Lucerne, August 2022 – The Swiss Federal Wrestling and Alpine Festival 2022 (ESAF) is just around the corner – and with it the premiere of the wearable wristband with payment function from wearonize in traditional design as a technically innovative means of payment at the major sporting event – and beyond, of course. Already now, swinger Florian Gnägi – honored with 108 wreaths and two of them federal so far, winner among others of the Schwarzsee Schwinget 2022 – uses his wearonize- wearable. And he has a very definite opinion on where innovation and tradition is good for the sport of wrestling – and how to keep young talent in the sport.
Florian, the first question must be about you after the injury in the final round at the Fribourg Cantonal: How is your preparation for the Swiss national championships going?
For me, a slightly different preparation than planned before the Swiss Nationals is almost part of the optimal final spurt – even if I could have easily done without this injury. But I am in full training, a lot of physiotherapy determines my day and the knee is getting better day by day. I am very confident that the injury will not set me back, but on the contrary I will be able to throw successfully in the ring in Prattel in Baselbiet from August 26.
Speaking of the Swiss National Wrestling Championships – which event do you remember from your earliest childhood?
My father was also a wrestler, so wrestling festivals and, of course, the Swiss National Wrestling Championships were always on our minds. However, I was there live for the first time in 1998 in Bern and from then on always, from 2007 onwards also as an active swimmer. When I hear myself say that, then I realize that I’ve been around for quite a long time …
… what’s completely new this year, on the other hand, is your partnership with wearonize and the wearable with payment function that was launched on the occasion of the ESAF 2022. How does a wrestler get involved with a FinTech?
I’m always on the lookout for special partners and I admit that I’m personally a fan of technology and exciting gadgets. So I already noticed in spring that wearonize is launching this wearable together with BLKB on the occasion of the Swiss Confederation. When I saw the first picture, I wanted to have it, because it looks so nice and simple … and as it so conveniently happened, wearonize contacted me just a short time later! Fits well, since I am very often, especially in everyday life between home, work and training, without cash in the pants bag on the road and with my wearable can now always pay quite Schwinger-style. So in short, this is a partnership that I couldn’t have imagined better, practical, innovative, what interests me, and then also really nice to look at. And what makes me especially happy: Every wearonize wearable also supports the junior wrestling sport with 2 Stutz, which I think is a really fine thing!
wearonize is pure innovation, while the sport of swinging is pure tradition – is there a tradition that you particularly value?
Of course, we shake hands before and after the fight, and the winner cleans the sawdust off the back of the defeated. That’s so comradely. Also, you learn that as a little boy in training, you shake hands. Everyone shakes hands with everyone else even in training, whether you’re a wrestling king or a 10-year-old beginner. This tradition must never be diluted, it must be preserved, it is so valuable and beautiful. And if a little boy forgets to shake hands, then a senior stands up and shakes hands with me, that’s how the wrestling family is.
You started with the sport of wrestling at the age of nine, what does a young talent career look like? And how important is support for young talent work, which is also deliberately done by wearonize and the BLKB by giving away 2 francs per wearable?
The most important man in a wrestling club is not the president, he is the person responsible for young talent. Because he is decisive that the boys come and also stay. If necessary, he also shows the boys how to put on the wrestling belt properly. And also listens to homework, if it helps. This position in the clubs must be strengthened, because together with the parents, those responsible for young talent set so much in motion and thus pave the way for all those who want to successfully pursue a career.
With me it was easy, my father was a swinger, but my parents said very clearly: Choose a sport that you like to stay with, you won’t keep changing clubs. I have always stayed with swinging, at the beginning 1 – 2 times a week, then more and more intensively. Squad training was and still is mostly on Friday evenings, because then the kids can just come, even if it means longer travel time. Often three years are together in the junior squad, because it is still to organize so from the personnel expenditure and everything, one tries to keep the training places then also always within 45 minutes driving time.
Working with young talent in the sport of wrestling is very much a passion, because everyone has a normal job, including, of course, the youth coaches. In our sport, there are no regional performance centers like in other sports. It’s all passion and tradition, and that’s why I’m very pleased that wearonize is also consciously supporting this effort with money that really helps.
Once again, back to the topic of innovation and the sport of swinging. Do we perhaps have to “modernize” the tradition a bit, so that the sport remains popular and the new blood continues to come? Or just not, must everything remain so, so that the Schwingsport keeps its position, also today and in the future?
Innovations like those from wearonize are great for the sport of wrestling and especially for the Swiss Federal Championships. Why? Because they modernize the trappings and simply move with the times in our everyday lives. But they don’t interfere with the tradition of wrestling.
Because this tradition is the main reason for the success of our sport, for the high level of popularity, also for the economic success, that we are broadcast live on TV, etc. Despite all the sporting ambition, wrestling is cozy, people want it to be that way, and it has to stay that way.
I am quite honest, the Swiss Wrestling Festival is always a balancing act in my opinion, how much marketing and size can do a wrestling festival good. The entire wrestling family must find room, must feel comfortable, must also be able and want to experience this major event. If we can do that, then Schwingen and the ESAF will exist forever with the current great popularity.
Further information about Florian Gnägi: www.floriangnaegi.ch
More information about the wearonize payment wearable on the occasion of the ESAF 2022: www.wearonize.com/esaf/
About wearonize AG:
wearonize is changing the way people pay. Since its founding in 2019, the FinTech has positioned itself as the world’s leading fulfillment-as-a-service partner for banks and manufacturers of (fashion) accessories looking to make payments wearable. wearonize offers software, hardware and logistical services to help banks, manufacturers and event organizers enter the passive payment wearables market without having to invest a lot of time and financial resources themselves. The wearonize team manages the entire process of analysis, development, testing, certification and distribution of passive wearables and payment technology (and other capabilities). In 2020, wearonize became the sole software and services provider of SwatchPAY, and in 2022, wearonize partnered with BKLB to provide passive wearables at the Swiss Federal Wrestling Festival (ESAF 2022). Currently, wearonize is active in more than 25 countries and in cooperation with more than 75 banking institutions. The team around CEO Thorsten Röske currently comprises 17 members at the locations Lucerne, Switzerland, Munich, Germany and Cluj, Romania.