RIO 2016


In pictures: final day success takes Swiss to seven medals

Switzerland's Nino Schurter struck Olympic gold at his third attempt in the men's mountain bike competition on the final day of events in Rio.

In pictures: final day success takes Swiss to seven medals
Nino Schurter wins Switzerland's third gold of Rio 2016. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

World champion Schurter, who was third in Beijing and second in London, finally took the Olympic top spot ahead of 2012 champion Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic and Spanish rider Carlos Coloma in bronze position.

“For me it was the perfect course,” the jubilant cyclist told 20 Minutes after the race.

“I've worked hard for four years. Everything went marvellously after a good start.”

Schurter carried the Swiss flag at the closing ceremony of the Rio Games on Sunday night heading up a team that claimed seven medals including three golds, putting them 24th in the medal table.

That's nine places higher than London 2012 and in Beijing 2008, when it finished 33rd on both occasions.

It was also a successful Games for the House of Switzerland, the promotional organization that attends every Olympics.

Over 500,000 people visited the House of Switzerland in Rio during the fortnight, eating 11,000 portions of cheese, 15,000 sausages, two tons of potatoes and 1,500 bottles of Swiss wine (primarily Chasselas), the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement.

Nicolas Bideau, who heads up the organization, said he had never seen it so popular.

“In becoming one of the places to be in Rio during the Olympic Games we were able to promote not only the quality of our athletes but also the strength of our products and values, all in a cool atmosphere.

“In terms of sport as well as marketing, it was mission accomplished for Switzerland!”
The House of Switzerland will remain open throughout the Paralympics for the first time.  

See all Switzerland's Rio medallists in our gallery:

In pictures: Switzerland's medal success at Rio 2016

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IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

Hundreds of runners braved a lung-busting ascent into the Alps in Switzerland's Glacier 3000 Run on Saturday, albeit on a shortened course due to summer heatwaves melting the ice.

IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

The event’s 14th edition was back without limitations after being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and run in 2021 with restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

The race is normally run over 26.2 kilometres but was contested on a slightly modified 25.2km course this year due to the glacier melting, with the last pass over its surface shortened.

Runners make their way under a ski lift  on the glacier run in Switzerland

Runners make their way under a ski lift during the last kilometres of the Glacier 3000 run. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

“The accelerated melting of the top layer of the glacier has created a camber and a soft layer which the runner sinks into,” said race director Oliver Hermann.

“Rather than intervening to flatten the track, we preferred to deviate the course.”

Runners on last stretch of Switzerland's glacier run

On the final stretch of this year’s shortened course. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

The finish line is 1,886 metres higher than the start, at nearly 3,000 metres up in the mountains by the Scex Rouge peak.

READ ALSO: Heatwaves close off classic Swiss and Italian Alpine hiking routes

The route begins in the jet-set ski resort town of Gstaad, at 1,050 metres above sea level.

It passes through forests, green mountain pastures before heading into rocky lunar-like landscapes and taking in the Tsanfleuron Glacier.

The course follows the Saane river upstream for 15 km before climbing up 1,800 metres over the remaining 10 km to the finish line — at an altitude of 2,936 metres.

A couple hold their hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets

A couple hold hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets, where the Glacier 3000 Run took place on August 6th. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

Some 311 men and 98 women completed the individual course, while 50 two-person teams also took part.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland’s glaciers are melting faster than usual this summer

The first man to finish was Kenyan competitor Geoffrey Ndungu in two hours and 17 minutes. He had finished in second place last year.

He was followed by compatriot Abraham Ebenyo Ekwam in 2:21 and then Switzerland’s Jonathan Schmid in 2:23.

Victoria Kreuzer was the first woman to finish, in 2:46, ahead of Nicole Schindler and Pascale Rebsamen — a Swiss clean sweep.