By World Triathlon Admin on 21/06/08 at 12:00 am
Last week Swiss Triathlon finalized the six athletes who will head to Beijing for this summer’s Olympic Games. Switzerland is one of just five countries to qualify the maximum of three men and three women and the country has named a team expected to be one of the strongest and deepest in Beijing.
The women’s squad is a smooth blend of experience and young talent. Olympic bronze medalist from 2000, Magali Di marco will make her second trip to the Games. The 36-year old mother has not raced much in 2008 but a bronze in Richards Bay and 15th place at the European championships were enough to secure a spot on the Olympic team. Click here to read Chris Hill’s column on Magali Di marco
Rising star Daniela Ryf, who’s 16 years Di marco’s junior, was also selected for Beijing. The newly crowned under23 world champion has enjoyed a breakthrough season; taking bronze at Madrid for her first world cup medal, eighth at the European championships and currently sits ninth in the world, the highest Swiss woman.
Rounding out the team is Nicola Spirig who will race in her second Olympics. Perhaps Switzerland’s biggest threat for the women’s Olympic podium, she was seventh and the top Swiss at the Beijing test event in 2007. Later in the season she broke through for her first world cup title in Eilat, Israel and finished the year ranked sixth in the world. Always consistent and dangerous on tough bike courses, Spirig finished fourth at this year’s European championships, outsprinted at the line by Sweden’s Lisa Norden.
On the men’s side, Athens bronze medalist Sven Riederer returns for his second Olympic Games. But Riederer will have to face a course that he DNFed on at the Beijing test event last year. So far this season he has posted top ten performances at Tongyeong and at the European championships.
Reto Hug has also been named to the Swiss Olympic team for the third time in his career. This year has been a resurgent one for Hug, who’s coming off a bronze medal at the world championships. After failing to finish in Beijing last year and in the world cup season finale, Hug came back strong in 2008 with a sixth place in Ishigaki and fourth in Tongyeong and is currently ranked fourth in the world. Beijing will be his third Olympics after finishing eighth in Sydney and 40th in Athens.
Also heading to his third Olympics is European championships bronze medalist Olivier Marceau. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Marceau competed for France and finished in seventh place. Four years later in Athens, he represented Switzerland and crossed the line in eighth place, making him the only man to finish in the top ten at both Olympics. Marceau was crowned world champion in 2000 and was the top Swiss man at the Beijing test event last September, finishing in 14th place.
Beijing bound Daniela Ryf wins the under23 world championship in Vancouver, Canada
Reto Hug celebrates a bronze medal at the world championships and secures his third Olympic spot
Find more details about this event - 2008 Beijing Olympic Games