Sunday, February 3, 2013

Marcel Hirscher's Wish in Schladming

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

The Boston Blickbild continues its series on athletes to watch at the upcoming World Championships in Schladming. On the eve of the championships we are honored to interview one of the biggest stars of the World Cup. Marcel Hirscher may be one of the smallest guys on the World Cup, but at age 23 he  already has 18 victories and 40 podiums. He missed the 2011 World Championships with a broken ankle, but he is ready to win medals in Schladming. Marcel won the World Cup overall globe last season in a thrilling duel with Swiss skier Beat Feuz and also won the giant slalom globe over US GS star Ted Ligety. He is looking set to win his second World Cup overall globe this season and has a good chance of winning the slalom globe. Marcel talks about what he really wishes for in Schladming.

BB: Marcel, you are favored to win medals in Schladming in both the slalom and giant slalom events. Are you hoping that they will be gold?
Hirscher: Of course I would like to win at least one gold medal in Schladming because the championships are in my home country. I have a very good chance of a medal in both events, though there are a lot of great skiers. Anything can happen in the technical disciplines.  
BB: Do you feel more pressure because the championships are in Austria?
Hirscher: Not really. I will go out and do my best and hope for a medal. I feel like I have a better chance for gold in the slalom than in the GS. As we say in Austria, Ted Ligety is unbreakable in GS and he certainly has been this season. But I won the GS in finals in Schladming last year and also was 3rd in the Super-G.
BB: The Blickbild reported that German skier Fritz Dopfer was recently traded to Austria for Sachertorte and ice cream. How do you feel having him as a new teammate?
Hirscher: Fritz is a great competitor and I look forward to having him on the team. It would answer the question once and for all whether he is German or Austrian.
BB: You are part Dutch. Have you ever considered competing for the Netherlands instead of Austria?
Hirscher: No. I am very happy and and proud to be on the Austrian team. I am Austrian and not Dutch.
BB: The researchers at the Blickbild found out that you have another big wish besides winning medals in Schladming. Could you tell our readers about what you really wish for in Schladming?
Hirscher: I would like to be tall.
BB: Wait a minute! Our research staff is never wrong. I was told by our researchers that you were planning to propose to your girlfriend during the championships and your wish was that she would accept.
Hirscher: I'm sorry, but this time your researchers are wrong. My dream in Schladming is to be tall.
BB: When your girlfriend reads this interview she is going to be heartbroken. Our sources hear that she is dreaming of you putting a gold medal that you earn around her neck and asking her to marry you.
Hirscher: I'm not ready to get married yet. But I am ready to be tall.
BB: Marcel, you may be small but at age 23 you have accomplished more than most World Cup racers do in a full career. People everywhere look up to you as a role model.
Hirscher: Ha ha ha, look up to me, that's very funny. But have you ever stood on the top step of a World Cup podium and still been shorter than the other podium finishers when they are not even standing on their respective steps?
BB: No. I've never been in a World Cup ski race, let alone on a podium.
Hirscher: Have you ever had Benni Raich pat you on the head every time he passes by you?
BB: No.
Hirscher: Have you been out in public with your girlfriend and people ask her if you're  her younger brother?
BB: No.
Hirscher: When you are out at a fest with your friends, or simply out for a beer, does the waitress bring you a Shirley Temple while your friends get beer? (note to our European readers: A Shirley Temple is lemonade with grenadine. It is a popular children's drink in the US.)
BB: No.
Hirscher: Do you get asked for your school ID card when going into museums or amusement parks because the ticket sellers think you're under 12? The only good thing about being small is that I can ride the public transportation in Salzburg for free.
BB:  But when you wear your glasses you look older.
Hirscher: Whenever I wear my glasses out in public, people think that I'm a child genius. When I wear my glasses at autograph sessions with the team, people ask about hiring me as a physics or chemistry tutor for their kids. When I hand out my autograph cards, nobody believes that I'm a ski racer. You know why? Ski racers are tall and I'm not.
