Name: Aebersold Simona

Date of birth: 13.04.1998

Lives in: Brügg BE, Switzerland

Club: ol.biel.seeland, Tampereen Pyrintö

Best results: 4 times Junior World-Champion (3×2016, 1×2015) and one Silver (2015), 5 JEC-Victories (3×2016,

2×2015) and one Bronze (2015), 2 times Youth Orienteering Champion Sprint Distance W16 (2013, 2014)

Photo by Roland Güdel

Photo by Roland Güdel


Swiss Simona Aebersold had a very successful year 2016 with three gold medals in JWOC in Switzerland. She thinks mental strength and self-confidence helped her to perform so well. Simona also feels confident in Tampere after living the whole autumn in the city. Next summer, she wants to do her best in every distance in JWOC and aims for an individual medal.


Last year JWOC was organized in your home ground; how did that affect your performances and did you get some extra boost from that?

Of course it was something really special to get the chance to run a JWOC on home ground. Because the competitions were held in Engadin, the terrain was completely different to the one I am used to train in at home. It was rather the fact that there were so many friends cheering, that really gave me some extra boost. I wanted to perform well in front of my whole family.

What was the key for your success in last year JWOC?

I personally think that it was the mental strength which helped me to perform so well in all the competitions. I knew what I wanted to do and had a lot of self-confidence. I knew that if I do well, everything was possible. I cannot say that there were most important trainings. For me it was the whole time before the competitions which gave me that self-confidence I needed.

How do you prepare mentally for the competitions?

The mental part in my preparations especially contains a lot of map studying. If there are old maps existing, I can spend hours just looking at them.

How have your autumn and winter been?

As planned I stayed in Tampere after the national team training camp in August in Finland in order to learn the Finnish language and to be able to train in beautiful Finnish terrain. I took part in the last Finnish Champs of the year and enjoyed the beautiful Scandinavian autumn. In December, I returned to Switzerland for winter training. After the first competitions I could also see that my shape was good. Back in Tampere for the whole February, I was able to do some Cross-Country Skiing and also orienteering. So the training has been going well so far and I am looking forward to run the first competitions in some weeks.

What are the most important trainings for you now during the winter? What are your favorite trainings?

For me it’s most important to keep the fast training sessions also during wintertime when there aren’t any competitions. But those are definitely not my favourite trainings. I like long runs in the snow free mountains in autumn but also Cross Country Skiing.

Training diary (8.8-14.8.2016)

  Morning Afternoon
Mon   Running
Tue Orienteering intervals, Tampere Strength training
Wed Running  
Thu Orienteering training, Kauppi, Tampere  
Fri Strength training – running school  
Sat   Orienteering competition, AM-Pitkä (long)
Sun Orienteering training, Orivesi  


Training diary (27.2-5.3.2017)

  Morning Afternoon Evening
Mon XC-Skiing, Tampere   Strength training
Tue Running    
Wed   Strength training Night orienteering
Thu Intervals    
Fri   National team meeting: Sprint orienteering training  
Sat Meeting: Orienteering training Meeting: Orienteering training  
Sun Meeting: Orienteering training    


What plans do you have for the end of the winter and for the spring?

Besides the first national competitions and Swiss-Night-O Champs, I am going to spend some time in Slovenia and Croatia with the national team in the end of April. I am really looking forward to this training camp as I have already been there twice in that beautiful terrain.

In Finland, it will be quite a different terrain type than JWOC last year in Switzerland. Have you changed your trainings somehow because of that?

No, I haven’t. It’s as always just orienteering with a compass and a map. Even though the terrain will be different to the one last year, I can use my own skills and tactic to find the controls. It could be an advantage that I have been spending a lot of time in Tampere since last summer. But orienteering is still the same.

You have spent a much time in Tampere already. Do you feel confident in Tampere terrains?

After the training camp with the national team in August in Tampere and Turku, I moved in to an apartment in Tampere. Except some trips to Switzerland and Scotland for training camps and competitions I stayed the whole autumn in Finland until I returned home for Christmas and winter training. In February I went back to Tampere for the whole month. So I already feel quite confident in Tampere terrains. Of course one has to use the compass very much as in all Finnish terrains, but it is also important not to read every detail on the map as there are too many of them.

What are you expecting for JWOC 2017? What goals do you have for this summer?

Of course I would like to confirm my performances of 2016, but that will be very difficult. I want to give my best in every competition so that I can be happy after the finish line. The big goal would be an individual medal. It will be interesting to compare my performances with the Finnish girls in their home terrain.

Do you focus more on some special distance or are all the races equally important in JWOC?

No, they are all equally important to me. I know that I have to prepare well for all the competitions in order to reach my goals. Not only the forest disciplines will be different to the ones we are used to, but also the sprint distance in Pyynikki area.

In Tampere, also Fin5-orienteering week is organized during the JWOC-week. Why should Swiss orienteers come to Fin5 this year?

In the past months I have learned that there is really beautiful terrain in Tampere. It’s the perfect time for Swiss orienteers to come to Finland and enjoy the endless forests and the Finnish summer with swimming in the lakes after the competitions. Besides they can follow JWOC 2017 and cheer for us which is going to be interesting for sure!

Is there something else you would like to tell?

As well as Joey, I am again nominated for “Sporthilfe Nachwuchspreis 2016”, the biggest price a junior athlete can win in Switzerland. So watch our videos and please vote for all of us (for Joey in the men’s category, me in the women’s and my relay team in the category teams) via the link below. Just click on the button “Abstimmen”  – by the way, you can vote several times with different email addresses😉!! The voting ends on 20th of March.

Thank you so much for your support, I can’t wait for the orienteering season 2017 to start!


Thank you Simona for the interview and good luck to the summer!