Friday, May 22, 2015

Anna Fenninger versus The Austrian Ski Federation

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

There has been big drama in the Austrian Ski Federation (OeSV) over the past few weeks. Two-time overall globe winner Anna Fenninger and the OeSV have been in the fight of the century. In the right  corner is Anna, who wants to keep her manager. In the left corner is OeSV president Peter Schroecksnadel, who wants Anna to give up her German manager so that he can manage her. We sent one of our intrepid reporters to Austria to try and interview both Anna and Herr Schroecksnadel to get their sides of the story. However, none of them were available. They had already talked to the others about this situation and wanted to be left alone. Not to be deterred, our reporter found the next best person to clarify this story from our unique perspective--our very own Answer Man, who is really one of our intrepid researchers. Let's find out what the Answer Man has to say.

BB: Can you give us some background about this story?
Answer Man: Anna has worked with a German manager for several years and she is happy with him. Herr Schroecksnadel wants her to give up the German manager so that he can manage her. Anna threatened to retire if she could not keep her manager. 
BB: Does Herr Schroecksnadel want Anna to give up her manager because the OeSV wants the money that she brings in, or is it because he is German?
Answer Man: The OeSV seems to have a recent history of bad dealings with the Germans. Fritz Dopfer competes for Germany instead of Austria. The OeSV tried unsuccessfully to get him back a couple of seasons ago. (see this story)
BB: But that is different because Fritz was not considered good enough to make the Austrian team when he was young. He has a German parent, so he decided to compete for Germany instead. The Austrians only wanted him back after he became successful.
Answer Man: Fritz's teammate Felix Neureuther also played an April Fool's trick on both the fans and the OeSV by announcing that he would compete for Austria. The OeSV salivated at the possibility of getting a big star like Felix, only to be told later that it was an April Fool's Day prank. Needless to say, the OeSV was very unhappy about being duped by a German. 
BB: Back to Herr Schroecksnadel wanting to manage Anna along with all of her teammates...Is it normal that the head of a federation also manages the athletes? Doesn't that seem like something from the old Soviet Union?
Answer Man: Schroecksi is an admirer of the old Soviet and East German sports systems.
BB: Wait a minute! The Soviets and East Germans doped their athletes to fulfill their aim of glory through sports. Are you saying that Herr Schroecksnadel supports doping his skiers?
Answer Man: Not at all. But the OeSV and former Soviet Union selected their athletes at a young age and developed them into stars. The federations also managed the athletes and had centralized training. Neither system had athletes who were prima donnas. Anyone who developed a big ego was kicked off the team. Their systems are actually quite similar, except for the doping part. 
BB: Eastern Bloc athletes were not allowed to mingle with the fans or Western athletes, but the Austrian skiers are allowed to. 
Answer Man: Yes, that is true. The OeSV does not need to worry about its athletes being exposed to the decadent West because they are already Western. Anyway, if the Austrians mingle with the French or Italians the only things they may get from them are some good recipes. However, the OeSV strongly discourages its athletes from going into McDonald's or other US fast food restaurants. 
BB: Good call. Marcel Hirscher seems to get what he wants from the OeSV. Why can't Anna?
Answer Man: The story making the rounds is that Marcel has four overall globes while Anna only has two. But that is not the real story. Herr Schroecksnadel manages Marcel, but he has his own team within the OeSV's structure. Marcel also told the OeSV that if he didn't have his own team, he would not allow his former guide dog Whitey to be the team mascot. Everyone on the team, especially Herr Schoecksnadel, loves Whitey and the whole team would have quit if she was no longer the official mascot. Marcel got his own team of trainers with Herr Schroecksnadel managing him and Whitey remained the team mascot. It was a win-win situation for Austria. If Anna had a dog that was team mascot material, things could turn out differently for her.
BB: Tell our readers about Anna leaving the team training camp in Cyprus. Where is she now?
Answer Man: She left the team training camp over the dispute about her management. The OeSV tried to get her to stay by telling her that it would buy her a whole new summer wardrobe, a new bicycle, and a new car, plus find her the perfect celebrity athlete boyfriend. That was obviously not enough. There has been talk of Anna forming her own team, like Tina Maze and Larisa Yurkiw did. But so far nothing has come of it. 
BB: If the situation cannot be resolved, will Anna compete for another country?
Answer Man: A lot of countries have offered asylum to Anna. The US was interested in adding Anna to its team, but that deal was nixed when Lindsey Vonn objected to having a teammate who could upstage her. There have been offers from many African, Asian, and Oceanic countries as well as from Antarctica. Any country would be privileged to have Anna on its team. 
