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November 1, 2014
David Alaba and Anna Fenninger dominate Austria's 2014 Athlete of the Year awards in Vienna

The winners of the 66th Sports Gala celebrating Austria's best athletes
by Sandra Elisabeth Aigner, AIPS Young Reporter, Austria

VIENNA, November 1, 2014- National team player and Austrian football export hit at Bayern Munich David Alaba and Super-G Olympic champion Anna Fenninger were the winners of Austria's 2014 Athlete of the Year awards held on Thursday night. The two, who were the big winners of last year’s event, dominated the most coveted awards in 2014 as well.

At the gala event that was covered live in primetime by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF Television, the results of the voting of
460 members of Sports Media Austria were presented.

People from sports, politics, business and culture in the Vienna Austria Center and up to 400.000 people watching at home enjoyed a perfect show and saw David Alaba become the winner of the closest decision in the history of the award for Austria’s best sportsman. With a paper-thin lead of one vote the 22-year-old Viennese with Nigerian and Filipino roots, who won the double with Bayern Munich last season prevailed against Austrian ski hero, overall World Cup winner of 2013/14 and Olympics-Silver Medalist in slalom in Sochi, Marcel Hirscher.

"It is incredible to win a second time. I didn´t expect that. Austria is a country of winter sports- especially skiing- and not football. But we are on the right track," Alaba said. In third and fourth place for the award were alpine skiing Olympic champions Mario Matt (slalom) and Matthias Mayer (downhill).

David Alaba, however was unable again to accept the prize in person. The star of the Austrian national football team, which is still unbeaten this year and leads group G in the European Championship qualifiers, delighted the audience via live broadcast from Munich. Alaba brought tears of joy to the eyes of his parents George and Gina in the audience.

After her fifth victory in giant slalom in Sölden at the season opener of the Skiing World Cup, Anna Fenningers winning streak continued. The Olympic champion in Super G, Olympic silver medalist in Giant Slalom in Sochi and overall winner of the World Cup Tour 2013/14 won her award for for Sportswoman of the Year clearly. The award was presented to her by the century-athlete and seven-time Sportswoman of the Year Annemarie Moser-Pröll.
"I am so grateful to be standing here. I really am enjoying it. Many years of hard work have been rewarded. I want to thank all the people around me, who support me all the time, even if I am not easy to handle sometimes."
Fenninger won out over Olympic Champion in Snowboard parallel-slalom Julia Dujmovits and Austria’s recently retired slalom queen Marlies Schild, who won Silver in Sochi and became the most successful slalom-skier in history with 35 slalom victories.

Olympic Champion in downhill from 1976 Franz Klammer presented the award for the Team of the Year to the favorites Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar. The European and world champions in the 470 sailing competition are considered the largest Austrian medal hopes for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. With 1038 votes the sailing duo won clearly against the biathletes (680) and ski jumpers (554).

Ski jumper Thomas Diethart, who was the surprise winner of the the well-respected Four Hills Tournament 2013/2014, was also a winner on Thursday. Diethart, who also competed for Austria at the Olympics in Sochi and won silver in the team-event, won the "Rookie of the Year” award, which was elected by an online voting system for the first time.

1600 Guests attended the 66th Sports Gala to celebrate Austria´s biggest sports award event of the year. Sports Media Austria President Hans Peter Trost was delight to welcome Gianni Merlo in Vienna. The president of AIPS was impressed by the sporting success of a small country like Austria and congratulated Michael Kuhn, retired SMA president for over 17 years and Treasurer of the Executive Committee of AIPS, on his 77th birthday this week.

Sportsman of the Year

1. David Alaba 1193
2. Marcel Hirscher 1192
3. Mario Matt 957
4. Matthias Mayer 793
5. Thomas Diethart 477

Sportswoman of the Year

1. Anna Fenninger 2045
Julia Dujmovits 1277
3. Marlies Schild 448
4. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz 324
5. Nicole Hosp 323

Team of the Year

1. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (Sailing) 1038
2. ÖSV-Team Biathlon 680
3. ÖSV-Team Ski Jump
ing 554
4. Red Bull Salzburg (Soccer) 450
5. Andreas Linger/Wolfgang Linger (Luge) 413

Rookie of the Year

1. Thomas Diethart (Ski Jumping) 9159
2. Lisa Zaiser (Swimming) 6674
3. Vinzenz Höck (Gymnastics) 4921

Disabled Sportswoman of the Year
Claudia Lösch (Skiing)

Disabled Sportsman of the Year
Markus Salcher (Skiing)

Special Olympics Award
Alexander Radin

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