotic policy and his one-week love affairs with supermodels and big screen beauties, though since buying a villa in Montecarlo he’s been romantically linked to Charlotte Grimaldi, Queen Caroline’s daughter. As of lately, he unleashed a gigantic quarrel over his negative reply to the IOC for skating’s inclusion in the Summer Olympic Games, being his line of reasoning the following: “I don’t care if those old poofs at IOC bend over with their panties down: I’m not going to associate our prestigious discipline with a queer fair that refers to artistic skating or synchronized swimming as “sports”. Moreover, I consider their 500 million dollars offer offensive at least: for less than 2 billion we’re not going to move a single finger”.
Many of his detractors insist on stating that he bribed away most of CIC’s members to bring World Champs to Dubai, but no physical evidence is to be found…. Although it’s worth mentioning that since last year, several CIC members are driving brand new Mercedes coupes, while a few opponents perished in mysterious circumstances. On the other hand, it has to be said that the Dictator shows magnanimous gestures now and then: for instance he established the Global Plan for Skating Promotion with UNICEF, consisting in financial funding of skating schools for children in all developing countries, to which he constantly travels in order to personally instruct new breeds of skating coaches. Furthermore, he’ll always be remembered for ending the artistic plague for good: as soon as he took charge, he decreed that artistic skating was no longer part of FIRS. Memorable was his statement on the subject: “FIRS needs credibility: we must not be subjected to accept anything that’s being done on skates, otherwise we’ll end up affiliating even roller-chess, for fuck’s sake!”.
Another one of His Highness permanent contributions to the sport has been the Masters’ class reorganization; in fact he is still unbeatable in the sprint races at the yearly International Masters Inline Cup. On a certain time-trial race, an Italian veteran protested alledging that a chronometric robo-judge was adulterated to favour the Emperor. Alas, that skater tragically died the next race, electrocuted by a malfunctioning robot that was aiming at a corrupt linesman.

Right this moment, tons of coloured paper ribbons and balloons are being dropped from the sky, a Rolls Royce limo is entering the arena. The spectator’s expectation can be smelled in the air, skating’s biggest celebration is about to begin. Four antigravitational tridimentional mega-screens show the car’s back door opening: the Supreme Lord steps down wearing a tailor-made Hugo Boss suit, Oakley sunglasses and completely custom Bont skates (from the boot laces to the bearings balls, all specifically designed for him). Except for a few coughs, the stadium is utterly in silence. FIRS Almighty skates a couple of meters to a footstall by the centre of the track and extends his arms to the side, that very moment two topless beautiful blond girls appear from behind: one undresses him of the jacket, the other one unzips his pants and take them away in a sudden movement. The crowd explodes in loud cheers; His Highness proudly displays a white/silver Boss skinsuit that reveals his muscular build (still impressive in spite of his age). The audience’s roar increases exponentially –above all, the female section- as the Emperor skates a couple of laps around the track, featuring his most refined technique and inimitable style. Finally, he stops and readies for the grandstand, taking out the sunglasses and giving a swift smoothen to his long, golden hair. All the mega-screens are still focusing on his image, a super-amplified mini microphone floats in front of his face, so the stadium is getting to silence again, eagerly awaiting for his words. They know he’s a man of action that hates long speeches, and they’re not going to be disappointed. “Let the skating begin”, the Emperor says, “and may the best prevail!”. The stadium is shaken to its very foundations by the crowd’s acclaim, its echo amplified and carried away for miles and miles around the sea and the desert. The national teams’ parade begins whereas FIRS Overlord throws his arms to the sky, a bunch of bikini-clad babes run towards him, then right that moment…
Right that moment I woke up, sweaty and upset in my lonely bed. Fuck, I must quit this bloody Spanish beer. These bastards really don’t know how to brew!

M. Bresin

Veterans on Ice
Pre-teens Coaching