Friday, January 11, 2019

Athlete Profile: Katharina Liensberger

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Katharina Liensberger is Austria's newest technical racing star. After coming close to the podium earlier this season, she earned her first podium finish in Flachau and became the Second Attendant to the Snow Space Princess. One of our confident correspondents of communication, better known as one of our intrepid reporters, was sent to Austria to talk to Katharina. Let's find out what she has to say.

BB: Congratulations on your third place finish in Flachau. 
Liensberger: Thank you. 
BB: How does it feel to be the Second Attendant to the Snow Space Princess?
Liensberger: I don't think that the Snow Space Princess has any attendants. I was simply the third place finisher. 
BB: Of course the Snow Space Princess has attendants. All princesses do. 
Liensberger: Maybe Petra Vlhova's trainers and service men were her attendants. But neither Mikaela Shiffrin nor I did any traditional attendant to a princess duties after the race. 
BB: I see...You are part of the new generation of Austrian ski racers who are making their mark in the World Cup. Do you feel pressure to live up to the legacy of the Austrian stars who came before you?
Liensberger: No. I simply go out and do my best. Of course I want to make my fellow Austrians proud, but I don't feel any pressure. It was a special thrill to place third in front of the Austrian crowd in Flachau.
BB: You are part of a group of not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 Katharinas who are all rising stars on the Austrian team. Is there any special reason why there are so many Katharinas?
Liensberger: Katharina is a popular name in Austria.
BB: So the Austrian Ski Federation did not put out a notice to all mothers with daughters named Katharina that there was a shortage of ski racers with that name on the national team and to have their girls report for compulsory ski lessons?
Liensberger: Ski lessons are mandatory for everyone in Austria, no matter what their names are.  I think that it is a coincidence that there are four Katharinas on the team. As I said before, it is a popular name.
BB: As far as you know, the Austrian federation does not tell parents, "This year we want only Annas for the team, next year we want Stephanies, and in two years we will only take Katharinas?"
Liensberger: No, the team picks the best skiers based on their race results, not their names.
BB: Let's talk about the other Katharinas on the team, namely Katharina Truppe, Katharina Huber, and Katharina Gallhuber. Are all four of you friends?
Liensberger: Yes. We are rivals on the race course but friends outside of racing and in training. We all support each other and are part of a great team. 
BB: Let's play a little game. Are you ready?
Liensberger: This is a rather strange interview. 
BB: Of course it is. We are the Blickbild and specialise in asking the questions that nobody else dares to ask. We also have the most intrepid reporters in the business. You on the other hand don't seem very intrepid because you are not interested in playing along with me. 
Liensberger: OK, I will play. 
BB: Out of the 4 Katharinas: yourself, and Katharinas Huber, Gallhuber, and Truppe, which one is not like the other three?
Liensberger: Oh, that is a hard question.....I will go with myself because I am the only one who has been on the podium this season.
BB: Good guess but incorrect. But because you are so nice, I will give you another chance. 
Liensberger: Katharina Huber because she has dark hair and the rest of us have light hair.
BB: No no no! But an interesting try nonetheless. It is Katharina Truppe. You, Katharina Huber, and Katharina Gallhuber all have an odd number of letters in your surnames. Katharina Truppe is the only one with a surname with a even number of letters. 
Liensberger: I never thought about it, but that's true. 
BB: Of course it's true. We at the Blickbild may be a bit bizarre, but we never lie. But do you or the other Katharinas?
Liensberger: No. We all grew up learning never to lie.
BB: So you don't try to fool your trainers?
Liensberger: How would we fool our trainers?
BB: You all pretend to be different Katharinas. For example, Katharina Gallhuber pretends to be Katharina Truppe, who pretends to be Katharina Huber, who pretends to be you. 
Liensberger: No. Our trainers can tell us apart. They would know if we were pretending to be someone else.
BB: Really? They can tell all of you Katharinas apart without any special markings on your training suits or different coloured lights on your helmets? 
Liensberger: Yes. Austrian ski trainers are smart enough to know who their athletes are.
BB: Maybe they learned their lesson after the Regina Sterz debacle (see this story). Do any of you try to fool your friends and family members by saying that you are a different Katharina?
Liensberger: No. We all look different enough that our friends and family can tell us apart.
BB: So ski racing fans and your trainers can be 100% sure that it was really you, and not one of the other Katharinas pretending to be you, who got 3rd place in Flachau?
Liensberger: It was definitely me.
BB: Well you are all about the same age and size. You and one of the other Katharinas could have switched helmets and skis and played a joke on your trainers and ski racing fans all over the world. Nobody would have known, at least while you were on the course. Katharina Truppe could have raced as you, but you actually showed up for the podium photos and award ceremony. 
Liensberger: That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! If Kathi Truppe earned 3rd place, she would have gone to the award ceremony and posed for podium photos because she would have deserved it. Our team probably would have been disqualified if we tried to play a trick like that.
BB: I have one more theory about all of the Katharinas on Team Austria. Maybe you are really all four of them. 
Liensberger: What? !? Where are you coming up with this stuff?
BB: If you think for a moment, it makes a lot of sense. Maybe you have Multiple Personality Disorder. Instead of having separate male and female personalities, or personalities with different ages, you have four distinct personalities who are all named Katharina and are Austrian ski racers. Each of your Katharina personalities has a different surname.  
Liensberger: You think for a moment. If I were really all four Katharinas in one body, how would I finish a run, then make it back to the start of the the next Katharina's run? It would be impossible if one of we Katharinas started right after each each other.
BB: Modern ski lift technology is amazing. 
Liensberger: Don't you think our trainers and teammates would notice the difference between having one and four Katharinas in a training session or race? I would also be too tired to train or race if I was really all four Katharinas.
BB: Your wonderfully perceptive trainers and teammates evidently did not notice that Regina Sterz was really the former Regina Mader. They may have the same powers of observation with your four Katharina personalities.
Liensberger: I do not have four different personalities with their own surnames. There is just me and the other Katharinas are separate people. They are not separate personalities residing in my body. When are you going to ask me normal questions, like what my goals for the rest of the season are or if I hope to win a medal at the world championships in Are?
BB: If you wanted someone to ask you the usual questions, you should have been interviewed by Der Standard and not by us. We at the Blickbild usually do not ask those types of questions. 
Liensberger: Evidently. This has been by far the weirdest interview I ever had.
BB: That's because our specialty is weird interviews. But if you insist.....what are your goals for the rest of the season and do you hope to win a medal in Are? If I get fired for asking such mundane questions, you share the blame. 
Liensberger: I hope to continue my success and yes, I would like to win a medal in Are. Maybe your boss won't notice that you finally asked a normal question.
BB: Let's hope not. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for this interview and wish you and the other Katharinas success for the rest of the season. I'm sure we will be seeing you, assuming it is really you and not one of the Austrian Katharinas,  on the podium in future races. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: None of our reporters have Multiple Personality Disorder

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