News and views from Patrik Loertscher
An Olympic champion in Nagano in 1998, Patrick Lörtscher has placed Lausanne’s curling stone in the international house. The pundit of choice on TSR when it comes to major events, this 50-year-old Vaudois has dedicated thirty-eight years to serving his sport.
A quick rewind. 1998. Nagano Olympic Games. Curling has finally won recognition as an Olympic sport. In the final, Switzerland triumphs over Canada. Patrick Hürlimann, Daniel Müller, Diego Perren and Patrick Lörtscher write themselves into the history of the Games. Twelve years later, Switzerland wins a bronze medal in Vancouver. At the microphone for TSR, Patrick Lörtscher commentates on the achievement. Retired from international competitions since 2002, the 50-year-old Lausannois delivers measured remarks in a voice that is always clear and calm. He deserves much of the credit for the fact that the French-speaking Swiss channel has good viewing figures for curling.
His list of victories commands respect. Olympic champion, world champion, two silver medals, three bronze, twice champion of Europe and ten times Swiss champion.
“What I like about Lausanne is its human dimension.”
One week of competition only
Patrick Lörtscher took up curling at the age of twelve on the wishes of his parents: “I had hurt myself whilst skiing and my parents wanted me to do some sport. I found this sport quite enjoyable and I launched my first stone in Château d’Oex. A year after I started I won a tournament for hopefuls.” The precociously talented Patrick Lörtscher carried off his first European crown in 1978 having barely reached the age of eighteen. Four years later, it was time to retire: “I only really took a break of three years. I came back in 1985 and carried on until 2002.” Today, the Lausannois no longer plays: “I only play one week a year. The only competition I allow myself to take part in is the Coppa Romana played out of doors in Les Grisons.” A banker in a large establishment and father of two children (11 and 12 years old), Patrick Lörtscher considers that he has given enough. Especially as his body no longer responds as it used to: “Let’s just say my back is no longer really up to it. The same goes for my knees. Today’s youngsters play with ten-kilo stones, ours used to weigh twenty. Nearly all the players of my generation have back problems.”
When asked to mention his town, Patrick Lörtscher admits to liking the grandeur of Lausanne: “Pully, Lutry, St. Sulpice, I love. I am less of a town centre person because of all the upheaval going on there. But what I appreciate about Lausanne is its human size.” A keen lakeside walker, Patrick Lörtscher enjoys rambling along the shores of Lake Geneva to the curling hall situated in Ouchy. “This hall represents thirty-five years of my life. I spent whole nights in this club.” In 2010, it is the introductory courses on the sport that make him come back “home”: “On the last day of courses, some people waited an hour and a half!”
A dyed-in-the-wool epicurean, the Lausannois recalls nights out as a student spent at the XIIIème Siècle in the Cité. Present-day outings are more sedate, to restaurants. “I really like a little Portuguese restaurant called Le Framboisier on the Avenue du Léman,” he says smoothly in conclusion. “Their steaks are delicious and it’s a very friendly place. Other than that I enjoy La Gourmandine, an excellent Chinese eaterie in Pully.”
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