‘His abilities are undisputed’: Olympic medallist to coach elite team ahead of Paris Games

  • Five-time Olympian and multiple medal-winning rider Markus Fuchs has been appointed the Swiss elite eventing team’s showjumping coach ahead of Paris 2024.

    Markus takes over from the late Lesley McNaught, who died in December aged 59. He joins the Swiss federation on 1 February.

    Markus’ illustrious competition career spanned more than four decades, and his first major championships was the World Championships in Aachen in 1978. He made his first Olympic appearance at the Seoul Games in 1988, and he went on to compete at the Barcelona Games in 1992, the 1996 Atlanta Games, the Sydney Games in 2000 where he won team silver, and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He won six team and one individual European medal, including double silver at Hickstead in 1999 on the legendary stallion and his long-term championship partner Tinka’s Boy. The pair also won the showjumping World Cup final in 2001.

    In 2009 Markus retired from competition and went on to work as a coach at home and abroad, including coaching the Italian showjumping team to a European team silver medal that year at Windsor.

    Markus said that coaching the eventing riders is a “new challenge that he is happy to take on”.

    “Working with the eventing team, especially in the Olympic year, motivates me a lot,” he said.

    “The demands on the riders and also on the horses are somewhat different than in showjumping. It’s exactly these subtleties that motivate me. Lesley has done an excellent job and I can take on a great team. I’m really looking forward to working with the Swiss eventing elite team.”

    A spokesman for Swiss Equestrian said that “Markus Fuchs’ sporting successes have shaped Switzerland’s equestrian history”, and that he has “long since proven his knowledge and skills as a trainer”.

    “As the umbrella organisation of Swiss equestrian sport, we have been associated with Markus for many years. We know his qualities as a rider and trainer, and he is an absolute team player. We are convinced that he will continue on the path he has chosen with the Swiss eventing elite with a view to Paris 2024 and will help the riders advance in sport,” said Swiss Equestrian sports manager Evelyne Niklaus.

    Dominik Burger, the Swiss eventing team’s chef d’equipe added that the federation is “very grateful to Markus for his commitment to the eventing team”.

    “His abilities are undisputed,” he said. “Our riders were able to learn a lot from Lesley and they will carry her forward in their hearts.

    “I am convinced that Markus will succeed in preparing our combinations excellently for the Olympic Games. We are really looking forward to working with him.”

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