The On Athletes

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Nicola Spirig, Olympic Triathlon Champion

Who can forget Nicola Spirig’s dramatically close victory over Lisa Nordén in the women’s triathlon at last year’s London Olympics? This ambitious and multi-talented athlete from Winkel (near Zurich) has been an ambassador of Swiss endurance sports ever since. And she’s just switched exclusively to On running shoes.

Nicola Spirig never does things by halves. Not just at the Olympics, but in her daily life, too. Whatever she takes on – from intensive training sessions to guest presentations and media photo shoots – she gives it her all. She has high expectations as well: not just of herself, but of everyone involved. So it’s hardly surprising that “Be the best you can be” has long been her motto.Nicola’s ambitious approach has proved highly fruitful. And it’s not just in the triathlon that she’s achieved her success. Throughout her 2012 Olympics preparations, she also found the time to finish her legal studies – and earn a magna cum laude into the bargain. She has no plans to practise law for the present, though, preferring to focus fully on her sporting career.

That career started early in Nicola’s life. The youngest of three children, she grew up in a highly sporting family. Her grandfather, uncle and parents were all physical education teachers. She started running at the age of seven, and took part in her first triathlon at ten. She came second. And from there her career really took off.     

For all her drive and ambition, Nicola does allow herself the odd sinful indulgence. “I love chocolate!” she confesses. “I ate a whole bar of Swiss chocolate and a banana for breakfast before the Olympic race.” But she doesn’t drink coffee, she adds.

Nicola is clearly a multi-sports athlete: in addition to the triathlon, she’s keen on ski touring, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, alpine tours and kayaking, preferably combined with travel. “I’d never want to leave Switzerland, though,” adds this down-to-earth individual. 

Nicola has always been very family-minded, too. And a lot has happened in her private life since her London victory. She married her partner, fellow triathlete Reto Hug. And this spring she gave birth to their son Yannis. So how hard is it to deliver a top performance as an athlete and a mother? Pretty easy, it seems, for this calm and almost diffident woman. Nicola has both well under control. And after a brief “baby break”, she’s back in shape, and putting a special emphasis on her running right now.

Her next major goals? The 2014 European Athletics Championships, which will be held in Zurich, and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Nicola is determined to represent Switzerland to the best of her abilities. And she’ll be competing in all her future events with the shoes of her choice: Ons.

“I just wore them once and became a total fan!” she recalls. "They suit me perfectly, and they’re just what I need. I’ll be wearing them in my training and in all my competitive events."

You can feel that On establishes innovations with athletes for athletes. As a top athlete myself, I seek the combination of efficiency and passion. With On, I get less tired even though I train more, I run faster and most of all: I have fun doing it. 

Nicola’s coach Brett Sutton is equally enthusiastic about the new On collaboration. “Nicola has a unique running style with a kind of rocking motion to it,” he explains. “So it’s really important that she runs in shoes that suit her. In the On we’ve found a shoe that perfectly cushions her step, and one that will really help her represent Switzerland in her triathlons and her other competitive events in the years ahead.”