Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jessica Dipauli Retires: The Real Reason

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Austrian ski racer Jessica Dipauli announced her retirement at the age of 21. The others have reported this already, so it is old news. But there is a lot of speculation about why she retired at the start of a promising career in the World Cup. We sent one of our intrepid reporters to Austria to solve the mystery of Jessica's sudden retirement. Our reporter was able to talk with the Austrian women's head trainer, Juergen Kriechbaum, about Jessica. Let's find out what he has to say.

BB: Herr Kriechbaum, I'm sure that Jessica's decision to retire took you by surprise. It seems like the whole ski world was rather shocked by her announcement.
Kriechbaum: Yes, it was a surprise for us too. The whole Austrian coaching staff was  taken aback. We spend a lot of hours convincing her to stay, but she was insistent on retiring.
BB: Jessica had some problems with injury during the past two seasons. Was that why she decided to quit racing?
Kriechbaum: No, she was 100% fit.
BB: Was she frustrated because she won the Europa Cup overall title by a huge margin and seemed to be struggling in the World Cup?
Kriechbaum: No, she realized that it takes time to adjust to being in the World Cup. Both her teammates and trainers explained that it is a big jump moving up to the World Cup from the Europa Cup.
BB: Was she bullied or shunned by her teammates?
Kriechbaum: Not that I noticed. She seemed to be well-liked by her teammates.
BB: Did she feel burned out on racing?
Kriechbaum: No. Even though now she says that racing no longer became enjoyable, her former trainers always thought that she was having fun. I don't believe she was suffering from burnout.
BB: Does she have a brain tumor tumor that is affecting her judgement?
Kriechbaum: Not that I know of.
BB: Am I going to keep on having to ask you questions until I finally guess correctly?
Kriechbaum: No.
BB: So why did Jessica decide to retire before she was able to achieve her potential?
Kriechbaum: She had a guilty conscience.
BB: Did she feel guilty that she was letting her team and country down because she was not instantly successful in the World Cup?
Kriechbaum: No. She couldn't take the guilt for what she she was doing anymore and she felt that her only way out was to retire.
BB: Tell our readers what caused Jessica to be so consumed with guilt that her only alternative was to retire.
Kriechbaum: Jessica, like the other World Cup women, was part of the Austrian smuggling ring (see this story). Jessica stole a Milka pen and handed it off to an Austrian fan as part of her initiation ritual for moving up to the World Cup. She thought that was the end of it.
BB: But once she stole that pen, did her older teammates want her to steal more things?
Kriechbaum: Yes. Jessica is a girl with high moral standards and a strict sense of right and wrong. She felt guilty about taking things that didn't belong to her, even though she did it at first to fit in with the rest of the team.
BB: Did she know that the money from the stolen items went back to the Austrian Ski Federation?
Kriechbaum: Yes. Her other trainers, her older teammates, and I explained that to her. We told her that she was helping the team by taking the items. But she still didn't want to steal anymore.
BB: What happened when she decided not to take more items from other skiers?
Kriechbaum: Her teammates reminded her about meeting her quota. Lizz Goergl even asked me about hiring Red Bull Mafia hit man Vinnie "The Shark" Razzovelli to convince Jessica to be more active in the theft ring to meet her quota.
BB: Her quota?
Kriechbaum: Every female Austrian skier has a quota of euros that they are supposed to contribute to the team based on how long they have been in the World Cup. Veterans like Lizz Goergl or Nicole Hosp are required to bring more money to the team. Skiers with Olympic or World Championship medals also have a high quota. Therefore, they must steal more things. Younger skiers like Jessica didn't have as high a quota, but they still had to be part of the theft ring.
BB: So in addition to feeling guilty about stealing, did Jessica also feel guilty about not meeting her quota?
Kriechbaum: That is correct. She felt like she was letting her team and country down.
BB: And she was so consumed with guilt, that she had to quit?
Kriechbaum: Yes.
BB: Couldn't the Austrian Ski Federation have made an exception for Jessica? She is a very talented athlete and it's a shame that we won't be seeing her race anymore.
Kriechbaum: If we made an exception for Jessica, then we would have to for others who suddenly feel guilty about stealing. Pretty soon our ladies would not steal items and our federation would have a lot less money. Our theft ring provides a lot of jobs all over Austria. If it were to be shut down, many people would be out of work.
BB: Poor Jessica had a triple dose of guilt: feeling guilty about stealing, then feeling guilty for not stealing enough and coming up short on her quota, therefore leading to guilt about possibly causing mass unemployment and the Austrian economy to go into a depression. That is a big burden for someone so young.
Kriechbaum: That's right. In the end, she felt it was better to retire than live with the burden of all that guilt. We wanted her to stay on because she has the potential to be a great ski racer. But we also need racers who will bring money to our federation.
BB: Is the Austrian Ski Federation taking any measures to prevent a situation like Jessica's in the future?
Kriechbaum: Yes. From now on, we will do a better job training our skiers. From their earliest days as junior skiers, we will start teaching them to steal small items from racers from other local ski clubs. By the time they reach the Europa and World Cup levels, it will come naturally to them. They won't need an initiation ritual when they reach the World Cup because they will have already stolen from their fellow skiers for years.
BB: I see. Back in March, Julia Mancuso's Go-Pro camera was stolen in Garmisch. Did the Austrian ladies have anything to do with it?
Kriechbaum: No. At first we thought that one of our skiers stole it because it is a high-value item that would bring in a lot of money to the ski federation. But none of the Austrian women admitted to taking it. Usually the women brag about the items that they take, so we know that Austria is innocent.
BB: It looks like we are running out of time. Herr Kriechbaum, thank you for your insight about Jessica's retirement. We at the Blickbild also want to wish Jessica success in her future endeavours. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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