Bernadette Schild: “Marlies is a real role model for me.“

28 May 2013 21:17
Bernadette Schild
Bernadette Schild -

Saalfelden – Bernadette Schild (23) competed in her first FIS race at the age of 15 and soon claimed her first wins as well as a gold and a silver medal at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships. Since her World Cup debut in 2008 in Bormio, her best result in World Cup is a 2nd place finish at the 2012/13 Finals in Lenzerheide. In this interview with, Bernadette Schild speaks about her relationship to her older, hugely successful sister Marlies, the race in Lenzerheide, training and Sochi.

Bernadette, what does skiing mean to you and have you ever thought of doing something else?

Bernadette Schild: Skiing has always been one of my many passions, and yes, I have already thought about doing something else. For me it is important to ask myself the question, whether what I am doing is what I see myself doing and whether I am having fun with it. The life of a top athlete is of course very, very exciting and variable, but also very temporal. That is why I try to gather as many impressions, experiences and moments as possible from this time.

In what respect is your 8.5 years older sister a role model for you? Do you ask her for her advice or do you try to develop your own style, despite her 35 victories, and does it aggravate you to be compared to her?

Bernadette Schild: Marlies is above all a true role model for me, since I have lived through it myself, how she has fought so hard to come back from her most recent injury. I do not know many, respectively no one, who would have been able to do the same. However, I still try to find my own way and remain true to myself. Being compared to someone can be stressful but for me it is mostly an honor, although oftentimes I am no longer even conscious of such comparisons.

A bit more on Marlies: Sisters have often very intense relationships that characterize their lives. Women are often also more sensitive and have very intimate relationships with each other. In short, is Marlies also a type of a best friend for you?

Bernadette Schild: I think that especially sisters often understand each others without words. That does not mean that we would not speak with each other, quite the opposite, but we do not need to explain to each other all the time how we are doing. We know each other too well for that. We are sisters, who have the privilege to be able to share a very special time in life together, and I am very happy about that.

At the Finals in Lenzerheide you scored your first World Cup podium. Did that 2nd place feel like a victory, and did it provide an additional dose of motivation for the Olympic season?

Bernadette Schild: I have never lacked motivation, but of course it was an unforgettable day for me, and even today I still recall some fine details of that experience. You work so long and hard towards that goal, to finally be able to climb on the podium, and then when it happens suddenly, you are completely unprepared. But once you have been there, you of course want more and are even more focused to return on the podium.

Road biking, strength and core training, swimming, mental or autogenic training… there are many options for dry land training. Which options do you use and is there something you cannot stand?

Bernadette Schild: I like best training where I have fun, especially if I can do it with my friends. Of course there is a lot of strength training in the summer but that can be fun too. Training in nature, especially climbing, bouldering, biking, hiking and much more does not only make me fit, but also gives me a lot of energy, so I am not sure if autogenic training would be something for me. For that I am probably not the right type of a person.

In your events slalom and giant slalom it is often a question of hundredths of a second whether you make the 2nd run or not. A small, often invisible mistake can make a major difference. Is there a perfect slalom specialist or do you just need to exceed your limits every time?

Bernadette Schild: I don’t think that we should be going over our own limits. And in slalom or GS it is simply too easy to fail to finish. For me it is always important that it flows easily and that I just let it happen rather than trying to keep it fully under control.

Bernadette, what more can you tell us about you as a person? Do you have time for hobbies?

Bernadette Schild: I am also studying, which means that especially during the summer I can sit down with my books and try to move my studies along. On one side it is of course an additional burden, but for me it is very important because it allows me to devote myself to something other than sport and gain some distance from skiing. I also take some time for me, my friends, and my hobbies, at least as much as possible. Especially during the summer, it is time to grill, visit climbing parks and take short trips.

Some fans do not seem happy with “Faster, Higher, Stronger". How do you deal with their expectations to always be at your best and not exceed your own limits?

Bernadette Schild: I do not let this pressure get to me. I am conscious that the fans expect you to be winning all the time but I also know how quickly your not-so-good results are forgotten. And it takes even longer to get rid of the memory of a bad result yourself, let alone then have the external pressure added to it.

What is your personal motto that makes you to be the personable and humble ski racer that you are? What qualities do you value in another human being and what characteristics do you dislike most?

Bernadette Schild: My motto has always been and will probably always remain: “The best one is the one having the most fun“. It is perhaps not totally realistic in top performance sport, but for myself I can say I can only ski fast if I am having fun and enjoying what I do. That is when the mentioned ease will come automatically. I will do it my way, but don’t do so without looking around me. In fact I am very concerned that my behavior does not close off the chances or options for others, and I respect the same in other people. I think everyone should do what they think is best, as long as that does not hurt other people.

Let’s look into the future. What are your goals for the coming Olympic season?

Bernadette Schild: Since I have only made it on the podium once I would like to repeat that feat. We have again developed new things and methods for our conditioning and physical training to try out, to make the most of us. However I have not really wasted much time thinking about Sochi. I think rather that it will be like the World Champs, a day on which everything fits together or then not.

Interview for conducted by Andreas Raffeiner