BB: A lot of ski racing fans have your autograph cards, so you must be giving them out somehow.
Hirscher: Let me tell you how my autograph cards get to the fans. My teammate Max Franz and I resemble each other. People think that Max is me. He has started carrying around a supply of my cards to hand out. And why do you think that people think that Max is me?
BB: Because you look alike?
Hirscher: No, it's because he's tall! Max fits the profile of a champion ski racer because of his height.  When the fans see us together, they think I'm one of the Austrian junior team members.
BB: Come on, Marcel. Not all great ski racers are tall. Ted Ligety and the legendary Didier Cuche are not tall but they are champion racers.
Hirscher: And how many women do they have? Zero. Why? Because they are short. Now look at Alberto Tomba, Christof Innerhofer, Dominik Paris, and Matteo Marsaglia. Women love them! Alberto Tomba got Katarina Witt at the 1988 Olympics. Every time there is a training session or a race, Christof, Dominik, and Matteo are surrounded by women who want autographs and photos.
BB: Have you ever thought that you don't really want to be tall, but you want to be Italian instead? 
Hirscher: No, I definitely want to be tall.
BB: But all of the skiers that you just mentioned are Italian. Felix Neureuther, Carlo Janka, and Aksel Lund Svindal are also tall, but they weren't on your list. Why did you only mention Italian skiers as the ones you want to be like?
Hirscher: They were the first ones who came into my head and Italy borders Austria.
BB: What do you like better, pizza and pasta or schnitzel and pommes?
Hirscher: Definitely pizza and pasta.
BB: And which language is more romantic, German or Italian? 
Hirscher: Italian. My girlfriend prefers to be called, "Innamorata mia" over "Mein Schatz."
BB: Do you prefer to spend your holidays on a warm beach or in the Salzburg rain?
Hirscher: There's nothing like spending time on a sandy Italian beach in the sun in a Speedo, splashing in the water, seeing my girlfriend in a bikini, and eating gelato.
BB: Unfortunately, nothing can be done about your height. You're stuck with your genetic makeup. So you're just going to have to get over yourself and deal with being short. However, our sources have found out that you can easily become Italian. In fact, since Fritz Dopfer has officially become Austrian, someone needs to leave the Austrian team to make room for him. Italy is willing to send one of its skiers to Germany to take the spot vacated by Fritz Dopfer and would really like you to join the Azzuri. You could fulfill your dream of becoming Italian.
Hirscher: Hold on here! Don't you think I have a better chance of making the Dutch team because I actually have Dutch blood? I have no Italian blood. The Italians won't take me because they have a good team already. Anyway, it was your wish for me to become Italian. I never said that I wanted to be Italian.
BB: Urs Imboden was Swiss and Mirko DeFlorian was Italian and they competed for Moldova. Kilian Albrecht competed for Austria and then for Bulgaria. None of them were Moldovan or Bulgarian. Therefore you could compete for Italy even though you're not really Italian.
Hirscher: This is crazy! Next thing you know, Aksel Lund Svindal will compete on the US ski team.
BB: That could happen. If Aksel were to marry Julia Mancuso, he would become a US citizen and eligible for the ski team. The US men's team needs someone who is consistently good in the speed events, especially with Bode Miller being out for the season.
Hirscher:  Hey, do you think that the Austrian Ski Federation could send the Germans the wrong flavor of ice cream? Then the deal for Fritz Dopfer would be nullified. Fritz could stay in Germany, I would carry on here in Austria, and Aksel could still compete for Norway. However, if Italy is willing to make me tall, I will join the team and the fans will just have to be confused.
BB: Hopefully the powers that be will have things sorted out by the time the World Championships begin. Anyway, I want to wish you success in Schladming and may you stand tall on the podium, whether you compete for Austria or Italy. 
Hirscher: I'm really getting tired of the comments about my height.
BB: And that concludes another exclusive Boston Blickbild interview. We will be reporting all of the big stories from Schladming that nobody else will print.
Hirscher: You really have gone too far with the height comments. Big stories, standing tall on the podium, people looking up to me. What's next?

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We rock! The others are wimps!

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