Erik Schinegger (* June 19th 1948 in Agsdorf, Kärnten as Erika Schinegger) former Austrian Skier

Erik's story begins in 1948 in the Carinthian village of St. Urban, where the midwife reassures the parents that everything is fine with the girl, but her genital organs look stunted.

There was a relationship of convenience between Erika and her parents. With the diagnosis “normal girl”, Erika was also socialized on a gender-specific basis. Puberty was the turning point through which Erika came to realize she was different. It was a time of lies. For Erika, skiing - with its androgynous clothing - was an escape route. The sensation occurred when the little-known young athlete won downhill gold at the 1966 World Championships in Chile. She was quite sturdy, but no one paid any attention to that, as she came from a family of mountain farmers who had to lend a hand at home and accordingly had little delicate bodies. Old photos show Erika's overcompensation in the form of female hairstyles and clothes. In 1968 the IOC then demanded “gender verification” tests before the games. Erika turned out to have male sex chromosomes. 

After the clinic in Innsbruck carried out the test a second time, Schinegger was led into a room where officials from the ÖSV and doctors from the women's clinic were waiting. She was told that the 2nd test was not clear either and that she should sign her declaration of resignation. It was suggested that she should undergo hormone treatment so that she would be considered a lifelong world champion and that she should go on vacation for 14 days so that the dust could settle on it. However, she should never race again. After the declaration of resignation, Erika was not offered any support. Erika decided, not even 20 years old, without emotional support from her surroundings, to do the necessary 6 operations for rectification.

When Erika came home as world champion, she was celebrated as a heroine, the red carpet was rolled out, Erika was allowed to sign in the city's golden book. She was also promised a 1000 m² plot of land in a certificate, which after the operations he never got, because the certificate said Erika.

When Erik first came home as a man, the Mayor turned away from him, residents avoided him. His friends turned away. Not a teammate came to see him in the hospital. He was on his own. But the worst was that Erik was no longer allowed to race. It was his only way to feel love. Initially he was tolerated in training camps, but was gradually expelled. Although he still won 3 European Cups, he was excluded from the national team and he was not allowed to start for another country. When asked why he didn't go to the press, he said that the media was not allowed to write about it. Schinegger was taboo!

Schinegger is now married, has a daughter and three grandchildren. He has been successfully running a ski school on the Simonhöhe in Carinthia since 1975.

Photo from wikipedia