Oliver Grob from Steinhausen, together with the Livio Wenger from Schenkon and Christian Oberbichler from Urdorf, have achieved something that no Swiss has done before: they have won a medal at the international championships - third place in the team sprint in Heerenveen (NL).
The medal didn’t simply fall in their laps, however, but had to be fought hard for up to the last metre. With the first split times showing the Swiss team in the sixth and fifth place respectively, Livio Wenger showed his leader qualities on the final lap and underlined once again that he belongs to the absolute world elite: he beat the Belarusians running in the same heat by a toe-length in the last few metres, and finally secured the well-deserved medal for Switzerland with a lead of three-hundredths of a second.
“We seized the opportunity that we had, and made Swiss speed-skating history. Congratulations to my two teammates. They set me up perfectly for the last round,” said a delighted Livio Wenger.
Oliver Grob, Livio Wenger and Christian Oberbichler (from the front) on the way to the medal.
Optimists within the Swiss team speculated about the possibility of a medal in the run-up to the European Championships: the team had been able to keep up with the world leaders in every competition during the World Cup races, and set a first marker with a third place in the World Cup races in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) at the beginning of December. And the team’s constant performance was ultimately rewarded with an outstanding second place in the overall World Cup of the current season. The attractive format of the team sprint, in which a runner of the team is always eliminated after a lap, has been a World Cup discipline for five years, but is not yet Olympic.
Livio Wenger also started in the individual races over 1500 metres and in the mass start, in the first of which he finished seventh, but was knocked down by a fallen competitor in the second.