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It is said that the philosopher’s stone had the power to change base metals into gold. One might think that Sergei Aschwanden had inherited this special gift, he who made Switzerland jump for joy during the Beijing Games by clinching a bronze medal with gilded contours. On his knees on the tatami mat, the man from Vaud was bursting with happiness, as if he had just been crowned champion. For him, this medal represented the culmination of an incredibly successful career and record of achievement, at both national and international level. Double medal winner at the European Championships (2000 and 2003 in the under 81 kg category), two third places in 2005 and 2006, bronze medal winner at the Munich World Championships in 2001, then silver at the ones in Osaka in 2003, this native of Bussigny chose to bring down the curtain on his career in the sweetest of ways. (Jean-Frédéric Debétaz)