January 08, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
This is his first time at the FISU World University Games and he wants to enjoy the moment. “But of course, aside from the pleasure of being there, I remain a competitor and hope to make it to the final,” says Thibault Métraux with a wink.
With over 100 speed skaters registered to compete at the FISU World University Games in Lake Placid 2023, the Swiss short and long track speed skating champion will not have an easy ride.
Since switching from ice hockey to speed skating five years ago, he has been confident in his progress.
“If I continue at the same pace, I can aim for a good level, but it’s not guaranteed, only the future will tell,” he nuances.
At just 20 years old, he has plenty of time to improve further and will continue to qualify for the winter edition of the 2025 FISU World University Games in Turin.
“After playing ice hockey for over 8 years, I was happy to switch to an individual sport,” adds Thibault.
However, it is not an obvious choice as short track speed skating is relatively uncommon in Switzerland. It really didn’t take off until six years ago in Lausanne with the idea of ??the Swiss participating in the 2020 Youth Olympic Games held in the city. Thibault was one of them.
“Since then, we have been trying to promote speed skating and make it gain visibility and publicity, but it is difficult in a country where ice hockey and figure skating still dominate ice sports,” he admits.
Thibault Métraux studies sports science and geography at the University of Lausanne. At the end of his career as a top athlete, he wants to become a sports coach or teacher.
Although he didn’t like school as a child, he admits that studying – not working – was the right decision.
“It’s so much easier because I have more time to train and compete,” he says. “However, successfully managing a dual career requires high organizational skills, especially in terms of time management. You also need to be able to fully transition from school mode to training mode.”
He strongly recommends his colleagues who are not elite athletes to always include a minimum of exercise in their daily habits. “I think it’s important to keep your mind fresh. A good balance between mental and physical effort is a recipe for success.”
A total of 1,443 athletes are registered to compete in the FISU World University Games in Lake Placid 2023 from January 12 to 22.