Lillehammer 2016 star Stefanie Wetli: ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it’
After starring at the IIHF Women's U18 World Championship in January, the ice hockey star has taken the next step in her #YOGjourney to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Just two years ago, Stefanie Wetli was part of the Swiss ice hockey team that won bronze at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lillehammer 2016. Now, the 18-year-old is among the youngest players at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Here, she talks about her #YOGjourney from Lillehammer…
When you were competing at the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016, did you ever dream that you would be competing in PyeongChang just two years later?
“Yes, it was always a realistic goal for me and I hoped it would happen. I spoke with the head coach, Daniela Diaz, and she said it should be a goal of mine, so I just kept working hard every day and believed in myself. I knew it would be a huge opportunity and I am very proud to make it here.”
Did your experiences in Lillehammer help you prepare for PyeongChang?
“The crowds here have been so big, but Lillehammer helped me get used to that experience. That made it a little easier to come here, already knowing what it would be like, so it wasn’t like this was my first big tournament. That definitely helped. The other thing is just being used to everything around the Olympic Games – it’s more or less the same as in Lillehammer, although here it is on a bigger scale.”
What are your memories of Lillehammer 2016?
“I have very positive memories of Lillehammer. We had the chance to watch lots of different sports, whereas here in PyeongChang we have been more focused on our matches.”
What have been some of your favourite experiences in PyeongChang?
“Here, you see so many stars walking around – guys who have won so many medals. We went out for dinner with Jenny Perret and Martin Rios, who won silver in the mixed doubles curling, and when we were at the House of Switzerland we also got to meet [cross-country skier] Dario Cologna with his gold medal. Those have definitely been the highlights for me.”
What would be your message to Swiss people ahead of the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020?
“People should definitely go to watch the events and cheer for the athletes! I think the YOG will be very successful and they will have lots of opportunities to see future Olympic athletes.”
And what advice would you give to the athletes competing at Lausanne 2020 who want to follow in your footsteps and make it to the Olympic Games?
“Just believe in that goal. Every day, step by step, work hard towards your target. If you believe it, you can achieve it. I am proof of that.”