Sport in Switzerland
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In Switzerland, most of the people have a regular sport activity and one in four is an active member of a sports club. The most important all-embracing organisations for sports in Switzerland are the Federal Office of Sport, and the Swiss Olympic Committee (Swiss Olympic).
Because of its varied landscape and climate, Switzerland offers a large variety of sports to its inhabitants and visitors. While winter sports are enjoyed throughout the country, football and ice hockey remain the most popular sports.
Major sporting events in Switzerland include the Olympic Games, which were held two times in St. Moritz in Winter 1928 and Winter 1948, and, the 1954 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.
As a predominantly mountainous country Switzerland has traditionally been one of the strongest nations in the sport of alpine skiing, where it has a long-running rivalry with the neighbouring nation of Austria. The Swiss reached their peak in the sport in the 1980s, when they won the overall Nations' Cup in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for seven consecutive years from 1981 to 1987. Switzerland's most successful alpine skiers include Pirmin Zurbriggen, Peter Müller, Bernhard Russi, Didier Cuche, Franz Heinzer and Michael von Grünigen among the men and Vreni Schneider, Erika Hess, Michela Figini, Maria Walliser, Marie Therese Nadig, Sonja Nef, Lise-Marie Morerod and Brigitte Oertli among the women.
Switzerland is also notable as the birthplace of competitive sledding, which originated in the Swiss resort of St. Moritz, which was also where the first bobsleigh was constructed in the late nineteenth century. Switzerland has traditionally been a strong nation in bobsleigh, enjoying a particularly fierce rivalry with East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s.
Curling has been a very popular winter sport for more than 30 years. The Swiss teams have won 3 World Men's Curling Championships and 2 Women's titles. The Swiss men's team skipped by Dominic Andres won a gold medal at 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
In April-May 2009, Switzerland hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships for the 10th time. The Swiss national ice hockey team's latest achievement is the silver medal at the 2013 World Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden.
Like many other Europeans, most Swiss are fans of association soccer and the national team or 'Nati' is widely supported. The national team has previously participated at seven different FIFA World Cups (last in 2014) and two different UEFA European Championships (last in 2008 as a co-host with Austria).
At club level Grasshopper Club Zürich holds the records for winning the most national championship titles (27) and the most Swiss Cup trophies (19). More recently FC Basel enjoyed great success on a national (winning 7 championship titles in the last 10 years) and international level (qualifying 5 times for the UEFA Champions League Group stage).
Switzerland (Mies) is home to the headquarters of FIBA, the world's governing agency for international events. Unsurprisingly, the country is one of FIBA's founding members and therefore has one of the world's longest basketball traditions.
Once a major team at the international scene, its national team does not have major international significance anymore, despite occasional strong showings at qualification games.
Swiss rugby dates back over a century.
More recently, 2006-07 Heineken Cup clash between the French side Bourgoin and Irish rugby's Munster was moved from Bourgoin's home ground, to the Stade de Genève (Geneva Stadium). The stadium's capacity is 30,000, and attendance on the day was 16,255.
Over the last few years several Swiss tennis players, like Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Martina Hingis, became Grand Slam singles champions. Federer has won 17 Grand Slam titles and holds the record for the longest consecutive stay as the world number 1. Another Swiss tennis figure is Marc Rosset, winning the singles gold medal at the 1992 Olympics.
Switzerland is also the home of the sailing team Alinghi which won the America's Cup in 2003 and defended the title in 2007. Golf is becoming increasingly popular, with already more than 35 courses available and more in planning. André Bossert is a successful Swiss professional golfer.
The Switzerland national beach football team won the Euro Beach football Cup in 2005 and were runners-up twice, in 2008 Euro Beach football Cup and 2009 Euro Beach football Cup. More recently, they were also runners-up in the 2009 FIFA Beach football World Cup that took place in November.
Other sports where the Swiss have been successful include athletics, (Werner Günthör and Markus Ryffel), fencing, (Marcel Fischer), cycling, (Fabian Cancellara, Ferdinand Kübler, Hugo Koblet, Oscar Egg), kickboxing (Andy Hug), whitewater slalom (Ronnie Dürrenmatt—canoe, Mathias Röthenmund—kayak), beach volleyball (Sascha Heyer, Markus Egger, Paul and Martin Laciga), professional wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli), and triathlon.
Motorsport circuits and events were banned in Switzerland following the 1955 Le Mans disaster with the exception of events held in a time trial format such as hillclimbing. On June 6, 2007 an amendment to lift the ban was passed by the lower house of the Swiss parliament. However the proposed law failed to pass the upper house, and was withdrawn in 2009 after being rejected twice.
Despite this, the country has produced successful racing drivers such as Clay Regazzoni, Jo Siffert and successful World Touring Car Championship driver Alain Menu. Switzerland also won the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in 2007-08 with driver Neel Jani. Swiss racing driver Marcel Fässler won the World Endurance Championship in 2012 and has won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times, and motorcycle racer Thomas Lüthi won the 2005 MotoGP World Championship in the 125cc category.
High profile drivers from Formula One and World Rally Championship such as Michael Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sébastien Loeb and Sebastian Vettel all have a residence in Switzerland, sometimes for tax purposes.
Cycling: Fabian Cancellara nicknamed 'Spartacus' is one of the best road racer of modern times. He has achieved great success in the classics; he has won Paris–Roubaix three times, the Milan – San Remo once, and the Tour of Flanders three times. Cancellara has won the opening stage of the Tour de France five times and has led the race for 28 days total, which is the most of any rider who has not won the Tour. His success has not been limited to just time trials and classics, as he has won general classification of the Tirreno–Adriatico, Tour de Suisse, and the Tour of Oman. In 2008, he won gold in the individual time trial and silver in the men's road race at the Summer Olympics. In addition, Cancellara has been the time trial world champion four times in his career.
Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or "Schwingen". It is an old tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some. Hornussen is another indigenous Swiss sport, which is like a cross between baseball and golf. Steinstossen is the Swiss variant of stone put, a competition in throwing a heavy stone. Practiced only among the alpine population since prehistoric times, it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century. It is also central to the Unspunnenfest, first held in 1805, with its symbol the 83.5 kg stone named Unspunnenstein.
- Lauberhorn ski races
- Patrouille des Glaciers
- Weltklasse Zürich
- Davidoff Swiss Indoors
- Allianz Suisse Open Gstaad
- Swiss Cup
- Spengler Cup
- Tour de Suisse
- Tour de Romandie
- Swiss Sports Personality of the Year
- Switzerland at the Olympics
- Football in Switzerland
- Switzerland men's national ice hockey team
- Roger Federer
- Martina Hingis
- Thabo Sefolosha, the first Swiss NBA player
- Antonio Cesaro
Notes and references
- Michelin Travel Publications, Switzerland, p. 51, 2000
- Studie «Sport Schweiz 2008» admin.ch, Retrieved on 2009-06-24
- Sport in Switzerland topendsports.com. Retrieved 2011-05-12
- Sappenfield, Mark; Case Bryant, Christa (16 February 2010). "For Swiss, an Olympic skiing gold is good - beating Austria makes it great". csmonitor. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- Verschoth, Anita (27 January 1988). "Spies That Slide". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
- IIHF World Championships 2009 official website
- UpdateF1 >> Formula 1 News > Switzerland lifts motor racing ban
- [http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/sport?cid=7447592>Formula One motor racing ban to continue]
- Sébastien Loeb Identity card
- BBC Hamilton decides to leave Britain
- Celebrities in Switzerland - Where Tina Turner and Co. Live
Media related to Sports in Switzerland at Wikimedia Commons