Credit Suisse Sports Awards 2016: "No One Begrudges Me This Victory"
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Credit Suisse Sports Awards 2016: "Everyone is happy for me" 

Graubünden native Armon Orlik, 21, became the first Swiss wrestler to win Newcomer of the Year award at the Credit Suisse Sports Awards. 

Armon Orlik, you have been voted Newcomer of the Year. Does that come as a surprise?

To some extent, yes. It was a tense build-up: All three of us – the tennis player Viktorija Golubic, Olympic shooter Nina Christen, and me – had good credentials going into the competition. Which makes victory all the sweeter.

Had you prepared your thank-you speech? After all, you had to deliver this in front of a whole host of sports stars in the TV studio as well as countless viewers at home.

Preparation was essential. I had imagined myself in this position in advance, and realized that it was not that easy a thing to do. I also went over the speech a number of times in my head so that I would know exactly what to say. Thankfully it went relatively well when the actual moment came.

And how did you find the evening as a whole?

The Credit Suisse Sports Awards was a completely new experience for me. I found the evening very interesting. I got to meet sportsmen and sportswomen that I hadn't even seen on TV before. And was able to say hello, shake their hand. For example, just before the program was broadcast, I had a brief chat with former Sportswoman of the Year Ariella Käslin. I was unaware at that point that she would be the one to present me with the award. Our conversation was very natural, very amusing, pleasant.

Of all the prizewinners, you had the longest Q&A session with the media. How do you explain that level of interest?

Well, perhaps I was the slowest. But joking aside, I was astonished at how many questions I was asked, and for such a length of time.

What did you get up to after the live broadcast?

First of all a session with Schweizer Illustrierte magazine, to have a few photos taken. Then I was able to mingle with everyone else. Which meant my coach Reto Attenhofer and I could enjoy the evening – with a few drinks and something to eat.

Who do you remember congratulating you in particular?

Daniela Ryf, the Hawaii triathlon winner and Sportswoman of the Year in 2015. That was great. Ariella Käslin also came up to congratulate me, this time privately, as it were. And I have been thrilled by all the responses from those close to me, friends, and acquaintances. Everyone is happy for me. A whole host of text messages. All of which is motivation for me to push on.

Looking at the precise breakdown of the vote, a couple of remarkable things stick out: You only received around half as many votes from the media as emerging tennis talent Viktorjia Golubic. But you ran away with the public vote. How do you explain the fact that almost 14,000 viewers voted for you?

That's a difficult one. But evidently the Swiss wrestling fans made their voices heard. It's a really good feeling. I reached a lot of people. It's really satisfying to be supported and voted for by so many people.

And what will you take away from this evening, this award?

I've put a huge amount into my training, and the results tell me that we've been getting it right. So I suppose I'd say that my coach and I can keep going down the path we've selected, with no need to change a great deal. And no one can take this award away from me. I really like it. I will put it somewhere that does it justice, somewhere where it will continue to catch my eye. It will remind me of the evening and my successes. And motivate me, strengthen my determination.

Everyone is predicting a great wrestling future for you. How are things likely to develop from here in sporting terms?

I'm in an important phase right now. I have to make the most of my 15 to 18 weekly training hours – on the strength front, as well as in terms of condition and technique. I'm essentially laying the foundations for next year. And obviously it's crucial that I don't get injured, and remain healthy. If I can manage that, I'll be in top form next year as well.