Money, high status and a life in the spotlight. Being a famous, influential person is what most of us would like to be (or have dreamed of at some point in their life).
Talented like Johnny Depp, crazy like Lady Gaga or buff like Arnold Schwarzenegger. One thing they all have in common: They are rich and famous!
Most of these VIP’s are from the American continent or from the UK, but what does Switzerland have in store? Is there a Britney Spears walking around in this country? Or a Swiss version of Brad Pitt? Or even improved versions of them?
In a series of four posts, Newly Swissed is going to introduce you to Swiss celebrities. Starting off, meet the 5 most well known personas in the world of sports!
Probably one of the most successful athletes worldwide has to be Roger Federer. And guess what? He was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1981!
Raised by a South African mom and Swiss father, his talent on the tennis court started to shine through at the age of 8. Due to his outstanding skills, he won many prices as a youngster and eventually became the pride of Switzerland. This extreme tennis talent has won a stunning 67 titles so far and is ranked third worldwide according to the ATP World Tour!
Besides his successes in tennis, he has also initiated a foundation for disadvantaged children in South Africa and promotes sports for young people.
Did you know that Roger Federer became an official ambassador of UNICEF in 2006? And if that wasn’t enough, in 2007, Roger was listed in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”. Not bad!
Maybe not as talented with a tennis racket as Federer but unbeatable on two wheels, this racing machine on pedals is from Bern, Switzerland. His nickname “Spartacus” reveals to every non-cycling fan what a toned athlete he is once settled on his bike...
Did I mention that he is a four time World Time Trial champion?
Starting his career at the age of 12, Fabian developed himself as a specialist in time trials on the street. He literally knows when to “step up” and push his bike to the limits not only in this discipline, but also during normal tour races.
Raised by Italian parents, Fabian was actually a soccer player until he fell in love with cycling. Luckily, he decided to sit on his bike and become the man he now is, making the Swiss go crazy whenever he raises a prized medal above his head!
BONUS: He is feared so much by his competition that they once claimed he was using an electric bike to win his races. Now that’s some real fear for Spartacus!
What else can you expect from the Swiss to have one of the most successful ski jumpers in the world? Having the best facilities to train (eg. The Alps), Simon Ammann is yet another Swiss athlete born in 1981! Coming from a family of five, he mastered to out-jump his siblings by 238.5 m - with all but two skies under his feet!
His latest success was the infamous double medal jump at the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010. Adding these two metals to his career, Simon Ammann has won 62 medals since 2006 – while still going to school!
This guy has the coolest part time job ever!
Officially born in Slovakia, Martina Hingis also grew up in the canton of St. Gallen and has Swiss nationality. This professional tennis player was the #1 single female tennis player in 1997 and the #1 double tennis player a year later.
She started to play tennis at the age of 2 (!) and became professional at the age of 14.
Due to bad luck with injuries, this talent decided to retire from tennis at the age of 22 after she won 40 singles titles and 36 doubles titles. According to the magazine “Tennis”, Martina is nonetheless placed on spot #22 in its list of "40 Greatest Players of the Tennis Era". Nowadays, Martina is studying and enjoying her other hobby: Horse-back riding.
What a shame Switzerland has lost this incredible tennis talent!
Last but not least is the one person who has dominated sports news lately (but not because of his achievements as a sports man or because of a particularly buff body). This FIFA President is not an athlete like everyone else on our list, but an icon in the sport industry.
Born in the French speaking part of Switzerland in the canton of Valais, this man has been part of FIFA for 23 years! He started his career as a Technical Director, followed by General Secretary and leading to his current position as President.
Under his wings, FIFA made several changes to the game of soccer. Some of which he is now being accused of as being too conservative… One thing you would have never guessed is that he once acted as the General Secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation!
Quite an interesting career, huh?
Nowadays, Sepp Blatter is receiving some negative press for his conservative management style (so say the soccer fans), as well as his controversial decisions about the 2022 Soccer World Championship in Qatar.
So, did you like our choices, or did we omit someone important in Swiss sports?
Next in this series, we are going to introduce you to the 5 most well-known Swiss scientists...