Switzerland’s Anina Wildi: ‘I want to bring my hard work from the gym to the competition floor’

Written by John Crumlish for International Gymnast Online

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Although Swiss gymnast Anina Wildi will be competing without the support of a full team at the World Championships in Liverpool later this month, she plans to thrive at the competition and share what she deems her “mind-blowing experience” with her loyal teammates awaiting her at home.

Wildi is particularly keen to perform well in Liverpool, having missed last year’s Worlds in Kitakyushu because of a pelvis injury she acquired while in training there.

Born October 31, 2002, in Aarau, a town 20 minutes from Zurich in the canton of Aargau, Wildi trains under under Swiss national team head coach Wendy Bruce-Martin, Craig Tetreault and Frank Kistler at the Swiss national team training center in Magglingen.

Wildi’s start in Liverpool could provide her with an international breakthrough following her persistent presence on the Swiss team. She was 13th all-around at the 2016 European Junior Championships in Bern, 42nd all-around in qualifications at the 2019 Europeans in Szczecin and 49th all-around in qualifications at the 2021 Europeans in Basel. Wildi took part in her only previous Worlds in Doha in 2018, where she competed on vault and floor exercise. This summer she placed 57th all-around in qualifications at Europeans in Munich, where she qualified as an individual for Liverpool.

In this International Gymnast Online interview, the optimistic Wildi details her aims for Liverpool, her recently restored joy for gymnastics and the harmonious spirit she savors with her Swiss teammates.

IGO: You have not competed at Worlds since 2018, so what are your hopes and aims for Liverpool?

AW: It’s a big honor for me to compete at worlds. The last year was one of my hardest years. I really fought hard to get myself back to be on the same level as before. I think it worked out pretty well and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

But for now I am really focused on clean routines at Worlds and hitting four for four events. I just want to bring my hard work from the gym to the competition floor.

IGO: In which ways have you grown as a gymnast since the 2021 Worlds in Kitakyushu, where you were unable to compete because of your pelvis injury?

AW: I’ve grown so much mentally but also physically. As I said, this past year was very rough because I was so ready for the 2021 Worlds. But instead, I had to go back to the gym on crutches and with three months of rehabilitation. Then I had to sit and watch the other girls on my team train, throw new skills and bond with the new coaches. It was very hard for me. I really needed to take a step back. I had to remember how to focus on all the stuff that made me happy. I talked a lot with Wendy about my mental state and she helped me. Now, I really enjoy every second in the gym with my team and I appreciate the little things. I am also stronger and I can do harder skills now. American-style conditioning paid off!

Anina Wildi (SUI) at the 2022 European Championships in Munich

IGO: Competing in Liverpool will bring you a special challenge since you will not have a full team to support you. How are you preparing yourself mentally for this situation?

AW: First it was really hard for me. We worked so hard for Europeans as a team and we were totally ready to show everyone our improvements but it didn’t work out in the end. (The top 13 teams at Europeans qualified for Liverpool; Switzerland placed 18th.) So going to Liverpool by myself is very challenging, but it is also a big opportunity for me to compete with the best gymnasts from all over the world, learn something new and use it as motivation for the upcoming competitions.

IGO: Your national team is under new leadership. What are some of the positive changes you have experienced since Wendy took charge?

AW: I’ve experienced a lot positive things the past few months. First of all, we have a much better team bond, even just us girls. We’re cheering for everybody and we’re helping each other in difficult situations. But also with the coaches. I really feel like I can just be me when I am surrounded by them. I have a very close but still professional relationship with all my coaches, especially Wendy. I wouldn’t be at Worlds without her! She taught us how to love our sport again.

IGO: Who coaches you on which apparatuses?

AW: Craig leads floor, the French coach Frank leads bars and vault, and, last but not least, Wendy coaches beam.

IGO: How are you handling the responsibility of being the sole representative of Swiss women’s gymnastics in Liverpool?

AW: I don’t want to put so much attention on me because I know the girls in Magglingen are working hard to have a team on the competition floor again. I want to show the world that Switzerland is a gymnastics nation too and that we can have a big future! In the end, I will really try to take all the impressions from Liverpool home and share my positive and mind-blowing experience with my girls.

IGO: We understand you play musical instruments. Which instruments do you play, and what about these instruments in particular intrigues you to play them?

AW: I played violin for 12 years, but I had to quit when I moved to Magglingen, the national team training center. It was the perfect balance for me between school and practice. All of my four older siblings played an instrument and did sport so I decided, especially because I’m the youngest, I wanted to do that too. It helped me to clear my mind and to calm down. Now I’m just playing the piano for myself to relax.

International Gymnast Online’s other recent features on Swiss gymnastics include:

OLGA star Anastasia Budiashkina: ‘I told myself everything would be real and alive’

Switzerland’s Stefanie Siegenthaler: ‘Every competition tells its own story’

Giulia Steingruber: ‘I wanted to say goodbye in a good mood’

Switzerland’s Hegi Confident, Although ‘The Near Future Is Unknown’

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