People - 19.07.2012 - 00:00 

Goal: Olympic diploma

After the Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing, HSG student Richard Stauffacher will compete in London this summer. The windsurfer has ambitions in sports and in his studies.


19 July 2012. The London Olympic Summer Games start on 27 July 2012. One of the participating athletes will be HSG student and windsurfer Richard Stauffacher. At present, he is in the middle of his preparations for the regattas. He has been training for this large-scale event for a year. In April 2012, he qualified for the Games at the last opportunity.

Separation of studies and top-class sports
The ambitious sportsman has always made use of breaks in his studies in order to prepare optimally for his competitions. He did so in the past year. “I’m studying Accounting and Finance. In the autumn I’ll attend a block seminar. Actually I should be writing my Master’s thesis on Contingent Convertible Bonds. But at the moment, windsurfing is my top priority,” says Stauffacher. In May he trained in England for a month. After a short regeneration period in Switzerland, Stauffacher again prepared for the races for a month.

He separates top-class sports and his studies in order to concentrate on one thing at a time. Nonetheless he can see a nexus between training and learning: “If you want to get anywhere in sports, you have to be as ambitious as when you study. There’s a goal behind both things.” The Olympic Games, in particular, are something special for him. Thus Stauffacher compares them with studying, where you have to sit an exam at the end. “After a long period of preparation, you can only have one go at competing in a race or sitting an examination.”

At the Olympic Games for the third time
In 2004 Stauffacher came 24th in Athens. In Beijing in 2008, he ended up in 14th place. This year, his third time, he is looking forward to the sensational surfing area off South England’s Weymouth, the venue for the Olympic sailing competitions. His ambitious goal: “I want to take part in the medal race and bring home an Olympic diploma.” The final rehearsal in Weymouth in June was a success: he finished the regatta in 8th place.

After the Olympic Games, Richard Stauffacher will focus totally on his Master’s thesis. Subsequently, he wants to get a foothold in professional life. Linking work with his sport is something that Stauffacher considers to be difficult. The Swiss Sailing Association would be too small for that.

On the surfboard at seven years of age
Richard Stauffacher got acquainted with windsurfing through his parents, and he stood on a board for the first time when he was seven years old. At twelve years of age, he participated in his first regatta. Earlier on, he was fascinated by the speed that can be achieved with a surfboard. Today, he is more attracted to challenges in competitions. Stauffacher will be competing in the RS:X class.

Windsurfing at the Olympic Games
Windsurfing is part of sailing and has been an Olympic discipline for men since 1984 and for women since 1992. It occupies a special position in that all surfers compete with exactly the same equipment. The discipline that is surfed is racing, in which different defined points have to be passed as quickly as possible. 38 participants will compete in England, one per nation. The top ten will surf in the medal race.

Photo: Juerg Kaufmann / Swiss Sailing Team

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