Elisa Gasparin

All good things come in threes!
Elisa Gasparin
Elisa Gasparin
My story

My story

Having grown up in the Engadin mountains, it was quite natural for me as a child to try different sports. From early childhood I was skiing, doing gymnastics, horseback riding, dancing and loved being outdoors. Besides sports, I played the piano too. During primary school I competed in gymnastics and cross-country skiing, all just for fun. Back then my athletic ambitions were close to zero. It was just a pleasure for me to be active and meet with friends during the weekends. The competition was not so important to me and I used to finish low in the rankings.

I started to take it more seriously when I competed in my first Swiss championship in cross-country skiing. My father told me that I would be on the podium and when I finished I felt great. So when the leaderboard was up I started looking for my name at the top, but I didn‘t find it, so I started looking again and again with no success. Finally, I went through the whole list and found Elisa Gasparin third from the bottom! My parents supported me as much as possible, but never pushed me.

As I grew older I had to limit the number of my hobbies, and at the age of 13 I discovered biathlon. I quickly realized that this was my passion. After graduating I had a tough decision whether I wanted to be a top athlete or to devote my time to another profession. I decided on sport and was supported by the Commercial School Academia Engiadina. This enabled me to complete a three year course in four years. It also allowed me to train more and participate in international competitions such as the Junior World Championships and IBU Cups.

I made my World Cup debut in Oslo in 2010, finishing in 64th place while still a junior. Year after year I became stronger, always by the side of Selina who is my greatest role model. In 2012 a historic moment came for me and my family when I competed in the Swiss women's relay in the World Cup together with my sisters Selina and Aita – it was the first time in the history of our sport that three sisters competed in the same race. This was a very defining and emotional moment of my career.

With ever improving physical shape, I qualified for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and, to great surprise, I finished in 8th place. This was the first Olympic Diploma for Switzerland in biathlon!

Elisa Gasparin
Elisa Gasparin

Biathlon is a tough sport, physically there is a fine line between being fit and overtrained. And in 2015 I unfortunatelyI had to learn the downside of being an athlete, as I had no choice but to take a break due to physical stress, even before the season began. It made me hope to come back for the 2016 World Cup in Oslo, but I was so weak that I was still unable to compete that February. After a long recovery, I finally resumed training. We are used to training twice a day, but at that time I was only able to do 20 minutes of exercise every other day! But step by step, with a lot of patience, I fought back into the World Cup and achieved two Olympic diplomas in Pyeongchang in 2018, which was a great relief for me and the team!

Personal note

As a top athlete you are still also a normal person with normal hobbies. Although you do have to give up a lot as you cannot do things like go to concerts or travel whenever you want to and when training and competing you are often without your friends and family. But when you experience participating and succeding in the Olympic Games or World Cup, it is a privilege and makes you hungry for more. Nevertheless, I also enjoy my free time, in which I meet with friends, travel and indulge in my passion for climbing. Climbing is a great sport for the balance of my mind. I am in nature and when I am on the wall I forget everything around me and treasure the moment! Nowadays I think it is important to be outdoors for me preferably in the mountains, on ski tours or just climbing, without a mobile phone and day to day stress in order to clear my thoughts.