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Swiss Olympic chief upbeat about Sydney

Athletes show off Switzerland's new Olympic uniform Keystone

Switzerland's head coach for the Sydney Olympic Games says he is optimistic about the prospects of winning medals. Hansjörg Wirz said on Friday: "We can do just as well as we did in Atlanta."

This content was published on August 18, 2000 - 20:56

Speaking at a news conference at which team members modelled the official Swiss Olympic outfits, Wirz said that at least 13 of the 16 disciplines in which a Swiss athlete will be competing could yield a medal.

"I don't mean that we will win medals everywhere, but we do have the potential to do so," he said. "Our athletes have already proved that they frequently finish among the top three in European and World Championships".

Three categories in particular were highlighted by Wirz for Switzerland's excellent track record: riding, rowing and cycling. "We have several aces up our sleeves in these three fields," he said.

In Atlanta the Swiss came away with three gold and four silver medals, making the 1996 Olympic Games the most successful in Switzerland's sporting history.

However, 119 athletes had gone to Atlanta, whereas no more than 106 Swiss will be representing their country in Sydney next month. In addition, for 70 per cent of the athletes on their way Down Under, these will be their first Olympic Games.

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