Noè Ponti was almost lost for words after he won bronze in the 100m butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 20-year-old was only the third Swiss swimmer to have won an Olympic medal.
“It is really a dream come true” Ponti said. “I’ve never felt this way before. I think I’m dreaming – it’s like living a dream. Before this Olympics the goal was to make the semifinal. What can I say? I’m speechless, it’s unbelievable.”
By the time he was three, Noè was already swimming without support in a style that – in his own words – resembled a dolphin.
Noè grew up speaking Italian and is also fluent in French, German and English.
He attended the Liceo di Locarno, the high school extending his education from four to five years to accommodate his training schedule.
He joined the Swiss national youth team in 2015 and won two silvers and one bronze at the 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival, his first major meet.
Noè reached two finals at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before claiming his first major medal with 50m butterfly gold at the 2019 European Junior Championships.
Following his Tokyo exploits, Noè returned to Ticino and his training base before winning 200m butterfly silver at the World Short-Course Championships in December 2021.
He thanked family, friends and fans, saying: “You made each competition fun and special and you inspire me every day to be a better swimmer.”