A celebration for Upper Austrian sport

A celebration for Upper Austrian sport
The team of the year: The basketball players of the OCS Swans Gmunden

Like the cherry on the cake – when Daniel Friedrich, the captain of the OCS Swans Gmunden, accepted the award for Upper Austria’s Team of the Year at the Linzer Palais Kaufmännischer Verein, it was the appropriate reward for a practically perfect basketball season for the champions, cup and Supercup winners. “This is very important for us,” said the 31-year-old – flanked by his teammates and successful coach Anton Mirolybov.

  • On the final vote results of the OÖN athlete election

The Swans from Traunsee relegated last year’s winner Oberbank Steelvolleys Linz-Steg and the handball players from HC Linz AG to the ranks. Everyone came to the honor in almost full team strength. This laid the foundation for the evening celebrations of the 49th athletes’ election, which the OÖN held together with the Sportland OÖ, which was dominated by major team sports. “That’s why we postponed training,” said HC Linz coach Milan Vunjak.

“Sport has a high status in society. This evening belongs to those who achieve top performance and are role models for young people,” said OÖN editor-in-chief Susanne Dickstein. State Sports Councilor Markus Achleitner spoke of a “sports Thanksgiving”: “You can see what is possible with the appropriate infrastructure, with support for elite and popular sports. We can lay the basis for it.”

The TGW Decathlon Union was pleased about the individual title of 400 meter runner Susanne Gogl-Walli, who joined in from her Olympic training camp in Belek. “I wasn’t expecting that,” said the Linz native, who reached the World Cup semi-finals this year. “This is an achievement that cannot be overestimated when you consider that the entire world is running along the stadium lap,” said former world-class runner Theresia Kiesl, who accepted the award on her behalf.

Jacoba Kriechmayr demonstrated routine in this. The Gramastett native – herself a top freerider – represented her brother Vincent, who became Upper Austria’s athlete of the year for the third time. “I’m very proud of him,” said Jacoba, before Vincent greeted via video from Sölden, where the ski entourage is preparing for the upcoming World Cup races. “That’s not a given because there are so many great athletes in Upper Austria,” emphasized the 32-year-old, who dressed up specifically for the video message. “I didn’t know he had such a smart suit,” commented sister Jacoba cheekily.

It became very personal when OÖN sports director Christoph Zöpfl gave the laudatory speech for Fritz Fiausch, who died in the summer and was posthumously awarded the OÖN’s “Golden Leo” for special services. “He was a tireless lobbyist for food sport. For him it was always about the cause and not about himself,” he said about the visionary and humanitarian. “I’m sure my dad will get something out of this wonderful evening,” said daughter Barbara Fiausch, who will give the award a place of honor.

Everyone was happy with the Gmunden basketball players about their first title since 2005. LASK captain Robert Zulj also congratulated: “It’s well deserved after they won the championship title.” With a wink he explained why he wasn’t there for the cup game in Kapfenberg. “I always want to play – but the coach spared me for the choice of athlete.”

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