Schwinger outet sich als schwul

The news from gay Switzerland, in headline form: ‘Swinger [Swiss swing wrestler] outs himself as gay’. From the Outsports site: “Swiss wrestler Curdin Orlik comes out as gay, first out active male athlete in nation: The Swiss wrestler competes in an [un]usual version of the sport, but his coming out as gay is universal”, by Jim Buzinski on 3/10/20:


(#1) Orlik in ceremonial regalia, wearing a victor’s wreath and a jacket with edelweiss embroidered on the lapels

(Hat tip to Ned Deily)

Curdin Orlik, a champion in the sport of Swiss “swing” wrestling, has come out as gay, becoming Switzerland’s first openly gay active [that is, still competing, not retired] male pro athlete.

“I am like that,” Orlik told Christof Gertsch of Switzerland’s The Magazine in a deeply reported article [behind a paywall]. “I can’t help it. That’s how I was born.”

Orlik, 27, said he decided to come out publicly because ”I’d rather be free than fearful.”

“For far too long I have pushed out who I really am,” he said. “I am not someone who kisses in front of people, but I want to lie down with a man and be able to touch him. … I always knew that I was gay, for sure since I was 12. But I thought: this is wrong, it cannot be. I heard things on the school building square [like] ‘you gay pig,’ ‘you faggot.’ Or in soccer, ‘such a gay pass!’ Even when swinging [wrestling]. Sure, nobody really meant that, but if you’re like that yourself, you think, ‘Shit, that’s not a good thing.’ I thought: I don’t want to be gay. But it’s me. Now it’s out.”

Swing wrestling is a sport peculiar to Switzerland and very popular, with its champions becoming household names. It’s a derivative of folk wrestling where the wrestlers wear special clothes that allow for holds and throws and the action takes place in a circle covered in sawdust.

Despite the uniqueness of the sport, Orlik’s coming out will resonate with any LGBTQ athlete, especially gay men — the realization at a young age that you are different, the fear and uncertainty of coming out and the emotional toll the closet takes.

Orlik in street clothes:


(#2) Orlik is a brother of Schwinger Armon Orlik. They grew up in Landquart (with two other brothers, Lucas and Flavio, also active in sports) — on the region of Landquart, see my 2/14/20 posting “Socka Hitsch” — and now lives in Rubigen (in the canton of Bern). He’s an agronomist by profession. And, with his ex-wife, he has a young son (lives are complicated).

Linguistic notes on the posting’s title. One sports term, two pieces of gay vocabulary.

— noun Schwinger (masc.) ‘(Swiss) swing wrestler’, lit. ‘swinger’ (from the throwing moves that the wrestlers use); pl. Schwinger

— refl. verb sich outen ‘to out oneself’ (an obvious borrowing from English); yes, the past participle is geoutet

— adj. schwul ‘gay, queer (< Low Gm. schwul ‘sultry, hot, humid’)

Onomastic notes. The Orlik name is Slavic (a diminutive of ‘eagle’)– it’s especially Polish, but also Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian. It seems to be rare in Switzerland.

The personal name Curdin appears to be Romantsch, probably a variant of Konradin / Conradin, a diminutive of Konrad / Conrad. It doesn’t seem to be particularly common. It’s possible that all four of the brothers have Romance names: Armon, possibly a variant spelling of Armand (rather than being the Armon of Hebrew origin); Lucas (directly from Latin); Flavio (Italian/Spanish, of Latin origin).

More on Schwingen. From Wikipedia:


(#3) Zwei Schwinger in action

Schwingen (from German schwingen “to swing”), also known as Swiss wrestling (French lutte Suisse) and natively (and colloquially) as Hosenlupf (Swiss German for “breeches-lifting”), is a style of folk wrestling native to Switzerland, more specifically the pre-alpine [alpine foothill] parts of German-speaking Switzerland. Wrestlers wear Schwingerhosen (“wrestling breeches”) with belts that are used for taking holds. Throws and trips are common because the first person to pin his or her opponent’s shoulders to the ground wins the bout.

… The match takes place in a ring, a circular area with a diameter of 12 meters that is covered with sawdust. The two opponents wear short pants made of jute over their clothes. The wrestlers hold each other by these pants, at the back where the belt meets, and try to throw the opponent onto his back.

… Schwingen is considered a “national sport” of Switzerland, alongside Hornussen [a game played with a puck called a Hornuss ‘hornet’] and Steinstossen [a competition in throwing a heavy stone]. Schwingen and Steinstossen were included as Nationalturnen (“national gymnastics”) in the Eidgenössisches Turnfest at Lausanne in 1855.

The modern history of organized Schwingen tournaments begins with the Unspunnenfest [a festival of traditional sports, held every 12 years in Interlaken] of 1805.

(I haven’t witnessed any of these Swiss folk sports.)

3 Responses to “Schwinger outet sich als schwul”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I was taken aback by outen, but then I remembered hearing a German youth in Munich (back in 1970) address his girlfriend as du gestoneder Vogel (“You stoned chick”, with my guess at the spelling for /gəʃtondəɹ/).

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      *You* were taken aback by outen; *I* grew up with the Pa. Dutch English verb outen ‘put out, extinguish, turn off’ (as in outen the lights), so that my initial understanding of Er hat sich geoutet wasn’t ‘he outed himself’, but a metaphorical interpretation close to ‘he offed himself’.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    I didn’t note this explicitly in the posting, but Orlik has a truly wonderful smile, displayed in many publicity photos (but, obviously, not in evidence when he’s fighting in the sawdust).

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