With the retirement of Switzerland’s four top gymnasts, Pablo Braegger, Oliver Hegi, Giulia Steingruber and Ilaria Kaeslin, there was an opportunity for four other gymnasts to compete at the Swiss Cup for the first time. Team Switzerland 2 consisted of 23-year-old Noe Seifert and 16-year-old Lena Bickel. Hailing from the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, Lena was part of the Swiss junior team at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow and was making her senior international debut at the Swiss Cup. Noe and Lena had an excellent competition, finishing fourth and showing impressive routines. We spent a few minutes with Lena after the competition and asked how it felt to be out there in front of a home crowd.
“It was amazing! I never thought I was gonna do something like that. I wasn’t trusting myself at all but things turned out well so I’m really proud of myself.”
Lena’s standout routine was beam, where she hit her unusual mount and showed remarkable composure throughout. How did she manage to stay calm under pressure?
“I have no idea because actually I only did, like, five good routines in the last four weeks, so it was kinda…I don’t know…I knew I could do a great routine but I wasn’t trusting myself, so when I saw that the first element was good, the second, the third… I was thinking ‘OK, I know I can do it til the end’…and I did it!”
With the retirement of Switzerland’s top two female gymnasts, Giulia Steingruber and Ilaria Kaeslin, the door is now wide open for a new generation of gymnasts to shine.
“I feel like now we have an opportunity to show off what we can do. I don’t feel like I’m taking the place of Giulia or Ilaria. I do what I love to do and if results will come in the future, that would be great. I’m just gonna stay healthy and see what I can do.”
Did Giulia and Ilaria inspire her as a young gymnast?
“Yeah. Ilaria was in the same gym as me since I was little, so she was always there and Giulia also, she was always an inspiration for me.”
Finally, we asked Lena what her plans were for the near future.
“Tomorrow rest, and then back in the gym to try new skills and try to upgrade my routines!”