Living in Switzerland: 3 sports you´ve never heard of

We are very sporty family and eagerly watch sports news and live broadcasts where the Czech sportsmen are fighting for medals. But it was only when we began to live in Switzerland, suddenly it seemed to us that the Czech representatives have no other opponents than those from Switzerland. Whether it be hockey, tennis, floorball, handball, judo or even curling.

But I dare say, there are at least three sports, in which the Czechs won´t encounter with the Swiss. And those sports are Schwingen,  Hornussen and Steinstossen (Stone put). That you’ve never heard of them? Neither have I before moving to Switzerland!


I´ve already written about Schwingen here on the blog, but let’s briefly recall what it actually is.
According to Wikipedia, it is a traditional sport, which is typical for the German-speaking pre-alpine parts of Switzerland and it´s sometimes called “Alpine wrestling” or “Swiss wrestling”. It resembles the Graeco-Roman wrestling, but here the opponents are wearing special breeches (made of jute) with belts, that are used for taking holds. They fight in a circular ring with a diameter of 12 meters, which is strewn with sawdust. The aim is to put the opponent with special grips (which resemble judo) on his blades and while still holding him at least with one hand on the belt of his trousers. Unlike judo and other martial arts, the athletes are not divided into weight categories. Usually, however, are “Schwingers” very well sturdy men at least 180 cm tall and weighing around 100 kilos.

The winners of big tournaments, which are held every three years (the last was in August 2016 in Estavayer-le-Lac), are very popular. The last winner´s name of Schwingfest (ie. Schwingerkönig) is Matthias Glarner.



And here he is – looking much better in the newspaper´s picture 🙂

Recently, he has even appeared in the ad of the Swiss mobile services provider (that is, I think, also the proof of his popularity):



The second traditional sport is the Hornussen. This is, for a change, called the “farmer’s golf”. Maybe because it is typical for the Swiss countryside (especially in German-speaking Switzerland). In addition to golf, Hornussen has also elements of tennis and baseball – maybe because they hit something and wooden bats (so rather flappers) are used. The aim is to hit the rubber puck (called Hornuss, ie. hornets – according to sound that gives the shot) in a right way, so that fly as far as possible without being hit by the opponent team in the field. Watch the videos, these are pretty self-explanatory. To me, it is rather a mystery how they players manage not to hit themselves with the long rod (I don´t know how it is called) after shot.
The pitch is almost in every village around here – so this is more like the tee and then a large meadow, where the opponents with wooden bats are waiting. That it is probably dangerous to life if a man is hit by a rubber puck, it´s evidenced by the fact that during every match, barriers are pulled down via the nearest road and passing is prohibited. That may be very upsetting, when you’re finishing your ten kilometers run and the last half kilometer in front of your house you have to make involuntary “detour”. But that’s probably my fault, I should more look at the schedule of matches, not to be surprised by this situation anymore.

Steinstossen – Stone put

When I first heard about this discipline, I found it totally crazy and weird at the same time.
But a stone put has its origins in prehistory when the hunters used stones as weapons. In Switzerland, the first mention of competing in this discipline emerged in the 13th century. The stones of various weights and shapes are thrown with or without a start-up, one-handed or two-handed. Today competitions take place all over Switzerland and even women participate in this discipline! *
So, do you like typical Swiss sports? Would you like to try them sometime? Or maybe you know any other interesting/weird/funny sport discipline? Tell me in the comments!
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*) Source:
Categories: Life, Switzerland
Living abroad: 5 ways how to learn the language
Skiing with kids: Marbachegg


Hana Hurábová

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