Katharina and the „Gschtabi“
by firmm Team
Text and Photos: Pia Ackermann
Katharina sits calmly between the presenter Sonja Hasler and Edy Hubacher. On February 11th she is guest on the programme „Persönlich (Personally) of the Swiss radio channel SRF1.Over half a million listeners follow this popular radio talk show every Sunday morning. Today the live broadcast comes from the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. 220 chairs in the large hall are not enough; more than 40 people have to listen to the conversation in the next room. Exited moving of chairs and scratching of feet. Sonja Hasler raises her hand, we're on air.
The whale protector and the master of riddles:Sonja Hasler wants to learn more than superficial things about the two seniors sitting in front of her. Both look back on an eventful life: Katharina Heyer, 75, who turned her whole life upside down twenty years ago to study whales and dolphins and sensitize people to their needs. Edy Hubacher, who won gold at the 1972 Olympic Games in four-man bobsleigh and still keeps his 2-meter body straight as a die at the age of 77. One can well imagine that the passionate teacher probably demanded the greatest discipline from himself. How else would he have won 16 Swiss championship titles in shot put, discus throwing, pentathlon and decathlon?
Katharina Heyer also had to fight many fights to build the foundation firmm from scratch. But she does not want to go into detail about that. She prefers to chat about the labour-intensive season in Tarifa and her plans for the Bay of Algeciras. Also in the winter-time Katharina can hardly relax. There are the holiday fairs, the firmm meeting in Aarau and the preparations for the next season. All the more precious are the moments she can spend with her sons, grandchildren and friends. But Katharina wouldn't be Katharina if she wasn't already looking forward to her reunion with Lolly, Sierra, Baby Hook and all her other protégés, whatever their names are. Her eyes are shining, as she tells us, that she will start the 21st season with her crew on March 23rd.
Giving up has never been an option neither for Katharina nor for Edy Hubacher. This and much more connects these two people, who have done a great job and speak modestly about their exciting lives. But they also allow the audience in the studio and at home listening to the radio to participate in their setbacks, injuries and sorrowful experiences. In the faces of the spectators around me, I can see sadness. I'm glad I can be there. Though I have experienced Katharina several times in public, she always impresses me anew. How she stands on stage after the interview and receives the applause, the petite woman next to the long "Gschtabi", her greatness becomes once again apparent.
The recording of the programme can be downloaded as a podcast from SRF1 ( only in Swiss-German):