The power behind the power
ALWAYS ON THE MOVE
Twelve years after her first podium place at a climbing competition, Petra Klingler celebrated her greatest success: in 2016 she became world champion in the bouldering discipline. Her mother Regula Klingler tells the exciting story of her daughter.
Petra is very determined. That started at birth: The midwife couldn't even unpack her suitcase, because after eight minutes she was already there. She must have decided, now it is ready, now I am coming. And so determinedly has she always gone through life up to now.
However, it was not foreseeable at the time that she would be a successful top athlete today. On the contrary: she was born with one club foot and one sickle foot, which was quite a shock at first. When she was five days old, she had both legs re-cast every week for three quarters of a year. After that she had to wear special shoes day and night for 10 years to keep her feet in the right direction. But even then it became clear that she was tough. She accepted this first difficult time without complaint and was always in a good mood.
When she was nine months old, she could not yet walk by herself, i was alone at home with our two children. While Petra was crawling around on the floor in the living room, I went next door to her brother Simon's room, who was 20 months older. When I came back, she was sitting in her high chair. She must have pulled herself up there somehow - I still can't explain how up to this day.
As soon as the plaster boots were finally gone, Petra only had to go up, into the vertical. There was no stopping her. She simply climbed up everywhere. If anyone sat on the tree, it was Petra. With everything to do with movement, she was always great. My husband Christof and I both have a great passion for the mountains. And so Petra and Simon grew up with it from the very beginning. Petra climbed for the first time at the age of four, in the Grimsel area. Our annual fair in Bonstetten quickly became the highlight of the year for her. There was always a little competition in Climbing Harraces, where she even stood up well to older children. Even then her great ambition became apparent. So she always enjoyed climbing, but her great passion at that time was still horses. At the age of 11, she passed the equestrian silver brevet and she was also top in vaulting.
The fact that she then started competition climbing was actually a coincidence. It was 2004, we were climbing with the children in the Gaswerk climbing hall in Zurich. A competition took place there, where she spontaneously took part. We didn't really know what kind of competition it was, but it was actually a Swiss championship. And Petra won in her age group - when she was 12! From then on, climbing dominated her life. As a "compensation" for climbing she was also successful in kickboxing for a while during puberty. That did her a lot of good back then. But ultimately, climbing became her greatest passion.
I never see Petra's competitions on site. I'm too tense and I'm afraid it'll rub off on her.
From then on there were hardly any family holidays because she was always in training camps. She travelled around in world history, just with the team, without us parents. There she learned a lot and became more and more independent. Because until then she had grown up very sheltered here in Bonstetten. We have a large garden, and at that time we also had goats. Petra loves nature and animals. But in school she was sometimes teased as "goat Petra". We never had a television either. We only watched movies on DVD and that in English version. That had the background that for a while there was a rumour that we might go to the USA because of my husband's job. I wanted us to know the language by then. It never came to that in the end, but I'm sure it didn't hurt either.
Petra repeated the 5th primary class, because we realised then that her sports activities and school were too much for her. We wanted a happy child who could live out his urge to move besides school. I am a primary school teacher, but for Petra I am simply her mother. She never wanted me to help her. But we have always made a point of having a wider circle of familiar people as a family who also care. We have that and that was also important. Especially in secondary school she had a teacher who supported her a lot. When she went to the sports grammar school, everything went very well.
Thanks to Corona we saw each other a little more than usual, which I enjoyed very much, because otherwise we sometimes don't see each other for a long time. She lives in a flat share in Bern and trains mainly in this area. But we are her base, which is important for her. The Olympic shift must have been very difficult for her. But we deliberately did not discuss it in this way. Our philosophy with everything is: "It's going to be all right. Everything also has its positive sides". You just have to have confidence. Currently she has a little more time for herself and her private life, which I find positive. But even there, a lot of things revolve around sport. She often goes mountain biking with her boyfriend, for example. Petra is a polyathlete, which is perhaps also her recipe for success. After all, she is the only one who is successful in a combination of lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing, as well as in ice climbing in winter. I hope she stays healthy and keeps her drive for Tokyo 2021.
is currently the most successful and also most versatile sports climber in Switzerland. The sport could have celebrated its debut at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. Petra had qualified for the Olympic squad early on. Now she is hoping for Tokyo 2021. Since completing her Bachelor's degree in sport and psychology, she has been working in the marketing department of the airline Swiss with a 50 percent workload; she lives in Bonstetten ZH and Bern.
is a primary school teacher and lives with her husband in Bonstetten ZH. Her enthusiasm for sport runs in the family: she regularly goes hiking and climbing in the mountains with her husband Christof. Her daughter Petra inherited her passion for top-class sports from her paternal grandparents, who, in addition to climbing and ski touring, also competed in cross-country skiing. Regula Klingler never follows the competitions of her successful daughter on location. She would be too tense and would be afraid that this would transfer to Petra.