The Federal Council honors the Olympians – Viola Amherd for brilliant champions and weak spirits – News

Monday’s Grand Olympic Reception in Magglingen/BE: Several medal and diploma winners at the Summer Games in Tokyo were officially honored and congratulated by Sports Minister Viola Amherd and Federal President Guy Parmelin.

In an interview with SRF News, Federal Chancellor Amherd takes a look at games that demand everything from athletes — and advocate that those measured only by their victories be allowed to show their weaknesses.

Viola Amherd

CVP . Federal Council Member


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The CVP politician was elected a member of the Federal Council at the end of 2018 and assumed the position of Head of the Federal Ministry of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport in 2019. Prior to that, I sat on the National Council of CVP Upper Valais for more than ten years. She was also mayor of Brig-Glees.

SRF News: Switzerland won thirteen precious metals and 23 Olympic diplomas at the games held in Japan. Thus, Switzerland has successfully completed the Summer Olympics in Tokyo as not since 1952 in Helsinki. Athletes from the Swiss Paralympic Games won 14 medals and 16 diplomas. What is the secret of this success?

Viola Amherd: The secret lies primarily in the athletes. You have done a tremendous job. You train and dispense a lot in order to focus. But it also shows that promoting elite sport in Switzerland is on the right track and that we’ve set the right course.

More than half of the successful athletes were in the Army’s sports sponsorship. Is this the way to the future?

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There were also medals and certificates without this path through the army, so both routes were needed. However, it is still noted that half of the successes can be traced back to the armed forces’ sponsorship of first-class sports. The form is working. At the beginning of this year I decided to expand these places so that more athletes can take advantage of them.

The Tokyo Olympics were very special – because of the pandemic, but also because many athletes said it out loud when they weren’t mentally prepared. What do you think caused that?

The epidemiological situation was very difficult for the entire population. Of course also for athletes. They had to postpone their peak performance for a year. The games were scheduled for 2020. It takes incredible mental strength to pull it off a year later.

Athletes don’t have to pretend. You can stand by her if you have a problem – whether it is physical or psychological.

The situation on the site was also difficult: no spectators, everything was encapsulated and isolated. This is the reason why this year’s achievements are weighted so highly.

What do you think about the fact that athletes are now also talking about post-Olympic depression? And would the sport help if American gymnast Simone Biles ditched the competition because she wasn’t ready in her head?

I think it is very important to also talk about the difficult aspects of the sport. There is a lot behind shining medals – in training, effort, effort, and sometimes failure. You should not ignore this aspect. Athletes don’t have to pretend. You can stand by her if you have a problem – whether it is physical or psychological.

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Interviewed by Kristen Wanner.

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