Michel Sorg will become the new Chef d’équipe of the elite Swiss riders after Tokyo 2020

15 December 2019

This Summer, Andy Kistler announced that he wanted to hand over his mandate as the Elite Show Jumping Chef d’équipe. He will retire at the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after six successful years in the position. He now has a successor in the form of the current Head of Sport in the discipline of Jumping, Michel Sorg.

As part of the Swiss Equestrian Sports Federation (FSSE) press conference that was organized today at the 59th CHI Geneva, Andy Kistler officially announced his retirement as Chef d’équipe, that will become official in August 2020, and took the opportunity to introduce his successor. "It's time to make way for the new generation," said Kistler, visibly moved. "The team now has a younger leader. I have had unforgettable moments with the riders all over the world, and I’m very grateful for that. I’m now looking forward to traveling a little less and spending more time with my family, and especially with my grandchildren. For me, the appointment of Michel Sorg as the new Chef d’équipe is exactly what I wanted for the team, and it makes my departure easier."

Many great moments

Looking back at his years as the Show Jumping Chef d’équipe, Andy Kistler can cite countless great moments, including of course the qualification for Rio 2016, which the team obtained during a very tight competition at the European Championships in Aachen where they secured the team bronze medal. Then there was the team bronze medal that they won at the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017, the direct qualification for Tokyo 2020 at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in the USA with the team's fourth place, as well as the individual silver and bronze medals, not to mention Steve Guerdat's victory at the World Cup Final and this Summer, and Martin Fuchs' European Champion title.  

 But the human aspect is essential to him: "In addition to the successes, accompanying the young athletes on the road to success, gaining the team's trust and using it to form a team that also includes horse owners, grooms and the Federation's Jumping board is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced," notes Andy Kistler and adds with a wink: "Which Chef d’équipe has the privilege of having the World No’s. 1 and 2 in his team? However, I don’t understand why neither of them was short-listed for the Swiss Sportsman of the Year.

Passing the torch to a younger generation   

Andy Kistler is convinced that he will pass on a team that will be able to achieve great success in the coming years with the new Chef d’équipe. "Michel Sorg is a perfect fit for this team and I’m also very happy that Thomas Fuchs agreed to remain at his side as a technical coach," said Kistler. "Our team will also experience a generational change, and this young group deserves a young Chef d’équipe. I’ve known Michel for more than 15 years and he convinced me from the beginning, first, by his human side, but also by the way in which he did a quality job with great self-confidence despite his young age. He has a great network of people. He knows and loves our sport, he is a good communicator, he’s ambitious and sets goals. I look forward to my last months as Chef d’équipe and will do everything I can to prepare Michel well for his future task."

 Michel Sorg is a 34-year-old father that lives in Collonge-Bellerive (Geneva), and has been an absolute fan of horses and show jumping since childhood. He understands all facets of the sport, having practiced it himself at the amateur level, as well as being a perfectly bilingual competition speaker and equestrian journalist for many years. For the past ten years, he has been a member of the CHI Geneva organizing committee, where he has been the Deputy Director for the past four years. He will continue in this role when he becomes the Chef d’équipe, while reducing his activities. He’ll continue to work in the Sport Department and will focus on strategic tasks related to the event.

The 2024 Olympic Games are already in focus  

"For me, it is a great privilege and honor to be the Swiss Show Jumping Chef d’équipe. It's a dream come true. I’m very much looking forward to taking up my position on September 1st. This will be the beginning of a new four-year period that will lead up to the next Olympic Games in 2024 in Paris, and we want to be there. We’re fortunate to have many brilliant riders in our team, starting with Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs. In addition, a new generation of promising talent is emerging. My goal will be to continue Andy Kistler's work, both in terms of the sporting and human aspects. His career as a Chef d’équipe is impressive and I admire him so much. I hope to be not only be a manager, but also an attentive ear for our athletes. I’m particularly pleased that Thomas Fuchs has decided to keep his position as technical coach. It's a real opportunity for me to work with one of the best coaches in the world. Finally, I would like to thank Andy Kistler as well as the Show Jumping board and the whole FSSE for the trust they have placed in me."