Fuchs Is Back To Lead The Swiss Team
After battling a painful injury for the past year, Markus Fuchs is healthy and ready for Athens, writes Birgit Popp.
This year’s Swiss Olympic team features a new generation of riders, but it’s their one veteran who’s among the favorites for an individual Olympic medal–Markus Fuchs.
Although it had appeared in March that Fuchs would have to end his career because of pain and inflammation in his hip, pelvis and groin, he didn’t give up. A torn abductor muscle in the CSI Geneva (Switzerland) in December 2003 started months of torture, but he said this spring, “It’s hard to imagine that I would stop riding, since this is the only thing I know professionally how to do.”
Finally, at the end of March, the physical therapy and the massage brought the intended improvement, and in the FEI World Cup Final at Milan (Italy) Fuchs, the 2001 World Cup Champion, rode Tinka’s Boy to third.
The list of successes is long for Fuchs, who runs his own stables in St. Josefen and loves to swim, jog and to read books. His individual breakthrough–which allowed him to top the World Rankings from mid-2003 until the beginning of 2004–came with Tinka’s Boy, a former ride of Great Britain’s Nick Skelton. Aboard the Dutch-bred stallion he not only won the World Cup Final, but was also individual and team silver medalist in the 1999 European Championships.
In the 2003 Europeans, the combination led the Swiss to the team bronze medal, and in the 2000 Sydney Olympics they earned team silver behind the Germans.
Fuchs and Tinka’s Boy are the only members remaining from the silver-medal team at the 2000 Olympics. And they showed they’re ready for Athens by defeating a star-studded field in the Grand Prix of Aachen (Germany) on July 18.
Steve Guerdat made his championship debut in last year’s European Championships while still a young rider. Steve, the son of former Swiss team rider Philippe Guerdat, who currently coaches the Spanish team, has made a rapid rise. At the 2003 European Championships he achieved one of only two double-clear rounds in the team competition and then scored two four-fault rounds in the individual final. Aboard Topic La Silla, whom he’d only been riding for five weeks at the time of the championships, he placed sixth individually as the best Swiss rider.
Guerdat, who’s worked at Jan Tops Stables in the Netherlands since last year, has now won team bronze medals in the European Championships as junior, young rider and senior.
The Dutch-bred mare Isovlas Orchid