Sport in Switzerland

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Skiing in Zermatt. Switzerland is the first country where winter sports were developed on a large scale[1]

In Switzerland, most of the people have a regular sport activity and one in four is an active member of a sports club.[2] The most important all-embracing organisations for sports in Switzerland are the Federal Office of Sport, and the Swiss Olympic Committee (Swiss Olympic).

Because of its varied landscape and climate, Switzerland offers a large variety of sports to its inhabitants and visitors. While winter sports are enjoyed throughout the country, football and ice hockey remain the most popular sports.[3]

Major sport events in Switzerland include the Olympic Games, which were held two times in St. Moritz in Winter 1928 and Winter 1948, and, the 1954 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.

Winter sports[edit]

Skiing and mountaineering are much practiced by Swiss people and foreigners, the highest summits attract mountaineers from around the world.

Curling has been a very popular winter sport for more than 30 years. The Swiss teams have won 3 World Men's Curling Championships and 2 Women's titles. The Swiss men's team skipped by Dominic Andres won a gold medal at 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.

Stéphane Lambiel, two-time winner of the World Figure Skating Championships amongst numerous other domestic and international competitions, is one of the world's top figure skaters.


Football[edit]

Like many other Europeans, most Swiss are fans of association football and the national team or 'Nati' is widely supported. The national team has previously participated at seven different FIFA World Cups (last in 2010) and two different UEFA European Championships (last in 2008 as a co-host with Austria).

At club level Grasshopper Club Zürich holds the records for winning the most national championship titles (27) and the most Swiss Cup trophies (19). More recently FC Basel enjoyed great success on a national (winning 7 championship titles in the last 10 years) and international level (qualifying 5 times for the UEFA Champions League Group stage).

Ice hockey[edit]

Most Swiss people also follow ice hockey and support one of the 12 clubs in the National League A, which, as of 2013, is the most-attended European ice hockey league.[4]

In April-May 2009, Switzerland hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships for the 10th time.[5] The Swiss national ice hockey team's latest achievement is the silver medal at the 2013 World Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden.

Rugby[edit]

Swiss rugby dates back over a century.

More recently, 2006-07 Heineken Cup clash between the French side Bourgoin and Irish rugby's Munster was moved from Bourgoin's home ground, to the Stade de Genève (Geneva Stadium). The stadium's capacity is 30,000, and attendance on the day was 16,255.[6]

Other sports[edit]

Roger Federer is one of the best male players in the history of tennis.

Over the last few years several Swiss tennis players, like Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Martina Hingis, became Grand Slam singles champions. Federer has won 17 Grand Slam Titles and holds the record for the longest consecutive stay as the world number 1.

Switzerland is also the home of the sailing team Alinghi which won the America's Cup in 2003 and defended the title in 2007. Golf is becoming increasingly popular, with already more than 35 courses available and more in planning. André Bossert is a successful Swiss professional golfer.

The Switzerland national beach football team won the Euro Beach football Cup in 2005 and were runners-up twice, in 2008 Euro Beach football Cup and 2009 Euro Beach football Cup. More recently, they were also runners-up in the 2009 FIFA Beach football World Cup that took place in November.

Other sports where the Swiss have been successful include athletics, (Werner Günthör and Markus Ryffel), fencing, (Marcel Fischer), cycling, (Fabian Cancellara), kickboxing (Andy Hug), whitewater slalom (Ronnie Dürrenmatt—canoe, Mathias Röthenmund—kayak), beach volleyball (Sascha Heyer, Markus Egger, Paul and Martin Laciga) and triathlon.

Motorsport racecourses and events were banned in Switzerland following the 1955 Le Mans disaster with exception to events such as Hillclimbing. On June 6, 2007 an amendment to lift the ban was passed by the lower house of the Swiss parliament.[7] The proposed law failed to pass the upper house, and was withdrawn in 2009 after being rejected twice.[8]

The country has produced successful racing drivers such as Clay Regazzoni, Jo Siffert and successful World Touring Car Championship driver Alain Menu. Switzerland also won the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in 2007-08 with driver Neel Jani. Swiss motorcycle racer Thomas Lüthi won the 2005 MotoGP World Championship in the 125cc category and Marcel Fässler in the World Endurance Championship.

High profile drivers from Formula One and World Rally Championship such as Michael Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sébastien Loeb and Sebastian Vettel all have a residence in Switzerland,[9] sometimes for tax purposes.[10][11]

Local sports[edit]

Traditional wrestling

Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or "Schwingen". It is an old tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some. Hornussen is another indigenous Swiss sport, which is like a cross between baseball and golf. Steinstossen is the Swiss variant of stone put, a competition in throwing a heavy stone. Practiced only among the alpine population since prehistoric times, it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century. It is also central to the Unspunnenfest, first held in 1805, with its symbol the 83.5 kg stone named Unspunnenstein.

Government[edit]

See: Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports

Events[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Sports in Switzerland at Wikimedia Commons