Swiss Watching trivia, No 21: Schwingen

August 21, 2010, 5 Comments


Imagine two men, each weighing 150kg, grappling to throw the other to the ground. It might sound like heavyweight karate but it’s actually Schwingen, the most traditional Swiss sport. These burly men, who are cheesemakers or carpenters in the real world, wear what look like giant hessian nappies over their clothes and wrestle outdoors in a sawdust ring.

Each tries to get the other man’s back or shoulders to touch the ground by throwing him into the dust. It’s absurdly popular in Switzerland, particularly this weekend when it’s part of the Eidgenossisches Schwing- und Älplerfest. This three-yearly event, a sort of Swiss Highland Games, attracts thousands of spectators and live TV. By tomorrow evening one man will be crowned King of the Schwingers, winning a laurel wreath and a prize bull (this year called Arnold). The big question is, will Jörg Abderhalden be crowned king for the fourth time? So let the alphorns sound, the flags be tossed – and the games begin.

5 Comments on "Swiss Watching trivia, No 21: Schwingen"

  1. Janie Sunday August 22nd, 2010 at 02:09 AM · Reply

    That looks dangerous! How many men have gotten hurt doing that?

    • swisswatching Sunday August 22nd, 2010 at 08:25 AM · Reply

      some I guess, Janie, but it’s no worse than any other contact sport like American Football, rugby or WWF

  2. Katharina Monday August 23rd, 2010 at 08:06 PM · Reply

    The difference between Schwingen and American Football is the commercial break.

    WWE (not WWF, as was settled in trademark dispute with the World Wildlife Fund) is not a sport. it is a show.

    • swisswatching Monday August 23rd, 2010 at 08:20 PM · Reply

      ads for sure – and the fact that Schwingers are real men with real jobs (this year’s winner is a butcher) rather than overpaid prima donnas who have to wear body armour to play their game

      • Katharina Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 12:03 AM · Reply

        “real men vs. overpaid prima donnas”… hmmm. there is a man in bern by the alias of max who claims he is the only real man left on that part of the world. the rst allegedly was gender mainstreamed into some other species by ‘them feminists’..dunno.

        Jesse Ventura (one of those primadonna wrestlers) became governor of Minnessota as an independent candidate and did a rather good job.

        he is one of the few truly independent politicians in my country now and might have a good shot at becoming congressman. if they can pull enough money together, he might have a shot at the presidency, there are enough voters out there who are tired of the same old lamo game between the dems and the reps.

        but i don’t know squat about men myself. really.

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