Friday, September 27, 2013

Martina, Not Marlies, Schild Has Retired

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Confusion has been reigning in the ski world since Swiss racer and Olympic silver medalist Martina Schild announced her retirement last week. The others have written about Martina's retirement and it is old news. Yet journalists and fans are still asking why Marlies Schild retired when she was so close to Vreni Schneider's record for World Cup slalom wins. In order to set the record straight, we sent one of our intrepid reporters to Switzerland to talk with Martina and to give our readers our unique perspective on her retirement. Let's find out what Martina has to say.
BB: Do people often confuse you with Marlies Schild?
Schild: Yes. But I am Swiss and Marlies is Austrian. I did downhill, Super-G and giant slalom. Marlies is a slalom specialist who also does some GS. I just retired and Marlies is still competing. 
BB: Are you related to Marlies in any way?
Schild: No. Schild is a very common name. Perhaps we share an ancestor, but you have to go pretty far back to find one. If you go back far enough, we can find that you and I have a common ancestor.
BB: True. Do you carry a supply of Mariles' autograph cards for unsuspecting fans?
Schild: No, but I wish I thought to do that.
BB: Going back to a common ancestor...Our intrepid research team studied Schild family archives going back to the days of the Roman empire and we in fact found that you and Marlies are related.
Schild: Really?
BB: Yes. In 1076 Jakobus Schild of Zurich had twin sons, Bartholomeus and Claudius. Jakobus was a shield maker. At that time only one son could inherit his father's business. Since Bartholomeus was the older twin, he followed in his father's footsteps as a shield maker. Claudius was forced to move away. He fought in the First Crusade and then settled in Austria when he returned. All of the Schilds in Austria are descended from Claudius Schild.
Schild: That story seems rather farfetched! Maybe the Schilds in Austria are descended from Claudius. But I would imagine that there is more than one set of Schilds in Switzerland. How do you know that I am in fact descended from Jakobus and Bartholomeus and not from a different branch of Schilds in Switzerland?
BB: We have the best and most intrepid research team in the business! Our researchers had to spend countless hours in front of a computer screen as well as travel over the Alps with elephants to get their information.
Schild: Wait a minute! I can see spending time on the computer. But going over the Alps on elephants? The last person to do that was Hannibal.
BB: You got me. I made up the part about the elephants.
Schild: So how do I know that your story about Marlies Schild and me being descended from an 11th century Swiss shield maker is true?
BB: If historians and geneologists can trace the British royal family back to Alfred and Canute, they can certainly trace the Schild family.
Schild: Can you show me any proof that Marlies Schild and I are descended from Jakobus Schild and his sons?
BB: I happen to have the documentation here. (pulls out a stack of papers and hands it to Martina, who reads them).
Schild: Oh my goodness! It's true that Marlies Schild and I really are related to each other. I have been lying to the press and fans all these years when I said that we were not related.
BB: Onto another subject. People have confused you with your newly discovered relative Marlies since you both made your World Cup debuts. Have you ever thought about changing your name to help the fans know who was who?
Schild: No. I assumed that people could figure out we were different people because I raced in a Swiss speed suit and Marlies was in an Austrian one. We also did different disciplines. Anyway, why should I be the one to change my name? I'm the one whose ancestor is the older twin.
BB: You have a good point. Since you're descended from Bartholomeus, Jakobus Schild's older twin, Marlies should have changed her name.
Schild:  But it doesn't matter now because I have officially retired from ski racing.
BB: Did you know that your other long lost cousin Bernadette Schild changed her name to keep people from mixing her up with her older sister?
Schild: No. She was always Bernadette, at least since she has been in the World Cup.
BB: Bernadette's real name is Marliena. When she moved up to the World Cup she was told to either change her name to something that didn't sound like her older sister's or switch to a different team. It is a rule in Austria that the older sibling gets to keep the similar sounding name. Younger siblings must change their names or leave the team.
Schild: Are you saying that there cannot be two skiers with similar sounding names on the Austrian team?
BB: That is correct.
Schild: So how come both Steffi Moser and Steffi Koehle are both on the Austrian team? They are both named Steffi.
BB: Because they are not sisters. Anyway, imagine the irony if Cousin Marliena/Bernadette ended up on the Swiss team with you because of the rule that requires the younger sibling to leave if she refuses to change her name to something that sounds different than her older sister's? The descendant of the exiled Claudius Schild would have returned to her ancestral home after almost 1000 years.  
Schild: I think that would confuse the fans even more than Marlies and I do. Martina and Marliena sound almost identical. One of us would have had to change our names or switch teams.
BB: It would probably have been Bernadette because she is descended from the younger twin of Jakobus Schild while you are descended from the older twin. You would have priority.
Schild:  I'm glad that Marliena stayed in Austria and changed her name to Bernadette. Things are a lot simpler that way.
BB: Now that you know you have some new relatives, are you planning a family reunion?
Schild: I don't know yet. Right now I will take things one step at a time.
BB: Good idea. (slight pause)  Have you and Marlies ever switched speed suits to play a joke on the fans?
Schild: No. I don't think that would have worked out very well. We would have been found out quickly. If we were both speed or technical specialists, we might have done it to see if anyone noticed.
BB: You never even thought to switch speed suits with Marlies?
Schild: I thought about it, but Benni Raich makes sure that Marlies and her speed suits are well protected when she is at a race site. Let's just say that Benni knows a thing or two about setting booby traps.
BB: Well, Martina, it looks like we are out of time. I want to wish you success in your post-retirement endeavours, whatever they may be.
Schild: Thank you.
BB: And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Never give your kids similar-sounding names because medieval laws could come back to haunt them.

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