When did you start dreaming about the Olympics?
Roman Röösli: When I started as a junior rower at 13. Back then, I didn’t think I’d ever be a professional athlete. That developed over time. My Olympic dream was similar. Only when I became part of the elite squad in my club did I begin to think that it didn’t have to just be a dream - it could be a goal.
Was it a goal or a dream back then? Or both?
Roman Röösli: You always dream about it, of course, even as a child. But you don’t think it can actually become a realistic goal to begin with.
Tokyo will be your second Olympic Games after Rio. Will things be different compared to last time?
Barnabé Delarze: Well, everything is completely different anyway because of the pandemic (laughs). But our experiences in Rio will undoubtedly help us in Tokyo. We know what to expect. So we’ll automatically focus more on the race, which will also be encouraged through all the measures in place on site.
How has the pandemic impacted your preparations?
Barnabé Delarze: In terms of sport, things haven’t really changed for us that much. Training sessions and training options have been similar to what they were pre-coronavirus. Of course, it feels different mentally as we had to stay with it for an extra year. But we used the additional time to try out new things.
Roman Röösli: There were, of course, fewer competitions in 2020 but, otherwise, it was a good summer for us. In 2021, all the regattas have either resumed or the postponed events have taken place.
And how has the pandemic impacted your goals?
Barnabé Delarze: In terms of sport, we’ve set our sights a little higher because of the extra year. In 2020, we wanted to reach the final and were hoping for a medal. Now we’re going to Tokyo to bring back a medal. With a bit of luck, maybe a gold - who knows?
Due to the pandemic restrictions, no Swiss fans will be there. Will you miss their support?
Roman Röösli: It’s definitely always cooler when our fans can be there. Full stands are always more fun – the more people supporting us, the more magical the atmosphere for us. But we rowers especially have lots of competitions where the crowds are manageable. And we’ve got used to that. But things are always better with Swiss fans there.