The Swiss Silver Bullet

By Avalon Kelly

On October 11 of 2021, Marcel Hug, nicknamed the “Silver Bullet,” won his fifth Boston Marathon.  The Swiss Paralympic athlete has earned a total of 12 Paralympic medals in four Summer Paralympic Games, and continues to dominate global wheelchair racing.

Born in 1986 with spina bifida, Hug competed in–and won–his first wheelchair race at age 10.  He continued to develop his skills as a racer, and was selected to represent Switzerland at the 2004 Paralympic Games, at which he won 2 bronze medals.  His iconic metallic helmet earned him the nickname “Silver Bullet” in the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championship.  Going up against long-time rival David Weir posed a huge challenge to Hug in this competition; he earned second place right behind Weir in all events but one.  Hug finally secured a victory against Weir in 2014 at the London Marathon, and has performed at an exceptionally high level ever since.  He holds the course record of the Boston Marathon, which he set in 2016.  His consistent top-notch performance and iconic look define this athlete on the racing track.

In May of 2021, Hug gave a Ted Talk describing the “formula for a champion” that he used during his early years of  training.  “Big results are the sum of many small changes,” Hug explained.  He showed that his formula is simple: x + 1; x represents his current maximum speed or distance.  While training, his goal is always to simply get better by one, whether it be one more meter per second or one more repetition.  This strategy has led him to massive success throughout his athletic career, and he encourages others to challenge themselves by implementing this very formula into their own lives.

With his outstanding athletic performance and strategy for success, Marcel “Silver Bullet” Hug continues to exemplify the dedication and consistency it takes to be a world-class athlete.