What the “bad boys” can teach us

The waiting’s over! It’s 2019 – and time for the triennial Eidgenössische – Federal Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Games Festival. The wrestling contenders will soon be donning their tough, baggy over-shorts and entering the sawdust ring. Swiss wrestling (Schwingen as it’s known in German) is a typically Helvetic tradition that observes age-old customs and rules. That said, there are many more reasons why Schwingen has become such an institution.

Schwing fever’s sure to erupt in the run-up to the Federal Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Games Festival which starts on 23 August. Swiss television will be broadcasting live around the clock during the three-day event in Zug, and tickets for the 56,000 seater arena are sold out as usual. Where does this enthusiasm – which grips all ages and walks of life – come from?

Wrestlers are fair and comradely

No arguments with the umpire, no time-wasting, no complaining: just fine displays of sportsmanship. Every bout ends with a sign of comradeship. The winner helps the loser up and wipes the sawdust off his back. The spectators are also good sports: the fans from the various camps indulge in banter, drink together, talk shop and cheer the competitors on. Everyone remains on friendly terms.

Humble and down-to-earth

Even the best wrestlers (a.k.a. die Bösen or “bad boys”) would rather be signing autographs for the fans or chatting with the spectators at the Eidgenössische than facing the cameras. Interviews between the bouts are taboo. As for the ultimate festival winner, there’s no big prize money: in keeping with tradition, he takes a bull home. One more thing: the outdoor wrestling arena is advertising-free.

Climate-neutral festival

This year’s event is aiming to be climate-neutral for the first time in its history: all the electricity used is from renewable sources, the CO2 generated is offset in its entirety, and even the sawdust for the rings is recycled.


We at Apostroph reckon that the Federal Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Games Festival finds the country presenting its best face. That’s why we’re proud to be supporting it as a sponsor. We’ve translated the event’s texts into French, and Key Account Manager Charlotte Nigg will be present throughout, organising ad-hoc and last-minute translations so that fans from French-speaking Switzerland can follow the news and results from Zug during the festival weekend. And in case you were wondering, Schwingen in French is la lutte suisse.

ESAF 2019 Zug

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