Credit Suisse Sports Awards 2015
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Credit Suisse Sports Awards 2015

The Credit Suisse Sports Awards held at the Zurich television studio were full of fast-paced excitement and emotion – with new faces among the main winners: Daniela Ryf and Stan Wawrinka are the 2015 Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year.

Looking back over the year, letting the images sink in, remembering and experiencing the thrills again; that is what it's all about at the Credit Suisse Sports Awards: the joy, euphoria, and sense of success when you win, but also the boundless disappointment, frustration, and tears in defeat. It was a wide-ranging, fast-paced event. The two-hour show was hosted by Rainer Maria Salzgeber and Nicole Berchtold and featured exhilarating opening and closing performances by Anna Rossinelli and Bryan Adams. The athletes were honored by such figures as pioneering balloonist Bertrand Piccard, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, and the rapper, beatboxer, and entertainer Knackeboul.

But the spotlight was on the athletes. The highlights were the exciting audience vote for the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year. In the men's category, the winner on this occasion was Stan Wawrinka, who received a standing ovation. This was the first time that Wawrinka, a native of the Canton of Vaud, has won this award, and in doing so he took over from six-time record winner Roger Federer, in whose shadow he has always stood at this level. "Wonderful, this is a huge honor for me; I am grateful to everyone who has supported me and made my career possible," the athlete from French-speaking Switzerland said with emotion. The key to his triumph was his second Grand Slam victory, in Paris in the summer. With 38.91 percent of the votes, Wawrinka had a clear lead over Federer (22.81 percent), and was even further ahead of mountain biker Nino Schurter, downhill skier Patrick Küng, and cross-country skier Dario Cologna.

Ryf's Final Spurt

The decision in the women's category was even more exciting, and very close in the end. Here too, a new name shone: triathlete Daniela Ryf, from Solothurn. In fact, she was the obvious choice, as she had won all the year's races – including the most significant ones: the Triathlon of Triathlons, Ironman Hawaii and the Ironman World Championships, the 70.3-World Championship, and the Ironman European Championship, to name just the most important ones. And in November, she rounded off this achievement with the Triple Crown, winning one million dollars with half-Ironman victories in Dubai, Zell am See, and finally in Bahrain. "I am amazed myself," said the 28-year-old, "It was a dream season, like something out of a fairy-tale."

While she always dominated the events themselves with a comfortable margin, Ryf won the Credit Suisse Sports Award by a whisker. She won 26.57 percent in the final vote, against 25.15 percent for European Champion Gymnast Giulia Steingruber. Further behind were up-and-coming tennis star Timea Bacsinsky with 19 percent, mountain biker Jolanda Neff with 15.54 percent, and Belinda Bencic with 13.75 percent. Nicola Spirig, Olympic Champion Triathlete and 2012 Sportswoman of the Year, thought the choice made complete sense: "It's always difficult to compare success in different sports – but for me there is no doubt that this year's award belongs to Daniela."

Ryf feels further boosted by her win and would like to continue her winning streak. Hawaii, the Triple Crown, European Championship, World Championship – these are decisions for next year. But she might also go in a different direction. The multi-sportswoman has a vision in the back of her mind: the Olympics, but not as a triathlete any more as in 2008 (7th place) and 2012 (40th place), but rather as a time trialer in cycling. "That would be an experiment that would really challenge me," says Ryf.

Koller Comes ahead of Del Curto

The award for Trainer of the Year went to a Swiss citizen working outside the country – the national coach of Austria, Marcel Koller. This was a natural choice as the Zurich native had already won the Special Award in neighboring Austria, a highly prized honor. He was well ahead of the successful Davos ice hockey coach Arno Del Curto, and tennis coach Severin Lüthi. Another footballer triumphed in the vote for Newcomer of the Year: Basel's rising star Breel Embolo. The Team of the Year award went to the Swiss lightweight four in rowing – Mario Gyr, Simon Niepmann, Simon Schürch, and Lucas Tramer – thanks to World and European Championship titles and overall victory in the World Rowing Cup. Wheelchair athlete Marcel Hug was voted Disabled Sportsperson of the Year for the fourth time.

For the successful athletes, the Credit Suisse Sports Awards were a wonderful conclusion to the sporting year, and for the audience it was a thrilling look back over outstanding sporting events.