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Behind the best: Max Studer

Our new article series, ‘Behind the best’, speaks to those closest to our athletes for an exclusive look at their history and character. First up is Swiss athlete Max Studer. Get to know one of triathlon’s most exciting prospects from the people who raised him: his parents.


Max Studer grew up in a sleepy Swiss village called Kestenholz, in the canton of Solothurn. Encouraged by his parents to live an active lifestyle, he got his first taste of triathlon at just ten years old.


Since then, he’s become one of his country’s biggest athletic names, a U23 European Champion and is currently ranked 20th globally according to the ITU. 


But what was he like growing up? Did he always have a knack for sports? Were his parents, Sabine and Max, sure that he’d go on to be such an athletic superstar? Let’s ask them.



Hey Sabine and Max Sr, what are your earliest memories of Max Jr doing sport? 


Max was always active and did a lot of sport; from gymnastics and football to swimming. He first encountered the sport of triathlon at the PowerMan in Zofingen, where he took part in the PowerKids when he was just ten years old. We think he enjoyed it, as he has been doing it ever since.    


Did you ever think he would go so far? 


Honestly, we were just happy that our children were healthy and enjoyed doing sports. As a family, we had fun together taking part in sporting events and we always tried to support and encourage our children. Everything else just happened.  



Was he always a strong athlete?


Actually, as a child, Max was quite small and lightweight, so he often had to compete against stronger boys of the same age. We remember the Duathlon Swiss Championship in Spiez in 2009, particularly well, for example. He was 13 years old and he really wanted to win the title against the bigger guys. We're happy to say that he succeeded.


We saw how much ambition and willpower he has and what strength he can muster in competition.



Do you have any other memories that stick in your mind? Why these ones? 


Maybe in 2018, when Max, a little surprisingly, won his first triathlon World Cup title in Tongyeong, South Korea. We were there with him and it was just an extraordinary experience and very emotional for all of us.


We could see so clearly that Max has the potential to achieve a lot if he puts his mind to it. 


How do you support him today?


First and foremost, we, as parents, are always there for him whenever he needs us. We also support him by taking on various organizational and administrative tasks. 



Representing his country on the world’s biggest stage, what’s it like seeing Max’s dreams come true? 


We are very proud of Max and happy that he can make his dream come true. We always follow all of his competitions and, whenever we have the chance, we are there live and on-site to support him.


Watching him always makes us very nervous and excited. We just hope that he can perform at his best and that there are no accidents.



What happened on the day that he booked his ticket to Tokyo? Was it emotional? 


We cheered Max on from the first moment right through to the definitive selection. He called us straight after the decision and, naturally, we all felt very happy for him. A bottle of sparkling wine might have been opened...


Is it difficult knowing that you will not be able to be with him physically in Tokyo? 


Yes, it is a shame that we cannot travel to Tokyo as we originally planned. But we will enjoy the live broadcast with family and friends; then Max will call us and tell us how it went for him. Of course, we all want only the best for him. 


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