The retired biathlon “mom” Denise Herrmann-Wick, gold gymnast Lukas Dauser and the national basketball team are Germany’s athletes of the year. At the 77th edition of the gala in the magnificent Kurhaus in Baden-Baden, Herrmann-Wick was honored for their World Cup performance in Oberhof at home and Dauser for his gold coup on the parallel bars in Antwerp. The fact that the basketball players around captain Dennis Schröder would be honored after their first World Cup title and a memorable semi-final victory over the star ensemble of the USA was considered a formality.

The winners, dressed in fine clothing, were honored at the festive gala. Around 700 guests gathered in the Bénazet Hall to celebrate the sporting end of the year together. For the first time since the start of the corona pandemic, the event was at full capacity again.

Hoping for more respect

For the basketball players, it is the highlight of a series of honors since the coup in Manila on September 10th. The final victory over Serbia and the feat against the USA two days earlier put Schröder’s team in the center of attention. “Basketball is a great sport and I hope we can get the respect for what we have done the last two years,” said Schröder, who, like the Wagner brothers Franz and Moritz and Daniel Theis, did not play because of the busy NBA calendar could be in Baden-Baden.

The Bundesliga professionals around World Cup hero Andreas Obst from FC Bayern were there. The basketball players were last named Team of the Year in 2005: Dirk Nowitzki and Co. did not win World Cup gold, but European Championship silver. The ice hockey team (World Cup silver) and the hockey world champions landed on the podium, but had to admit defeat to the basketball players. Led by Schröder and super talent Franz Wagner, German basketball faces a bright future.

“Mommy” becomes mom

For Olympic champion Herrmann-Wick, this only applies privately. The 34-year-old resigned after last season and the successes at the home World Cup in Oberhof. She will soon live up to her internal team nickname “Mommy”: She and her husband Thomas Wick are expecting their first child in 2024. The Saxon, who will celebrate her 35th birthday next Wednesday, showed with determination that even at an advanced age as an athlete you can still dare to do something new.

In 2014 she won bronze with the cross-country skiing relay in Sochi before switching to biathlon two years later and quickly achieving success. Nine World Cup medals and the individual Olympic victory in 2022 were the reward for a courageous and late change. Darja Varfolomeev from rhythmic gymnastics and ski jumper Katharina Schmid (formerly Althaus) took second and third place as multiple world champions.

Summit to low near Dauser

Meanwhile, Turner Dauser is following in the footsteps of Fabian Hambüchen. After the 30-year-old replaced the Wetzlarer as the last German gymnastics world champion in Antwerp, he is now the first gymnast since Hambüchen 2016 to receive the award in Baden-Baden. Just in time for the gala, Dauser returned from vacation in the Maldives with his wife Viktoria last Wednesday. “It was incredibly beautiful,” he told dpa.

On the way to his gold coup in October, Dauser fought his way up through a low – both in sport and in his private life. A torn shoulder muscle last December prevented him from doing gymnastics for a long time. Swimming world champion Florian Wellbrock and rowing world champion Oliver Zeidler came in second and third place.