Could a burger chain advertisement in support of the Austrian skiing effort at the World Cup 2013 in Austria to blame for the unusually poor performance of the Austrian team?
This high flying skiing nation has, after the first week of competition, only one medal to crow about. A bronze for Niki Hosp in the 'Ladies Combined' event.
In the medals table the team is languishing in 8th place. Words like "humiliation" and "tragedy" are now appearing in the sports pages of the national press.
The advertising slogan alongside the national flag emblem on large billboard hoardings throughout the land refers to the Austrian team as "chicken champions".
Dear Austrians, these are not words of encouragement!
The word "chicken" used in this way means "cowardly" or "without courage" or "afraid". Any native English speaker above the age of 5 or 6 will be able to confirm this fact.
Austrian downhill skiers have always shown plenty of pluck. They have never behaved like chicken-hearted fowl.
Perhaps the fast food concern should be asked to remove the offending word from its billboards, leaving simply the word "champions".
The Austrian ski team might then fly high!
Update: Great news just in from the slopes. A bronze for the Austrian men.
Update 2: And now a gold in the team event!
Update 3: A bronze in the women's giant slalom!