Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sarah Schleper Returns to Racing, Will Compete for Mexico

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Former US ski team member Sarah Schleper de Gaxiola has come out of retirement and will compete for Mexico starting this season. We would normally avoid this story like we would a portable toilet that hasn't been cleaned in a year because it is old news that the others have already reported. But, as usual, we have our own unique perspective on this story. One of our intrepid reporters was granted an interview with Sarah. Let's find out what she has to say.

BB: Sarah, it's nice to see you back on the World Cup circuit again. Please tell our readers why you decided to start competing again.
BB: I think that my eardrums just exploded. Do you always do your famous war cry before interviews?
Schleper: I don't just do it before races. It's also a pre-interview standard and helps clear my mind for whatever questions may come my way.
BB: Has a start house ever come down because your war cry is the same as its resonant frequency?
Schleper: Not yet. But what a great idea! I never thought of that before and will have to try that next season. You really are creative.
BB: We Blickbild reporters are not only intrepid, we are creative too. (short pause) What made you decide to come back to World Cup racing at age 35?
Schleper: I always loved ski racing and felt like I still have what it takes to compete in the World Cup. I will be competing as a giant slalom specialist.
BB: Don't you think that you are rather old to be coming back?
Schleper: Didier Cuche had great results in his late 30s and Patrik Jaerbyn was world class in his 40s. My newest teammate, Hubertus von Hohenlohe, is 55. There was a woman who recently finished the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon at age 91. So no, I am not too old to race.
BB: Touche! You just mentioned your teammate Hubertus von Hohenlohe because you will be competing for Mexico and not the USA.
Schleper: That's right. I have dual US-Mexican citizenship because my husband is Mexican. The International Ski Federation (FIS) gave me approval to compete for Mexico. There was no more room on the US ski team, though I'll be seeing my former teammates at races. The Mexican Ski Team has now doubled in size with me being on it.
BB: Hubertus wore a mariachi speed suit in the Sochi Olympics which won a gold medal for best racing suit. Will you also wear a mariachi race suit?
Schleper: I'll wear whatever the Mexican Ski Federation gives me. If it's a mariachi suit like Hubertus' that is what I'll wear.
BB: You are currently looking for support and sponsors. Once you get your team together, will you also have a witch doctor?
Schleper: A witch doctor?
BB: In the time since you retired, many ski teams now have witch doctors. It is almost becoming a requirement to have one.
Schleper: I don't think so. But I will look into getting one if it is required.
BB: Larisa Yurkiw's team didn't have a witch doctor and she had some great results last season, so it is still possible to do well without one. Moving onto a new topic, will your husband and kids accompany you to races?
Schleper: Yes. They have supported me in my return to racing and it is a real boost to have them around.
BB: Will your husband hold Lasse and Resi up for the TV cameras like Bode Miller's wife does with his kids?
Schleper: They are his kids and he doesn't have to prove anything by holding them up so that they can be on TV.
BB: Good point. You are competing under the name Schleper and not your married name of de Gaxiola. Can you tell us why?
Schleper: I wanted to compete under my married name but the FIS said that I couldn't. The FIS said it would be too confusing for the fans. They also would not let me compete with the double barreled name Schleper de Gaxiola.
BB: You can blame it all on Regina Sterz and Sarka Strachova. After Regina got married and changed her name, nobody knew who she was. Even her trainers and teammates didn't recognize her name. Sarka changed her name because TV commentators would have had too hard a time saying, "Sarka Strachova-Zahrobska." At least she gave fans a 6-month warning instead of suddenly springing a name change on the fans like Regina did. The FIS is trying to do its part to prevent fans from being confused about who the racers are.
Schleper: I see. I guess I can understand the FIS's logic.
BB: You plan to compete at the Vail World Championships in February and keep on racing all the way until the 2018 Olympics. Is that correct?
Schleper: Yes it is. I feel like I have one more Olympics in me. I would like to win medals, but if I don't I can still show everyone what an older athlete who is a mother can do. I can be a world class athlete and a mother at the same time.
BB: Indeed. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for this interview. On behalf of my colleagues at the Blickbild, I wish you a successful comeback.
Schleper: Thank you.
BB: And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

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