A bit less than one year before the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 get underway, we take a look at the inspiring story of Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud, a member of the organising committee’s athletes’ council.
Aged 18 years and 9 days, Gremaud became the youngest medallist in Olympic freestyle skiing history when she claimed silver in the slopestyle, behind her compatriot Sarah Höfflin, at PyeongChang 2018.
The young champion from La Roche (in the canton of Fribourg), who describes herself as having “always been a daredevil”, was virtually born on skis, practising an array of tricks and jumps from a very early age – night and day – wherever she could, including in her garden at home. Her precocious talent was spotted while she was studying sport in Engelberg and, at the age of 16, she was selected to compete for Switzerland at the YOG Lillehammer 2016, where she finished seventh in the slopestyle.
With support from Olympic Solidarity, Gremaud clinched gold in the big air event at the X Games in Norway in March 2017, but her progress was halted by a cruciate ligament tear in her knee. Her injury required an extensive recovery period. “Despite all of this, I never lost hope, and surrounded by an excellent team, we gave everything to put m eback on my feet quickly and in the best capacity,” she explains.
Gremaud was welcomed back from PyeongChang as a hero by the residents of La Roche. She is currently one of the protagonists in the World Cup in slopestyle and big air, and is also fully involved in the preparations for the Lausanne YOG, as a member of the Athletes’ Council. “I feel lucky to be able to draw from my personal experience to make the next edition of the Youth Olympic Games even better,” she said.
Photo: ©Keystone/Gian Ehrenzeller