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Tears roll down her cheeks - fans chose Nev instead of Bencic

Tears roll down her cheeks – fans chose Nev instead of Bencic

Winners: Marco Adermatt and Belinda Bencic.Photo: cornerstone

If the crowd has its way, mountain biker Yolanda Nef is the Swiss athlete of the year for 2021 — not tennis player Belinda Bencic. This is due to special voting procedures.

Simon Haring / CH Media

The prime-time broadcast was less than fifteen minutes long when it really reached its emotional climax: Even just five months after her Olympic victory in Tokyo, thoughts of that day at the end of July caused Jolanda Nef to cry. There she secured a historic triple victory for Switzerland with Sina Fry and Linda Indergand.

After the lone player, Jolanda Neff answered visibly emotionally tense questions. The voice broke, and tears rolled down his cheeks.

Nev can't hold back the tears.

Nev can’t hold back the tears.Photo: SRF

“It became very boring and bothering me,” the 28-year-old said, recalling her time of struggle. On Christmas Day 2019, she endured rigorous training in the USA, where she lives with her boyfriend, downhill racer Luca Shaw, most of the year, suffering a ruptured spleen, several broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. Six weeks before the Olympics, she broke her left hand. She last won the World Cup in 2019.

For many spectators, Yolanda Neff is the real Swiss athlete of the year. Of the six candidates, she clearly received the most votes with 24.75 percent – ahead of Lara Gut Bahrami with 20.43 percent. She was followed by Belinda Bencic in third place only with 19.98 percent of the vote.

Journalists and athletes choose Benic

However, Belinda Bencic was voted Swiss Athlete of the Year. Because only a third of the audience’s vote counts, as do the media and athletes. Bencic was ahead in both categories: with 34.8 percent of the journalists’ vote, skater Lara Gut Bahrami with 21.2 percent and Jolanda Nef with 13.7 percent. Among the athletes, Bencic received 24.1 percent of the vote, and Neve came in second with 22.3 percentage points.

One thing is clear: 73 journalists and 1,183 female athletes participated in the vote, and Swiss TV did not reveal how many viewers voted, even at the request of this newspaper. Because it’s not a pure audience vote, and media and athlete votes are up to a third – and therefore in equal parts – it doesn’t matter how many viewers are involved, SRF explains. The result of the voting procedure is that individual votes from the public have significantly less weight. Because it can be assumed that tens of thousands participated in the elections. In 2019, 583,000 people watched the Sports Awards.

Bencic won the singles gold in tennis in Tokyo and the silver in doubles with Viktoria Golubic. In addition, the season was somewhat disappointing. Although she reached the quarter-finals of the US Open, where Switzerland reached the final of the Billie Jean King Cup, and was in the finals of two minor tournaments, she did not win any titles. In the world rankings, the 24-year-old took 23rd place. At the beginning of the year she was still number 9 in the world.

Benchik surprised odd

When asked about the outcome, winner Belinda Bencic and runner-up Jolanda Neff was also surprised by how much there was a difference in the categories for media workers and athletes. “I wasn’t expecting to win,” Bencic said. Because Jolanda has already been there a few times and she deserved to win this award.”

Nev and Pencik look amazing on stage.

Nev and Pencik look amazing on stage.Photo: cornerstone

This is not the first time that the election procedure has been discussed: in 2005 tennis player Roger Federer won Wimbledon and the US Open and was named the best athlete in the world. In the election of the best Swiss athlete of the year, he received the most votes of journalists. The award went to biker Tom Lottie, who became the world champion that year and received the most votes from the audience.

Jolanda Neff shouldn’t care too much about this second rank. She was already the world champion, European champion and overall World Cup winner. In Tokyo, she dominated the race on the difficult track with several technical lanes, quick descents and steep climbs almost as you wish, drove towards gold and said, “I hope I don’t wake up and everything was just a dream.” It was a reality. Jolanda Nef is an Olympic champion.

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