SPORT - INTERVIEW
Thursday, October 04, 2018
SPORT - INTERVIEW
by Meryem Aksoy
Dominique Gisin struggled with different injuries throughout her career, but she successfully overcame each one and performed a stronger comeback. She has won three World Cup races and also took place on the podium in many Super-G and Downhill races. In the Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014, she won the Downhill Olympic Gold Medal and after her brilliant career, she decided to announce her retirement. But since then she has never been away from sports and still she is working to improve the awareness about the importance of sport for the young generation. And she is taking part in different social responsibility projects. I talked to Dominique Gisin about her career and the importance of individual sponsorship in winter sports.
Dominique, you have been skiing since you were one and a half years old. How did you start skiing? Who or what encouraged you?
I started skiing with my family. My parents were madly in love with this sport and they passed the passion on.
When did you decide to be a professional skier? Could you tell us about your skiing career?
I think when I was about 11 years old I won my first national race. That’s when I realised I could be really good, like as good as the skiers on TV one day maybe. It took a while though as I suffered five knee surgeries already before entering the World Cup. My whole career was a struggle between injuries and incredible comebacks. I always saw the light at the end of the tunnel, but whenever I thought now I’ll make it for real, there was another injury coming my way. It was that much more special that I ended up with an Olympic Gold medal in the end.
I would like to learn more about your life, could you tell us about yourself?
I’m born and grown up in the Swiss Alps, love the mountains, snow, winter, and everything related to it. I’m easy to get excited, very emotional but I also have a very rational side and just finished my physics bachelor at the ETH Zurich.
Many years of work, success at 1:41.57. What did you feel when you were at the top of the Olympic downhill podium in Sochi 2014?
It was pure joy.
You have won a lot of national and international championships in your career. Could you tell us about your achievements?
I’ve won three world cup races and had more podiums in Super-G and Downhill. My biggest success was the Olympic Gold Medal in the Sochi Downhill 2014.
Dominique, how did your life change after your retirement decision in 2015?
It changed substantially. I started to study, missed skiing, especially the body movement and traveling a lot. I still got to do many exciting things though, I did my instrumental flight license and followed my sister on the circuit to pass on my experience. As an ambassador for the Swiss Red Cross, I traveled to amazing places and got to know how blessed we live here in Switzerland.
What does skiing means for you?
It’s my life. I love nothing more.
What are the basic problems that skiers have been living during their skiing career?
Injuries. 33% of the athletes get injured every year.
How could skiers solve these problems? What is the permanent solution?
Tough question. Unfortunately, there is no real solution. There are many measures to improve the situation but so far no solution. I guess a good medical environment is very crucial, therefore.
What is the best way to attract sponsors' attention?
What contributions do sponsor brands provide skiers?
It depends on the contract. Most times it’s a mix between services, goods, and finances.
What do sponsors expect and demand from skiers?
To represent them in the best possible way. Presence days at events and shootings.
You are a brand ambassador for Breitling and SIGA. How many different platforms did you represent your sponsors throughout the year? How does your collaboration continue after your retirement?
It depends on the need and situation. As these are longtime partnerships it’s great collaborations and we come up with new ideas every year.
Besides being of commercial brands' ambassador, you are supporting some charities for a long time. Could you briefly tell us about them?
The Swiss Red Cross is a charity organization steeped in history, which engages in various projects all over Switzerland as well as worldwide. As a member and ambassador of the Swiss Red Cross, I get involved with people in need.
I support the project “fit4future”, an initiative of the Cleven foundation, since the very beginning of my sports career. Working with children is a wonderful task. I consider teaching them about movement and nutrition as an extremely valuable contribution for the future.
The live your dream foundation: With this project, Carlo Schmid, who flew around the world with his own small airplane, supports our youth and their dreams.
Passion Schneesport - a great foundation supporting Swiss snow sports talents.
143 section central Switzerland – reachable 24/7 if in need of someone to talk to, which - in my opinion - is invaluable.
What are the main factors that affect the beginning and continuity of successful sponsorship collaboration?
Good fits in the company's values and your own values. Fair and open communication. Outstanding Performance.
Do you have any advice for skiers who want to pursue a professional career?
Keep the fire for the sport alive.
What do you think about social media? How did it affect the popularity of skiing?
It’s a great possibility to get in touch with your fan base. I think the picture of a professional athlete got more pronounced through the possibility to share content without a media filter.
How can our readers follow you?
I’m on Twitter (@dominiquegisin), Instagram (@dominiquegisin), and Facebook (@DominiqueGisin)
What is next for you?
I will start my new job as CEO of the Swiss Sport Support on the 1st of October. I’m looking forward to this new task and possibility.
Thank you Dominique for this enjoyable interview and congratulations for your new job.