Saturday, October 19, 2013

Suedtirol Skiers to Become Austrian

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Those crazy Austrians are at it again! Last season the Austrian Ski Federation (OeSV) failed in its attempt to bring German racer Fritz Dopfer back to the Austrian team (see this story). But Austria is dusting itself off and trying again. This time Austria wants all of the racers from the Suedtirol (South Tirol), which is the area of Italy that borders Austria. Rumours started flying about Austria wanting the Suedtiroleans after Italian skier Lisa-Magdalena Agerer was conspicuously absent from an Italian women's team photo. We sent one of our intrepid reporters to Soelden to talk with OeSV president Peter Schroecksnadel to see if those rumours were true. Let's find out what Herr Schroecksnadel has to say.

BB: Why does the OeSV want all of the Italian racers from the Suedtirol?
Schroecksnadel: Suedtirol is really a part of Austria. But because of somebody drawing an arbitrary border line, the Suedtirol ended up in Italy. Therefore, the skiers from that region are really Austrians. After all, more people speak German there than Italian. There are also more people in the Suedtirol with German surnames than Italian ones.
BB: I see. Is Lisa-Magdalena Agerer now competing for Austria? Is that why she was not in the Italian team photo?
Schroecksnadel: The OeSV is negotiating with the Italian Ski Federation to allow Lisa-Magdalena to ski for Austria. She has not formally signed with Austria yet, but a contract is in the works.
BB: How does the Italian Federation feel about Lisa-Magdalena competing for Austria?
Schroecksnadel: Italy really has no say in the matter. Lisa-Magdalena is half-Austrian and she lives in Austria. Therefore, she is entitled to be on the Austrian team. Anyway, the last Austrian women's Europa Cup overall winner, Jessica Dipauli, retired early. Austria needs a new Europa Cup champion who has the potential to be great in the World Cup. Lisa-Magdalena will be the perfect replacement for Jessica.
BB: Austria is the world's strongest ski racing superpower. Why take the Italian racers when yours are already so great? The OeSV failed once trying to get Fritz Dopfer back from Germany.
Schroecksnadel: Austria didn't get to be the premier ski racing superpower, and win the last 20 Nations Cups, by giving up. We will do whatever it takes to keep Austria's glorious ski racing tradition alive. Unfortunately, we did not have a good case for taking Fritz because Bayern (Bavaria) was a separate kingdom from Austria. But Suedtirol is really our land.
BB: How will the OeSV accomodate the Italian racers? There are limits on how many racers a country can enter in a World Cup race.
Schroecksnadel: We applied for an exemption from the International Ski Federation (FIS) and it was granted. Until the team gets back to its usual level through racers retiring, Austria will be allowed extra skiers in World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic races.
BB: Which other racers besides Lisa-Magdalena does Austria want?
Schroecksnadel: All of the racers from Suedtirol with German surnames. The men we want are: Christof Innerhofer, Werner Heel, Peter Fill, Patrick Thaler, Dominik Paris, Florian Eisath, Manfred Moelgg, Stefano Gross, and Siegmar Klotz. On the women's side we will take: Denise Karbon, Verena Stufer, Johanna Schnarf, and Maneula Moelgg.
BB: Stefano Gross has an Italian first name.
Schroecksnadel: And an German surname. He is also from Suedtirol.
BB: In other words, Austria wants Italy's very best racers.
Schroecksnadel: Italy will still have plenty of very good racers with proper Italian names. They will get to keep Daniela Merighetti, the Curtoni and Fanchini sisters, Matteo and Francesca Marsaglia, Chiarra Costazza, Frederica Brignone, Max Blardone, and Giuliano Razzolli.
BB: Why have you decided to take the racers from Suedtirol now?
Schroecksnadel: Italy has been imitating us for several years. It is obvious that the Italians really want to be Austrians. We have the euro for our currency and so does Italy. We got white speed suits and then the Italians did too. A few days after we unveiled our newest speed suits, which have a lot of black, the Italians showed off their new black speed suits. Think of what I am doing as helping the skiers from the Suedtirol fulfill their dreams.
BB: What if one of the skiers from Suedtirol wants to carry on competing for Italy? The racers are adults and should be able to decide which team they want to be on.
Schroecksnadel: We may allow exemptions for racers with a parent from another part of Italy because they would be dual citizens. But the rest will compete for Austria because the Suedtirol is really Austria and not Italy.
BB: How will you convince the Italian Ski Federation to give you their racers?
Schroecksnadel: We tried an ice cream for skiers deal, similar to what we did with Fritz Dopfer. But Italian ice cream is the world's best, so that didn't work. Now we are going to have the fans and the whole country of Austria, including the Suedtirol, help us.
BB: What is your plan?
Schroecksnadel: We have an agreement with the FIS to print, "Suedtirol is really Austria" on the front of every World Cup race ticket. In addition, businesses in the Suedtirol will display signs that say, "We are really Austrian and so are our ski racers" where customers can easily see them and people will also post them on their houses. Anyone who fails to comply will be put to work in an Austrian salt mine.  The Italian Ski Federation will have no choice but to give us their skiers from the Suedtirol.
BB: I'm sure that plan will succeed, but do you have a Plan B if it doesn't?
Schroecksnadel: Of course we do. Just last week, when the Austrian women's team arrived in Soelden for training, one of the trainers found an elephant that looked half-starved. At first we thought it escaped from the Innsbruck zoo and got lost trying to find its way back. But one of the racers found a large herd of elephants huddled together trying to keep warm near the start house.
BB: Now our readers will know what happened to the elephants that were supposed to be used to invade Slovenia. They have been wondering.
Schroecksnadel: You and I are thinking alike. My alternate plan will be to get the elephants back to full strength and then, like Hannibal, invade Italy with them and get our rightful land back. Then the skiers from Suedtirol will automatically be Austrian. We should easily be able to defeat Italy. They may beat us on the football field, but Italy hasn't had a significant military victory since around 400 AD. Suedtirol is ours!!
BB: Let's hope that you can negotiate with Italy for the racers from Suedtirol instead of invading it. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Herr Schroecksnadel, I want to thank you for this interview. We at the Blickbild want to wish the Austrian and Italian skiers a successful racing season. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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