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TORINO: Alpine: QA with Austrian ski federation president Peter Schroecksnadel

TORINO: Alpine: Q&A with Austrian ski federation president Peter Schroecksnadel{mosimage}Peter Schroecksnadel, the president of the the Austrian ski federation, is one of the most powerful men in the sport. He owns ski areas, manages athletes and sits on the FIS council. Late on Monday afternoon, Ski Racing interviewed him at length about the controversy swirling since Italian paramilitary police raided the quarters of the team’s cross-country and biathlon athletes. Here are excerpts from that interview:

On why Walter Mayer was with the Austrian athletes:
‘If you’re training the team for four years, I cannot say that you are not allowed in the stadium. It’s the same in soccer. He’s allowed to do that, but he’s not allowed to be in the coach area. But he should behave normal. But he did not behave normal. … I wanted to talk to him about what was going on, but I didn’t have any chance because he had an accident.’

On why Mayer was in a psychiatric ward:
He said he wanted to do suicide. He said this to his wife. That’s why he hit the car. He’s out. The rest of the team, we think they did nothing against the rules.

On what the Carabinieri may have found:
There was nothing found which is a drug. What they found was machines to control the blood, white and red cells. The hemoglobin. The athletes have a machine … they had this because they were afraid at the high elevation that they could be at the limit.

On the consequences for any failed drug tests or criminal prosecutions:
If we find out that some of these guys did the wrong thing, they’re out too. If we find out they didn’t do the wrong thing, we will defend them.

On the Austrian athletes who fled Italy:
You cannot force someone to stay if they want to leave. I think they were afraid of the police in Italy because they take them to jail immediately.

On police involvement with the anti-doping effort:
I think it’s not the right approach to handle doping. That kills the sport. The main thing now is how to catch an athlete with doping, and not to protect an athlete.

On steroids:
The same with Bode [Miller] says. The same thing. On this point I agree totally with him, because it can’t be that an athlete can’t be treated for his health like a normal guy. … If an injury, and your leg thin like this, then you should get steroids as a normal people to recover. Everything which allowed to normal people to recover should be allowed to an athlete. If it shrink, because he broke the leg or whatever, why shouldn’t it be possible to help this guy. I wouldn’t understand this. Why not? But he shouldn’t compete in this time. But to recover, under control of doctors or university or whatever, he should be allowed to do it.

On interactions Walter Mayer:
He was here for a few days, three or one day, I don’t know. I met him for a short time – saw him, that’s it. Maybe for a few minutes, and then I didn’t see him anymore. When he left, or when he came, I don’t know that.

On the Austrian team photos with Mayer in them:
It was pictures of the Austrian biathlon team, not the Olympic team. … The Olympics team is only six people, no more allowed. And on that photo, I never saw it except on TV, it was 15 or 20 people.

On whether he can promise that the Austrian federation is 100 percent clean:
What I can promise is that our trainers don’t do anything which we know is wrong to do. I know that 100 percent. But you never know what an athlete in his private room does. You never can check on this. I don’t think they are doing any bad. The other reason what I say, is I’m really happy about controlling. I’m happy because I think the Austrian country is so small that we could never be good at this. We would never be as good as other countries. The more control there is, the better the Austrians are.

What do you think?


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