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Katharina Schiessendoppler was voted the most popular athlete.

Leonidas Sports Gala: A 15-year-old causes amazement

On the night of April 04th, the coveted lions were awarded at the Leonidas sports gala at Salzburg Airport. There were surprising scenes for a 15-year-old.

Since 2007, the Salzburger Nachrichten has awarded the Golden Lions to Salzburg's sports elite in five categories once a year. This year, a sixth was added for the first time, and its winner immediately caused a sensation, as the 15-year-old swimmer Katharina Schiessendoppler became the most popular athlete. Very few people would have expected the award, least of all the athlete herself. In an interview with SALZBURG24 she said: “The fact that I received a lion here today really came as a surprise to me.”

Less surprising are the awards for the athlete of the year, Valentina Höll and Stefan Kraft. Downhill world champion Höll is happy about her third lion and noted that she no longer knows where to put the lions because the trophies are not miniature specimens.

Stefan Kraft (left) is athlete of the year.

Stefan Kraft couldn't quite believe his own performance over the last few months. He revealed to S24: “When you see the pictures, you realize what you have achieved. It means a lot to me to be standing here again.” In the 2023/24 season, the Olympic champion won his third world championship title, for the first time in ski flying.

Pure emotions

Alfred Eder's life's work award provided the most emotional moment. The 70-year-old had to fight back tears himself as the entire hall stood up and cheered him on. Eder took part in the Biathlon World Championships from 1976 to 1995 and then acted as a coach.

Ski jumping coach Alexander Diess was named Coach of the Year. Newcomer of the Year was Dominik Hödlmoser, who at the age of 18 started as a professional for the first time this year.


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