Diethelm Gerber: Making the dream last longer

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09:  Bronze medalist Heidi Diethelm Gerber of Switzerland smiles during the medal ceremony for the 25m pistol event on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Bronze medalist Heidi Diethelm Gerber of Switzerland smiles during the medal ceremony for the 25m pistol event on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The swiss shooter won a medal in Rio aged 47, having started the sport when she was 35. 

Swiss shooter Heidi Diethelm Gerber is not what you would call a ‘typical athlete’. Born on 20 March 1969, she started to shoot in 2003, following in the footsteps of her husband Ernst Gerber, who is also a shooter. As she herself explained to Le Matin: “I rather liked volleyball, shooting was not really my thing originally. But I guess I had a hidden talent for this sport, even if training hard was the reason of my quick improvement."

She participated in the London 2012 Olympic Games, finishing 35th in the 10m air pistol event and 29th in the 25m event. But it was in Rio four years later that the Thurgau native achieved her most impressive result, winning the bronze medal in the 25m pistol.

Late bloomer Heidi Diethelm Gerber ready to blossom in Tokyo
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Diethelm Gerber used to work in a hotel in Neuchatel and has retained her genuine joie-de-vivre, despite the huge popularity she got from being an Olympic medallist – the first ever for a Swiss shooter at the Olympics.

“In this sport, as with all so-called ‘minor’ sports, we know that our only chance to shine globally is every four years at the Olympics. Two years ago I made a financial sacrifice in order to become a professional and achieve my Olympic dream. I know it will not last long so I enjoy it as much as I can”, she told the Swiss newspaper four years ago. Well, now she has a chance to make the dream last a little longer.