BB: Antarctica?
Answer Man: Yes. If the fictional country of Freedonia can field an Olympic team (see this story), then so can Antarctica. Anna has even had an offer to compete for the planet Zorkon in the Andromeda Galaxy. 
BB: Are you saying that the news about Anna and her dispute with the OeSV has reached outer space?
Answer Man: Yes. 
BB: In order to believe the offer from Zorkon, you must believe that there is life on other planets.
Answer Man: The universe is so huge, there must be other planets out there that are capable of supporting life. Some of the alien life forms may be even more advanced than we humans. 
BB: If Anna were to compete for another planet, how would that work with the FIS? There are special requirements for athletes who want to switch countries.
Answer Man: That's right. The procedure for changing countries is quite complex. If the OeSV decides to release Anna, she can compete for another country. But she needs one of the following: a passport from her new country, a parent or grandparent who is from the new country, or residency in the new country for two years. If the OeSV refuses to release Anna, then she will lose all of her FIS points and be forced to sit out a year. When she returns she would start from zero. If she wants to compete at the Olympics, she would have to wait for three years or get special permission from the IOC to compete. The Mafia hit men from Freedonia were allowed to compete in Sochi because the IOC wanted new countries at the Winter Olympics. It didn't matter that Freedonia is a fictional country. 
BB: But what about competing for another planet? As far as I know, FIS rules only apply to countries on Earth.
Answer Man: Right. Anna would set an interesting precedent if she were to compete for Zorkon. She would be the first ski racer to compete for a different planet. There is nothing in the FIS Big Book of Rules that covers interplanetary or intergalactic transfers. The rules only discuss how a ski racer can compete for another country on Earth. The OeSV may have to release her unconditionally because of that technicality. 
BB: What about the language barrier? Anna speaks German and English. I would assume that the Zorkonians have their own language.
Answer Man: You evidently don't watch enough science fiction movies or TV programs. All of the aliens in them speak perfect English. Those that don't speak English, like the Martians in "Mars Attacks," have special machines that translate their language to English. If the aliens from Zorkon are like the others, they will speak English. 
BB: A lot of the old science fiction movies with alien invasions took place in 1950s America. Many science fiction programs and movies take place in the future. If Anna were to compete for Zorkon, would she have to time travel in order to do so?
Answer Man: That is a very good question. I suppose she might have to. We Earthlings haven't developed time travel technology yet, but maybe the Zorkonians can bring a time travel machine to Earth for Anna. The down side of Anna time traveling is that she won't be able to compete next season because she would either be in the distant past or future. 
BB: If Anna decided to compete for Zorkon, where would she train? Could she stay on Earth and train in Austria, or would she have to go to Zorkon?
Answer Man: Hopefully the Zorkonians would let her stay on Earth to train since that is where the World Cup races take place. That seems to make the most sense.
BB: If the FIS required Anna to live on  Zorkon to establish residency, how long would it take to get there?
Answer Man: The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.9 million light years from Earth. Anna obviously would not survive the trip to Zorkon if she went in a regular space ship or even one that went at the speed of light. She might be able to teleport there if the Zorkonians have that technology. However, if the Zorkonians were to establish a colony on Earth, Anna could live there and get residency credit. 
BB: Where would Zorkonians establish a colony on Earth?
Answer Man: On the only place still left to colonize--Antarctica.
BB: Hmmmm...Did that offer to compete for Antarctica really come from scientists working there, or from Zorkonians who have a secret colony at the South Pole? Are the international scientific teams in Antarctica really aliens from the planet Zorkon?
Answer Man: That sounds like something that our intrepid research team will have to investigate. For now Anna wants to compete for Austria because she is Austrian in heart and soul. But if there is an impasse, the Zorkonian offer is still on the table. 
BB: Ski racing fans want to see Anna on the race pistes, no matter who she competes for. She is one of the most talented racers of this generation and it would be a pity if she quit because of a conflict with the OeSV. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for your insight into the situation with Anna and the OeSV. Let's hope that Anna and the OeSV can resolve their situation to their mutual benefit. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters may seem like they are space aliens, but they are simply intrepid. 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too funny. I hope the dispute can be rectified. I don't think Fenninger has reached her peak yet, so it would be disappointing if she was to quit skiing.