Swiss Middle Distance Star Has Been Named
2001 was his year. André Bucher won everything there was to be won: a gold medal at the World Championships in Edmonton in the 800 meters, his share of the Golden League Jackpot, the overall victory in the Grand Prix, Swiss Sportsman of the Year, European Athlete of the Year, an improvement in his best time from 1:42.92 to 1:42.55 minutes in Zurich – the organisers of the 18th European Championships in Athletics are all the prouder that they have been able to win the 25-year old Swiss as an ambassador for the highlight of the 2002 season in Munich.
Much more important for him is to make optimum use of his talent and his potential steeled by much hard work. André Bucher has already won this year in Ghent, Birmingham and Liévin, defeating the former world champion, Wilson Kipketer from Denmark and Hezekiel Sepeng, the Olympic silver medallist in 1996. Incidentally he improved the Swiss indoor record. Special attention was paid in winter training to coordination and speed. André in fact comes from the long distances, he used to run the 10 000 meters and also took part in the world cross-country championships.
There were only two occasions in the whole of last year when André Bucher did not stand on the victory podium at important meetings. The two events were the indoor world championships in Lisbon and the van Damme Memorial race in Brussels. "There I learned that the others are also wide awake and I have to stay with it", he said at the end of the season. Amongst other things, it is his down-to earth attitude which makes the Swiss so likeable.
André Bucher is already regarded as a hot favourite for the 800 meters title at the 2002 European Championships. As an international ambassador for the championships in the Bavarian state capital, the top runner from Beromünster makes the to-date active trio into a quartet: previously Great Britain's' triple jump icon, Jonathan Edwards, the Czech 9 000 point decathlete Romas Sebrle and Vebjörn Rodal, Norway's 800 m Olympic Champion 1996 in Atlanta, had made themselves available as ambassadors to promote interest in their countries in the European Championships.
There are seven national representatives in the European Championships ambassador group: Heike Drechsler, Sina Schielke, Oliver-Sven Buder, Danny Ecker, Lars Riedel, Ingo Schulz and Florian Schwarthoff.