Athlete with a Heart
At the LOTTERIEN Sporthilfe Gala, the country's largest and most important sports awards ceremony, the top sports performance awards will be presented to our sports stars, but more importantly the “Athlete with a Heart” ("Sportler mit Herz")will be honoured for their special commitment in a social field.
This prize, initiated by Austrian Lotteries and endowed with 5,000 euros, is not about goals, points or trophies, but about fair play, moral courage and helpfulness.
Markus Lahmer / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2021
In 2021, the trophy and prize money of 5,000 euros went to Austria’s number 1 in wakeboarding, Markus Lahmer from Vienna. Together with the team of Ohana Vienna, he developed a special chair, the so-called “Cage”, which enables people with paraplegia to wakeboard. Sledge hockey player Florian Dungl, ex-ski jumper Lukas Müller and Paralympics participant Markus Gfatterhofer have not only tested the innovation, but have already used it to take part in Europe’s first official inclusion competition!
Nina Burger / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2020
In 2020, the trophy and prize money in the amount of 5,000 euros went to Nina Burger, the ÖFB record national player, who is involved in the #DAHEIMKICKER project of the SPIELERPASS association. Since the first COVID lockdown, around 100 people in 20 fully supervised residential communities in five Austrian states (Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland, Styria and Upper Austria) have been able to take part in free soccer training sessions every week. The project was financed via the “I believe in you” crowdfunding platform, which we also support as a sponsoring partner.
Christoph Vetchy / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2019
In 2019, the trophy and prize money of 5,000 euros went to Christoph Vetchy, the founder and organizer of the Vienna Charity Run. The running event took place in Vienna’s Türkenschanzpark for the sixth time and set a new record for participation and donations with 1,850 athletes and a total donation of 30,000 euros. Every year, the proceeds go to the Sterntalerhof children’s hospice.
Michael Strasser / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2018
Extreme cyclist Michael Strasser mounted his bike in July of 2018 and traveled the 22,642-kilometer route from Alaska to Patagonia in just 84 days, 11 hours and 50 minutes. Not only did he set his second world record, but he also collected around 60,000 euros in donations for people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS).
Erich Artner / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2017
Erich Artner and his team collected donations for a mountain farming family in the region of Carinthia to whom fate had dealt a severe blow. After 19 days and 2,400 kilometers, the five-member cycling team of the Charity Cycling Challenge reached the finish line in Barcelona. This is just one of the many charities that Vienna’s Erich Artner, who has had both legs amputated below the knee, organizes regularly to help others.
Peter Hackmair / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2016
The Play Together Now voluntary association organizes leisure activities for underage refugees who are often unaccompanied by adults. Together with teco7 inventor Bernhard Bresich, Peter Hackmair led a soccer workshop where, in addition to obligatory technique and tactics drills, a good share of fun was also had.
Wilhelm Lilge / „Athlete with a Heart“ 2015
The proceeds from Wilhelm Lige’s charity project “Laufen für Kira” (“Running for Kira”) made it easier for paraplegic pole vaulter Kira Grünberg to make a successful return to everyday life. Together with many Austrian athletes, over 3,300 amateur athletes ran through Vienna’s Prater and collected donations amounting to 64,000 euros.