Switzerland misses its medal target but has a gold Olympics

Silver medalist Wendy Holdener (left) and gold medalist Michelle Gisin celebrate after the women’s alpine ski combined race. © Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

Switzerland returns from the Beijing Winter Olympics with a record for gold medals in alpine skiing. It placed eighth in the medal table, just behind skiing rivals Austria.

This content was published on February 20, 2022 – 13:53

Keystone-SDA/NZZ/jdp

Switzerland fell short of their goal of 15 medals at the Games, but still went home with a jackpot of 7 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze. Norway topped the medal table for the second consecutive time, winning 16 gold medals, 37 in total.

At the last Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Switzerland won 15 medals but only 5 gold. Four years earlier in Sochi, Switzerland had also won 7 gold medals but came back with a total of 11 medals, placing them tenth in the medal table, just ahead of China.

His highest finish on the medal table was in Calgary in 1988 when he finished third with 15 medals, just behind the Soviet Union and East Germany. The number of events has more than doubled since Calgary in 1988. There were 46 competitions in 1988 compared to 109 in Beijing.

Skiing at its peak

The big winners, and in fact all of the Olympic medals, were in the skiing and snowboarding events. This included gold medals for Beat Feuz and Corinne Suter in downhill, Lara Gut-Behrami in super-G, Marco Odermatt in giant slalom, Michelle Gisin in alpine combined, Mathilde Gremaud in freestyle slopestyle skiing and Ryan Regez in ski cross.

Fanny Smith received the bronze medal in the ski cross event, but was disqualified for putting her left ski on another skier who had just spun. The Swiss Ski Federation has lodged an appeal and is awaiting a response.

Near misses

Swiss athletes narrowly missed the medal stand on several occasions. In 8 competitions, the Swiss teams came in fourth place at these Olympic Games. This included the Swiss women’s curling team who lost in the bronze medal match to Sweden and Andri Ragettli who finished fourth in the free ski slopestyle event.

Ski jumper and four-time Olympic champion Simon Ammann, 40, returned empty-handed from his seventh Olympic Games.

The Swiss biathlete Irene Cadurisch caused fear during these games. The first athlete on the women’s relay team, Cadurisch collapsed after the second shot and had to be taken away by a rescue sled and examined by a medal-winning team. She is back home recovering.

The next generation

Switzerland dominated alpine skiing, winning gold in 5 of 11 events. This is the best collection of gold medals in alpine skiing ever achieved by Switzerland or any other country at a single Olympic Games.

In an interview with the German-language newspaper NZZamSonntagthe president of the Swiss Ski Federation, Urs Lehmann, saidExternal link it was a great moment for Swiss sport. However, he said there was still work to be done, especially in other disciplines like Nordic skiing and in training the next generation in alpine skiing.

He said the incredibly high level of the top four female athletes belies the fact that the second guard is too far behind. “We still have about four years to bring in the next generation so they can replace these four top athletes,” he told the NZZ.

Walter Reusser, director of Swiss Ski Alpin, told the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA last week that the association had made mistakes in the past by not showing patience and being guided by the year of birth rather than performance.

“We don’t have twenty riders, but we have a lot of good youngsters,” he said. “When I took charge of Ski Alpin, I said that we wanted to encourage young people in a different way. We have already invested a lot and changed strategic things. But it takes ten years for these athletes to be ready.

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