Rochester’s Liechtenstein skiing fans rejoice

Rochester’s Liechtenstein skiing fans rejoice

From Liechtenstein (1974)

2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals - Ladies' & Mens' Super G · Tina Weirather ...

2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals – Ladies’ & Mens’ Super G · Tina Weirather

On Saturday the 17th, the thirty year Winter Olympic medal drought ended.  And Liechtenstein fans all over Rochester rejoiced.

In a stunning upset in the Women’s Super-G, snowboarder Ester Ledeka — using borrowed skis — won the Gold medal.  But Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather captured the Bronze.  In doing so, Tina — daughter and niece of Liechtenstein’s fabled sister/brother duo, Hanni and Andreas Wenzel — became the first Liechtenstein Olympian to medal since Paul Frommelt in the 1988 games in Calgary.

On February 23rd, Tina competes in the Women’s combined with a shot at another medal.

(See also Liam Boylan-Pett’s One family has made Liechtenstein, a 38,000-person country, an Olympic skiing powerhouse  2/ 11/ 18)

Liech oly

The New York Times, Sports Sunday, February 18. 2018


Fri, Feb 22, 1980 – Page 25

Democrat and Chronicle, Fri, Feb 22, 1980 – Page 25

For 4 Olympics, from 1976 – 1988, Liechtenstein skiers were the darlings of the Alpine skiing world — and beyond.  Hanni won 4 medals, including two golds and a silver; Andreas won 2 bronzes.  The brothers Frommelt won bronzes in ’76 and ’88. Ursula Konzett won a bronze in Sarajevo.

During that heyday of Liechtenstein skiing, maybe people liked how plucky and peace loving Liechtenstein stayed neutral in the World Wars and then in the Cold War.  The greatest triumphs came at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.  Along with the USA hockey team, the Wenzel siblings were the toast of the Adirondacks, especially Hanni.

Calling the Wenzels “the First Family of these XIII Winter Games,” D & C sportswriter Greg Boeck described how the news reached Liechtenstein from Lake Placid:


Democrat and Chronicle, Fri, Feb 22, 1980

And so we felt on Saturday, when Tina ended the 30 year drought!

From Liechtenstein's sporting web page

Tina’s mother, Hanni, with her 1980 prize. From Liechtenstein’s sporting web page


At this point, the reader may think I am a bandwagon Liechtenstein fan only tuning in when the Grand Duchy wins an Olympic medal. But rest assured, I can prove my Liechtenstein bona fides from way back.

As a boy, I liked the small countries of Europe:  Andorra, San Marino and Monaco.  Nestled between Switzerland and Austria,  Liechtenstein (pop. 38,000; area 62 square miles) was my favorite.  Looking back, I am puzzled.  Liechtenstein is a Monarchy while I am a democrat.  Liechtenstein has long been a tax haven for corporations; I am against overseas tax havens for rich corporations.  But I do recall liking that Liechtenstein was probably the model for The Mouse that Roared (1955), a satirical novel about an imaginary country in Europe, the Grand Duchy of Fenwick, that declares war on the United States.

So when planning our summer vacation trip to Europe in 1973, I begged my mother to include Liechtenstein. As seen in the second listing in her travel diary, she complied:


from Carol Kramer’s travel log. Alas, she spelled Liechtenstein wrong and neglected to white out her error.

Decades later, some memories have dimmed.  I do remember seeing our King’s — I mean Liechtenstein’s — castle.


Postcard from the 1973 trip. Caption: Schloß Vaduz, Residenz des Regierenden, Fürsten von Liechtenstein, Wappen des fürstenlichen Hauses

As further proof is the film taken back before video camera — waiting to be digitalized.


A year later in Mrs. Heyer’s class at the Twelve Corners Middle School, we were asked to write a report on the county of our choice. The result was very much a product of the analog age: facts taken from print encyclopedias and handwritten on lined paper and illustrations taken out of National Geographics stored in bins at the town library and then taped onto crepe paper.


Excerpts from Liechtenstein. Prepared for Mrs. Heyer, Twelve Corners Middle School in Brighton, New York (10/17/74). Comments in red are Heyer’s.

Despite what might today seem a shoddy production, Heyer’s comments were justified.

1974 cropped

Liechtenstein has no baseball league. At the height of my interest, my dream was to start one. Eugene Kramer (crouching), summer 1974. From Thanks Dad!

On the 23rd, root for Tina!


From Tirana with love. And a dash of Pristina.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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