> Overview

„Always searching for the best way forward“

In conversation with Marco Büchel

He has known victory, he has known defeat. And he knows how to achieve his aim Marco Büchel, retired world-class alpine ski racer from Liechtenstein, tells us what it takes to get to the very top in elite sport and what lessons this has for the working world.

How did you get to the pinnacle of the international ski-racing scene and what were the most important factors and personal attributes?

I owe my success in this sport to my talent, but first and foremost to my tenacity, discipline and commitment: I devoted myself body and soul to ski racing and it was my stated aim to make myself the best in the world. But it was a tough journey that took a long time to complete. Things often picked up a little, only then to go downhill again. It is in situations like those that you see whether you have the necessary willpower and how much you are prepared to give to achieve your goal – or whether it’s best to simply give up. I was always very clear about my goal and I pursued it tenaciously.

What strategy did you have to cope as well as you possibly could with defeats as well as with the risks involved in ski racing?

I like to ponder on the fact that I took part in 300 races at the very highest level but only won four of them. That means that I lost 296 times! However, these defeats always taught me much more than my victories. I learned to draw the right conclusions from them and, ultimately, that is also the way to progress. At the same time, of course, I had to cope with the high risk of injury in my chosen sport – although the “danger” element also always fascinated me. To truly push oneself to the limit is an explosive emotional experience and that is exactly what I wanted.

Today, how much do you benefit personally from your experiences of ski racing?

My career taught me many things of fundamental importance, for example regarding fairness and respect. Most of all, however, I discovered how important it is to fight passionately for your goals. I have to achieve it for myself, I have to keep moving, look to the future and stay inquisitive and curious. You have to act if you ever want to achieve anything. And when you then achieve your goal, that has enormous value. In my opinion, this is true for almost every aspect of life.

As a speaker invited by businesses, you regularly talk about your experiences in elite sport. What are your most important messages to people in today’s working world?

At events like that, I talk about what I have experienced in my career and try to help my audience appropriate this knowledge and these experiences. I don’t tell the people there that they simply have to work harder if they want to achieve their goals. Instead, what is important – and that was always also true for me as an athlete – is to work together in a team. This is what I describe and I usually also talk about how I approached risk management. I don’t consciously give my audience any tips about motivation but talk, for example, about how I motivated myself during the really difficult times, for example when my great idol told me that I’d be better off renting out deckchairs because I was never going to make it to the top. What I want is for my listeners to reflect on that for themselves, transfer it to their own situation and draw their own personal conclusions. I think it often works – and if it doesn’t, then I hope that at least I’ve been entertaining!

Marco Büchel is a Liechtensteiner who took part in some 300 World Cup races between 1991 and 2010. He also participated in six Winter Olympics and ten World Championships, resulting in 90 Top-10 rankings, 18 podium finishes, four World Cup victories and Silver in the Giant Slalom at the World Championships in Vail in 1999. Since retiring, the ski racer has been active as a speaker and communicator.


> more