As one of the biggest names in skiing history, there are few better placed to look back at some of the snowsport nominees at the Laureus World Sports Awards than the legendary Laureus Academy Member Franz Klammer.
With Mikaela Shiffrin and Anna Gasser on the shortlist and Lindsey Vonn set to pick up the Spirit of Sport Award in recognition of her outstanding career, Klammer is proud for snowsports to be on the worldwide stage.
“We are not a major sport, so to have the chance of someone in skiing to win a Laureus award is very special,” he said. “Schiffrin is an exceptional athlete, she’s won so much for her age and is absolutely outstanding. Lindsey had a stellar career but sometimes it’s just time to leave – her body has been through a lot. There’s no question she’s one of the greatest skiers of all time, to come back from those injuries each time and come back stronger is remarkable.”
Klammer may have been a skier, but he also admires the boarders and was equally thrilled to see Anna Gasser nominated.
“We are almost neighbours!” he chuckled. “She’s also had an incredible year, to go to the Olympics and win and win at the X Games, it’s very, very good. It’s really difficult to do big air, you’re dealing with fractions of seconds and you have to do everything right – it’s a lot of pressure.”
Klammer is one of the original Laureus Sports Academy members and an enthusiastic supporter of Laureus Sport for Good programmes in Austria.
“We have three great programmes in Austria, including the Schneetiger programme which helps young people with disabilities and social challenges. They come together and ski. It gives freedom to them,” he said.
“They come together, stay together and ski together. It’s great for camaraderie. When you’re at the top of a mountain and you ski down, it’s a great feeling and for kids to have this experience is amazing. They love doing it and it really shows that sport can make you a better person.”