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How an interest turned into passion

Today, the Swiss “O Week 2023 came to an end in sunny weather with “The Enjoyable stage” in the Flimser forest on a carpet-like area according to the description. After two stages that could not be counted, comparable results were now achieved again. It was in fact in an area where the first orienteering competitions took place as early as 1960. The young sport quickly gained popularity, and, after the creation of orienteering clubs, they freed themselves more and more from the corset of military patrol runs.

Promotion of young talent in today’s sense was still unknown. Parents or older orienteering fans explained the tricks of map and compass and hoped to get youngsters interested in this sport. Teachers also occasionally recognized an orienteering interest or talent in pupils.

A primary teacher from Ilanz told a bright sixth grader that his grades in arithmetic and geometry were so good and that he showed great prerequisites for the sport of orienteering. The student agreed and took part in his first orienteering runs. As time passed, the former novice orienteer often travelled throughout Switzerland and became increasingly enthusiastic about the chosen sport. Thus, the twenty-five-year-old helped to update existing maps for a national orienteering event in the Flimser forest. As is common in clubs, new tasks were constantly added which ultimately led to various functions in the Swiss and international orienteering federations. Ultimately, the former student from Ilanz eventually accepted the task to become the future OC-president of the Swiss O Week!

Therefore, after successful stations in Gstaad, Arosa and now Flims, the above-mentioned “passion” perfectly fits Marcel Schiess. Without it, another presidential engagement for the Swiss O Week 2026 in Morgins would hardly have been conceivable.

At the end of an event for which more than 4’000 orienteering enthusiasts from 39 countries have registered, a reference to the regional language is also appropriate. Romansh is the fourth official language of Switzerland in which the past few days could be describes as follows:

„D’organisar la Swiss O Week 2023 gest suenter il campiunadi mundial da cuorsa d’orientaziun ei stau ina gronda sfida. Jeu sperel che tuts tegnien en buna regurdientscha las concurrenzas a Flem Laax e ch’els retuornien bein e rinforzai a casa“.

In English: „Organizing the Swiss O Week 2023 after the World Orienteering Championships was a major challenge for everyone involved. May everyone fondly remember the competitions in Flims Laax and have a safe journey home”.

Text: Oskar Schiess (translated by Béatrice Zurcher)

Photos: Urban Engel