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interview with
aksel lund svindal

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interview with aksel lund svindal
On 27 June 2016, the ­Longines Ambassador of Elegance Aksel Lund Svindal was invited to give a speech at the graduation ceremony of trainees of the Swatch Group’s companies and brands. While there, he took the opportunity to visit the winged hourglass brand's headquarters. This occasion gave the Norwegian skier a chance to reflect on his long-standing partnership with ­Longines, as well as on his sporting feats and future ambitions.
You had the opportunity to visit the company today. What was it like to see the brand you are involved with up close?
I’ve been working with ­Longines for many years now and I’ve known the management for a long time, too. I can say that ­Longines is a company that is like a family. Visiting the headquarters gives you a better understanding of the values upheld by the brand and its history. ­Longines is a company based on years and generations of experience.
You have been a longines ambassador of elegance since 2007. Do you have any stories or experiences you would like to share?
I visited the production line earlier and it was really interesting to see how the timepieces are actually made. I was even able to try to assemble part of a watch. It wasn’t anything really advanced but it allowed me to figure out what it was like. It’s impressive to see all these tiny parts which, when put together, will complete the movement of a timepiece. And all this is mainly handmade, even though you would think that a machine is doing it entirely. The assembly requires real attention to detail. I was really interested and happy to give it a try.
Do you have a favourite piece from the longines collections?
As I really like the history of ­Longines, I love the Heritage pieces. I couldn’t pick just one watch in particular but, in general, I prefer the models steeped in history.
You were invited to talk during the graduation ceremony of the swatch group’s apprentices. What message did you want to convey to these young people?
Time was the principal theme for the evening. There were a couple of things that I really wanted to say that night. First of all, there is the fact that I participate in a sport which is timed to the nearest one-hundredth of a second. In alpine skiing, we never question the timekeeping, we never doubt whether it is properly done. You can always rely on it. It’s the very foundation of a competition. The second idea that I wanted to express was that I’ve learned over the years that time is a really valuable resource. You are given a certain amount of time and what you do with it is important. As far as most things are concerned, you can always acquire more, if you are very smart or very rich. However nobody can get more time. You therefore have to be careful with what you do with your life. Time is not infinite and we have to make the most of it. That was one of the key elements of my speech.
How do you see the involvement of longines in alpine skiing? What can a partner like longines bring to this sport?
­Longines brings its considerable experience in timekeeping to alpine skiing. The races wouldn’t be the same if timekeeping was an issue. Today, everyone knows that it’s perfect, so nobody discusses it. ­Longines is also a company with a long and healthy tradition. The brand has been around for a long time and is going to continue to be here for a long time, too. Hence, there are a lot of values that ­Longines and the ski community share: building for the years to come, being healthy and achieving goals.
­Longines has been appointed official partner of the swiss alpine resort of st. moritz, where the 2017 alpine world ski championships are taking place. longines is the official partner and timekeeper of this event. Does st. moritz means something special to you?
The Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz in 2003 were the first really big event that I took part in. And at the time, I didn’t think I would reach that level so quickly. I was young and I had some good races, and even though I didn’t medal, I have a lot of good memories.
What is so special about the alpine world ski championships?
We are lucky to be part of a sport with really great events, like Wengen or Kitzbühel. There are so many good races, but the Alpine World Ski Championships are a highlight. You take part in the famous races starting in January and then you’ve got the World Championships. You can really feel how special they are when you arrive in the host town. The organisers do a really good job of preparation in terms of atmosphere, and there are a lot of things going on. It’s a good “show” for both the spectators and athletes. The fact that both men and women compete also makes it particular. And then there’s the anticipation of the athletes, with a gold medal at stake.