For more than 10 years, Jörg Abdalden accompanies Schwingvesti as an expert on SRF. In an interview with “Hello SRF!” The 43-year-old from Toggenburg talks about the perils of his role, rising early on the 10th and working with fellow TV experts Adrian Kaser and Matthias Sembach.
Jörg Abdhalden, I’ve been a wrestling expert in SRF for ten years. How do you like this role?
George Abdelden: It’s a very exciting role. As an active wrestler, I’ve always been on the other side when it comes to dealing with the media. Now I look at wrestling from a different perspective. However, the athlete’s heart still beats inside of me.
So, when the cameras aren’t in front of you, are you still making a fuss?
As a native of northeastern Switzerland, I still naturally feel a lot of sympathy for the wrestlers from our affiliate. However, in the meantime, I’m generally enjoying the nice wrestling action. I am no longer biased. Meanwhile, bad work and gears bother me.
to a person
Jörg Abdhalden has been working as a swing expert in the SRF since 2013. He has also been a judge on the TV show “Samschtig-Jass” since 2018. The 43-year-old comes from Toggenburg. In his career as a wrestler, he has won three Federal and Alpine wrestling festivals – those held in Bern 1998, Lucerne 2004 and Arau 2007. In addition to these three royal titles, he has also officiated the Schwinger Grand Slam tournament.
But as an expert on SRF, you have to judge objectively. What is particularly important to you in this role?
I always try to be as correct as possible. It’s my job to criticize mistakes. But it is necessary to emphasize the positive aspects, for example, the correct decisions of the judges. I want to convey that to the public.
Now Unspunnen-Schwinget is just around the corner as the highlight of the 2023 season. How are you preparing for your professional assignment at Interlaken?
Since we primarily categorize what happens on site in a live event, specific setup is difficult. However, I follow the entire wrestling season very closely, observing the top wrestlers and paying attention to their achievements, favorite twists or weaknesses.
The Unspunnen Schwinget: Part of the Schwinger Grand Slam tournament
The first Unspunnen-Schwinget dates back to 1805. In 2023, the traditional event will take place for the 18th time. Held only every six years, the wrestling festival is, along with the Federal and Alpine Wrestling Festival (ESAF) and the Kilchberger Schwinget, one of three federally-themed wrestling festivals – the sport’s “grand slam” events. Also part of the event is the Unspunnen stone throwing.
What does your day as an expert at a wrestling festival like Unspunnen-Schwinget look like?
We always arrive the day before to look at the situation on site and discuss the process. And on the same day, I like to be there early. On the one hand, this leaves enough time for masks, sound tests, and setup. On the other hand, I like the atmosphere in the early morning at a wrestling festival when there aren’t many people around. I like to suck it.
Do you feel stressed these days or are you always relaxed?
Thanks to my experience and my early arrival, I’m a little nervous. However, I also try to focus on working during the day and not socializing too much at lunchtime, for example. And if someone in the stands turns to take a selfie, sometimes I have to say no.
Would you like more information about SRF?
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Despite your many years of experience in the field of photography, are there still points that particularly challenge you in your work as a TV expert?
Perhaps walking the tightrope to bring justice to all – the wrestlers, the referees, the audience. As a TV expert, I fix mistakes and maybe say something hurtful. At the same time, I don’t want to stab anyone in the back, nor do I always want to look for hair in soup and offend someone. The focus should be on the good.
Is it easier to spot mistakes today because wrestling festival TV productions are becoming more professional? The SRG’s broadcasters now broadcast all mountain festivals and subsidiary federations and have 14 cameras on site in Unspunnen-Schwinget, for example.
Of course, today you have more technical possibilities, different perspectives, and slow motion. This has also contributed to the fact that wrestling has become more present in the media since the first live broadcast of the Federal & Alpine Wrestling Festival by SRG in 2004. At the same time, there have always been gray areas in wrestling, whether in terms of score, rankings or ratings. . They are as much a part of sports as thongs or sawdust.
SRG is the “Host Announcer”
SRG is present at Unspunnen 2023 as the so-called “host broadcaster” and is responsible for producing the signal used by all TV stations. About 30 SRG employees, such as cameramen, sound engineers and director, participate in the on-site production. A total of 14 cameras are available, including a cable car camera for dynamic bird’s-eye shots or a 60-meter crane camera for stunning photos of the festival site. Super Action Cams with 150fps and Super Action Cams with up to 1000fps ensure stunning slow motion studies of duels.
At Unspunnen-Schwinget you will work with other SRF experts Adrian Käser and Matthias Sempach. Do differences of opinion arise when microphones are turned off?
Kasser and Simbach, like commentator Stefan Hofmann, are natives of Berne. As someone from eastern Switzerland, I sometimes look at things from a different perspective. There will certainly be discussions there. Maybe I find a gang tactically smart while others find them boring. But there is always plenty of room for interpretation, as with classification. But that’s what makes wrestling so exciting.
Finally: Who will be the winner of Unspunnen in 2023?
After such an outstanding season, Fabian Studenman is sure to win. But dominance during the season does not mean victory at the height of the season. There are at least a few other wrestlers who have the potential to win the festival.
Unspunnen-Schwinget AZ live on the SRF channel
Sunday 27th August 2023 from 7.20am
On SRF two and run SRF
Broadcast on SRF Zwei and on the web begins at 7:20 am. Stefan Hofmann and Adrian Kasser comment on the events, and Jörg Abdelhalden and Matthias Sembach act as experts. On SRF Radio 3, Reto Widmer reports with frequent inclusions.
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