January 22, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
Shaline Rüegger is a 23-year-old student-athlete from Switzerland. Her love for figure skating dates back to when she was four, thanks to her older sister Xenia who inspired her to give it a try.
“My sister was the one who wanted to figure skate when we were kids,” she recalls. “I watched her and the coach asked me if I wanted to do it too, and I didn’t hesitate.”
The younger Rüegger has been doing this for 19 years.
“That’s a lot of time for one sport,” she said, admitting that she thought about retiring a few years ago due to an injury.
Her choreographer, Cornelia Leroy, with whom she has been working since the beginning, gave her the idea of ??trying a new discipline.
“I know you’re thinking about retiring,” recalls the coach who told her at the time. “But maybe short track speed skating would be something you would enjoy.”
She didn’t have to think long about it.
And now, at the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid, she represented her country in both disciplines.
“How cool it would be to end one career and start another at this major event. Swiss [University Sports] The Federation stood behind me and many people worked hard to make it happen.
“Since my racing wasn’t the best at Lake Placid, the support of my parents and sister means a lot to me,” she added, explaining that her family flew all the way from Switzerland to cheer her on.
Of the family’s approach to teamwork, her father Frederick said: “I like to think we’re pretty open-minded and receptive to things. So, if you’re able to make friends with most people, even if you’re a competitor, and if you can see what people do a little differently than you, it’s always an opportunity to learn and coexist. I think that makes us a family.”
“You have to think a little earlier, what will happen in two or three years, when she’s a little older,” added her mother, Claudia. “Figure skating is a sport that takes its toll on women, they have to be really young. Neither of us came up with the idea of ??switching to speed skating. It’s a bit of a surprise for us too.”
Short track isn’t the only new discipline Shaline has in mind.
“I am definitely thinking of doing a long track in the near future. I actually raced in the summer, but it wasn’t good. It was after a week of training – the youngest member of the Rüegger family laughed.
Screenplay: Miha Trošt and Christopher Benitez Cuartas, FISU Young Reporters
Main photo: Swiss University Sports