When did you start dreaming of taking part in the Olympic Games?
I started with sport very early on, and discovered triathlons. I always loved being active, and found the Olympic Games fascinating at a young age.
And when/how did this dream become a clear goal?
I will be taking part in my fifth Olympic Games in a few weeks. That sounds crazy. And each time has been a little different. Triathlons have only been part of the Olympic program since Sydney in 2000. I was a junior back then but already quite close to the level of the third triathlete, who travelled to Sydney to represent Switzerland at the Olympics. That’s when the Olympic dream became a realistic goal of competing at the games in Athens four years later. And I made it too: I took part in the Olympic triathlon as a rookie in 2004.
What does representing your country at the Olympics mean to you? Does it pile the pressure on? Does it spur you on?
I see competing for Switzerland as a great honor. Of course, I can feel a lot of pressure and expectation when representing my country at the absolute top, the Olympic Games. But I see it as a major privilege, so I’m extremely motivated and very proud to compete for Switzerland.
How has the pandemic – and the games being postponed – impacted you and your preparations?
It was difficult. All of a sudden, all of the pools were closed but we still had to prepare for Tokyo. The decision to delay the Olympics for a year made it easier. We definitely learned to be more flexible during the pandemic.
What’s the biggest sacrifice you have to make for sport as a professional athlete?
I see being able to live my passion, the sport, as a career as a huge privilege. It’s not always easy to reconcile everything all at once. But I will now be competing in my fifth Olympic Games as a mother of three children thanks to the amazing support of my husband, my family and everyone else around me. I’d never dared to dream it. I’ve got so much more out of the sport than I’ve sacrificed, and still been able to live out my dreams of studying and having a family too.
What does a normal, average day in the life look like?
We train very intensively, three times a day. Swimming in the morning, then another session before lunch and the third training session in the afternoon. There’s also always a lot to organize in-between. Then we have meetings with sponsors and the media or other obligations and activities. But I always make sure I see my children before the first training session, then play with them after training and that I can eat dinner with them and put them to bed from 6.
What does standing on the podium in Tokyo and hearing the national anthem mean to you? Are you already daydreaming about that moment?
I stood on the podium in London, and heard the national anthem. An indescribable moment full of pride, relief and gratitude.I want to perform my best on July 27, even if it doesn’t end with the national anthem.