“An immense relief.” Maria Luisa Brunner, mother of Alex Schwazer, tells al Courier of South Tyrol “The end of a nightmare” that began in 2012, with the first doping scandal, and continued in 2016 with “defamatory accusations that destroyed it”.
«He seems calmer to me: he knew he was innocent, he never thought it could end differently. But let’s not celebrate, only the truth has been restored. I am very happy for him and for his wife, a splendid person who in October made me a grandmother for the second time ».
Were those difficult years?
“It was awful. Seeing your own broken son is indescribable. But lately he’s been training, following other athletes, keeping busy ».
What was it like to see him grow up with a passion for sport?
«We were very in favor, sport gives a lot and he worked hard; we have always supported it. We saw him happy and for us it was everything ».
Did he make many sacrifices?
“He didn’t have the normal life of kids his age: he never went out, no parties. He even gave up on the high school trip because he had to train. Things that are done only once in a lifetime, years that never come back. He lived for athletics ».
Were you afraid that high-level sport could corrupt him?
“A mother has constant fears, but I thought sport was a safe environment. We were worried about competitions, disappointments or some physical ailment ».
Did you think what happened could happen?
“Never. He was delighted in his environment, what happened was impossible to predict. Sport gave him so much and then took everything away from him, even the joy of living and the strength to fight. They destroyed his dream, they ruined it: he was innocent and they hit him. These wounds will never heal. ‘
Do you think yours is an isolated case?
“I do not think so. In athletics we will see many other surprises. If Wada starts investigating, I don’t know what can come up. I am convinced that others have not had the strength of Alex to denounce and move on ».
Not an easy battle.
“They hit low and hurt him. In these nine years he has touched indescribable depths of despair ».
“Surely it ended because of the first scandal. They couldn’t take it anymore and I understand that Carolina no longer had the strength: she was a champion, discovering that sport could be merciless must have been a trauma. Now, however, she has a partner and I am very happy for her; Alex got married and has a nice family. Life goes on”.
Alex Schwazer with Carolina Kostner
In 2016 the second scandal: have you ever thought that he had relapsed into doping?
“Never. I knew they wanted to ruin it. In 2012 he had admitted his responsibilities and had paid for his mistakes: the chapter was closed, he had sworn “never again”, that story had hurt everyone too much. I knew he would never try again. ‘
«The coach Donati, the lawyer Brandstätter, his manager Giulia Mancini: they never abandoned him. A big family”.
«We know how people are: when you win you are the great champion, when you make mistakes they turn their backs on you. He was the hero of South Tyrol, all the politicians went home as long as he wore medals. Then they disappeared. But there is the family, a staff that follows him and will go on ».
Are you afraid that your name will remain linked to doping?
“He was an Olympic champion, no one gives you anything. I think people see it as it is: honest. And it’s worth a lot to me. ”
Schwazer with Sandro Donati (Ansa)
What would you say to your son today?
“Go on with the sport because it’s your life, even if it hit you so hard: I’m behind you and I follow you. I am proud of him, he has done so many good things for athletics, for the Italians and he must not give up now. He had justice and he deserves it ».
Will he return to international competitions?
«It will be difficult, Alex goes to the Olympics if he knows he can do it: if he thinks he will finish tenth he does not participate. But it takes a lot of head and clarity ».
Going back, what would change?
“Nothing. Everything Alex has been through has made him the man he is today. Sport teaches us to fall and get up again, when the fault is yours and when they are injustices ».
How do you explain what they did to him?
“Alex saw so many things and told what he knew. I told him to be careful because it touched delicate balances. And there they started hitting. He denounced doping in the victories of the Russians, and they made him pay for it. Even their champions who speak ruin them or kill them ».
“These people don’t joke. I thought they hurt him: I never thought they would invent slanderous accusations to destroy him. ”
Were you more afraid of getting lost at the pinnacle of success or at the bottom of the abyss?
“I’ve always been afraid for him. In 2012, after the scandal, I had a stroke due to stress. In 2016 I really thought: “One day or another I will lose it or they will kill me”. I feared he was making an extreme gesture. Then he pulled out all the strength he had and slowly got back on his feet. Now let’s look to the future and let’s see how things are going ».
February 20, 2021 (change February 20, 2021 | 10:35)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED