Marlen Reusser on the cancellation of the Olympics: Health is the most important thing

Team Bigla 2019
Team Bigla 2019

Blick Sport recently interviewed Marlen Reusser to find out about her road to professional cycling, and what she thinks of the cancellation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Here it is, our English-speaking readers.

Marlen Reusser has put her doctor’s coat aside to pursue her Olympic Dream. Yet, she can still live with the recent cancellation of the games.

After all, it takes a certain type of character to quit a secure job at the age of 27 to become a professional sportswoman. Reusser also moved back with her parents at the age of 27 to help pursue this dream, the 2020 Olympics. A goal that now cannot be realised, due to the Corona virus crisis and the resulting cancellation of the Olympics.

Is she struggling to come to terms with this decision? “No,” she clarifies straight away. “I don’t understand how athletes are complaining now. Health is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter if competitions are cancelled.”

But Reusser could have been one of Switzerland’s medal candidates in Tokyo. It would have been the high point of an extraordinary career. She grew up on a farm in Hindelbank, and only joined a local cycling club at the age of 22. At 25, she obtained her first racing licence and became the Swiss time trial champion on her first attempt in 2017.

Only one year later, everything almost came to an end, after she crashed heavily during a race. Her injuries were serious. She fractured her fifth lumbar vertebra as well as her pelvis, and, suffering symptoms of paralysis, was no longer able to feel her feet. “Fortunately, I didn’t experience this too badly”, she says. “I found relief from the pain through medication.” And only afterwards did I begin to think, “that could have actually turned out much worse.”

At that time, Reusser is still an amateur athlete and worked part-time as an assistant doctor. In February 2019, she left her job and became fully committed to cycling. “To be able to keep up with the world’s top athletes, this was a necessary step. You couldn’t do both at the same time.” Did it take courage to make such a decision? “No! If it didn’t work out, I think I’d have been able to land a good job again.”

Reusser seems to be at peace with herself and the cancellation of the Olympics hasn’t seemed to throw her off course.

Photo credit: Blick Sport. The article from Blick Sport is available for German-speaking readers here.