News and views from Sergei Aschwanden
His bronze medal at the last Beijing Games may not have been made of the most precious metal of all, but the emotion felt by the Swiss public was as wonderful as if he had clinched the gold. Recently retired, Sergei Aschwanden is deeply fond of Lausanne.
It is said that the philosopher’s stone had the power to change base metals into gold. One might think that Sergei Aschwanden had inherited this special gift, he who made Switzerland jump for joy during the Beijing Games by clinching a bronze medal with gilded contours. On his knees on the tatami mat, the man from Vaud was bursting with happiness, as if he had just been crowned champion. For him, this medal represented the culmination of an incredibly successful career and record of achievement, at both national and international level. Double medal winner at the European Championships (2000 and 2003 in the under 81 kg category), two third places in 2005 and 2007, bronze medal winner at the Munich World Championships in 2001, then silver at the ones in Osaka in 2003, this native of Bussigny chose to bring down the curtain on his career in the sweetest of ways.
“This is the most beautiful city in the world, simply. I visited many cities, but Lausanne has a little something special”
Although accustomed to travelling to all four corners of the earth as part of his sport, Sergei Aschwanden is always happy to return to the Vaudois capital: «It’s quite simply the loveliest city in the world. I’ve visited a good number of towns, but Lausanne has something a bit special about it. I feel that there’s a real openness and great diversity here. Perhaps that’s down to the fact that you have the countryside on the town’s doorstep, and the lake and mountains close by. I find the people welcoming, as if the human size of the town creates a special atmosphere. What’s more, it’s a sport-loving city with an enormous amount going on. For example there’s the marathon, football with LS, hockey with LHC and other events which I forget, but you sense that this city attaches great importance to sport.»
A cult venue: the Bavaria
Originally from the canton of Uri, Sergei Aschwanden is nevertheless a Lausanne suburbanite through and through, and he leads a settled life in the Vaudois capital: «I know of nowhere better to relax than the lake shore. It exudes serenity like nowhere else, and you can really recharge your batteries amidst the birds and the people walking by. And if I feel like a good night out, I go to the Bavaria at the top of Petit-Chêne. It’s an old-style brasserie where they serve excellent beer. But what I particularly like about this spot is the friendly atmosphere. You find it full of young and old, rich and poor alike, which is why I feel at home and why I’ve been going there for fifteen years now.»
In announcing his retirement in November, Sergei Aschwanden has closed the first chapter of his life. A life lived in the only way the Bussignolais knows: in depth.
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