Many FIS athletes recognised nationally as year's best – Part 1
Several top FIS athletes were recognised in their countries as the athletes of the year, or honoured as runner-ups.
Alpine skier Anna Fenninger was selected as the best female athlete, followed by her teammate Michaela Kirchgasser who claimed second place. Fenninger received the honour at a gala in Vienna in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the past season including a bronze medal at the FIS World Championships, third place in the FIS World Cup overall rankings and three race victories. After Andrea Fischbacher, Elisabeth Görgl and Marlies Schild, Fenninger is the fourth female Alpine athlete to receive the prestigious award.
On the men’s side, Marcel Hirscher, who won the male award in 2012, was beaten by David Alaba, football star at Germany’s most prestigious and successful Bayern Munich football club. Ski Jumping ace Gregor Schlierenzauer finished third behind Hirscher, while the Austrian Alpine Ski Team (both ladies and men) was fifth in the team rankings.
In Austria the selection was made by 556 journalists
The honour of the athlete of the year went to Cross-Country superstar Dario Cologna. He became the first Swiss gold medallist at the 2013 FIS Nordic World Championships in Val di Fiemme where he also claimed silver. Already in 2009 Cologna was honoured “Newcomer of the Year” and ranked second twice behind Alpine legend Didier Cuche and tennis star Roger Federer in 2011 and 2012. He also has an Olympic gold medal from Vancouver 2010, three FIS overall World Cup titles and three FIS Tour de Ski victories.
Meanwhile, Alpine skiing star Lara Gut finished third in the ladies rankings behind gymnast Giulia Steingruber and orienteering legend Simone Niggli. Also the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard disciplines were well represented with Fanny Smith (ski freestyle) in fourth, Patrizia Kummer (snowboard) in fifth, Virginie Faivre (ski freestyle) in seventh and Sina Candrian (snowboard) in tenth position. On the men’s side, Freestyle skier Alex Fiva finished tenth.
Skiing ace Maria-Höfl Riesch ranked third at a gala traditionally held in Baden-Baden. She earned the honour of ”Sportswoman of the Year” in 2010. In recognition of her performance in the past season including one gold and two bronze medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, she placed third behind discus thrower Christina Obergföll and tennis star Sabine Lisicki.
In Germany the selection is made by 1'600 journalists. The criteria focus on personality, character and success in serving as a role model.
While Austria, Switzerland and Germany have already chosen their sportspersons of the year, elections in some of the leading winter sports nations are still coming up and will be featured in the FIS Newsflash.