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Famous Sports People in Germany
Germany is one of the leading sports nations in the world. There is hardly a sports discipline in which German athletes do not rank among the best. The favourite sport in the federal republic is undoubtedly football, a game that has brought immense achievements to Germany, as the country is the third most powerful worldwide. Other sports like basketball, motor sports, winter sports and lots of other individual and team sports enjoy great popularity in Germany. The excellent stadiums and sport facilities throughout the country make sports easily accessible for all people and contribute to the success of the nation. Below you can find more information about some of the greatest German sports figures.
(1969-01-03 - )
Michael Schumacher is the most successful pilot in the history of Formula One and one of the greatest sports figures sport has ever seen. The German legend holds a total of 31 different records in Formula One with his seven titles in 1994, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, 91 victories achieved in 250 races and 1,369 points scored. Furthermore, Schumacher is unsurpassed in terms of pole positions, fastest laps and most races won in one season. Michael Schumacher started his racing career in 1981 and became Germany’s youngest karting driver. Later he passed through the German and European kart championships, Formula Ford and Formula 3, before moving to Formula One in 1991. During his long career in F1 Schumacher represented three teams – Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari. He was elected by F1 fans as the most popular driver. Michael turned into a legend for Italian fans with his five consecutive world titles won with Ferrari. Among his countless prizes, the two “German Sportsman of the Year” and two “Laureus World Sportsman of the Year” awards should be mentioned. After the 2006 season, the greatest Formula One driver of all times retired from active sport. Currently he is ambassador for UNESCO and is engaged in numerous charity activities.
Franz Anton Beckenbauer
(1945-09-11 - )
Franz Beckenbauer is the greatest German football player and is regarded as one of the brightest stars the game has ever seen. His extraordinary qualities have gained him the nickname “The Kaiser”, or “emperor”, by which he is known all over the world. Beckenbauer started his professional career in Bayern Munich in 1964 and for the next 13 years made 427 appearances and scored 60 goals. With his team the Kaiser won almost all possible trophies, including three consecutive European Cups in 1974, 1975 and 1976. After his best years in Bayern, Beckenbauer moved to the USA, where he spent four seasons with the New York Cosmos and won three titles with them. In 1980 he returned to the Bundesliga in the team of Hamburger SV and after two years went back overseas to Cosmos for one final season. In 1983 Kaiser Franz put an end to his fabulous career as player. He is considered to have invented the role of the modern libero, thus exerting immense influence on the development of the most popular game. As recognition for his achievements, Beckenbauer became second in the election of the European Player of the Century and third in the World Player of the Century election. He has enjoyed great successes off the football pitch as well, leading the German national team to the World Cup gold medals as a coach in 1990. Later the football legend became coach of Bayern Munich and currently he is president of the club. Meanwhile, Franz Beckenbauer chaired the organizing committee of the Germany 2006 World Cup.
Oliver Rolf Kahn
(1969-06-15 - )
Oliver Kahn is among the best goalkeepers Germany has ever had and one of the most successful players in the history of German football. The legendary footballer started his professional career in 1987 with the team of his hometown Karlsruhe. After seven years and 128 appearances, Kahn moved to Bayern Munich in 1994. With this team he achieved his greatest successes, winning practically all possible trophies. Oliver Kahn received a number of individual awards as well, culminating in the three World’s Best Goalkeeper and four Best European Goalkeeper awards. In addition, Kahn was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player on the 2002 World Cup, being the only goalkeeper ever to receive this prize. After more than 400 appearances with Bayern Munich and 86 caps for the German national team, the great goalkeeper announced his withdrawal in May 2008. Apart from his fabulous football career, Kahn has established himself as one of the most famous German celebrities with his numerous appearances in TV commercials and the avalanche of rumors swirling around his personal life.
Boris Franz Becker
(1967-11-22 - )
Boris Becker is considered the greatest German tennis player ever. He entered the world of professional tennis with a bang, becoming the youngest Grand Slam champion in history at the age of 17 when he won the Wimbledon tournament. In his 15 years long career Becker won three times Wimbledon, two times the Australian Open and once the US Open. His highest achievement is the Olympic title from the games in Barcelona 1992, where he won the men’s doubles together with his compatriot Michael Stich. Boris Becker reached the top of the ATP ranking in 1991 and spent 12 weeks there. As acknowledgment for his successes Boris Becker was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Currently the former tennis player works as a commentator for BBC every year at the Wimbledon tournament. The legendary Becker is world-known not only for his sports achievements, but also for his personal life, including a tabloid page divorce with his wife, an illegitimate child and a conviction for tax evasion.
(1965-12-03 - )
When I am home in Berlin, I train four hours a day.
Born in Staaken (former East Germany, today a part of Berlin), she is a two-time Olympic Gold Medallist in figure skating and the champion of many European and world competitions. She attended a special sports school for talented children. From 1970 she trained under Jutta Müller. Witt's first victory came during the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, when, after strong competition with Rosalynn Sumners, she won the gold, becoming the pride of East Germany, and “GDR female athlete of the year.” She defended her Olympic title in 1988 in Calgary, where it turned out that she and her greatest rival, Debbie Thomas (US), both picked Bizet's 'Carmen' for their long programmes. After that victory, Kati, as she used to be called by fans and the media, could call herself a professional ice-skater, which was an unusual thing in GDR. She went on a 3-year tour throughout the United Stares, with the show 'Witt and Boitano Skating'. Later, she was also a star of the musical 'Holiday on Ice', and 1989 she starred in the film 'Carmen on Ice', which earned her an Emmy Award. She also took part in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, where she was 7th. Now Katarina Witt lives in Berlin. She is frequently as seen as a special guest for the première shows of 'Holiday on Ice'. She's also devoted to her charity foundation.
(1936-06-14 - )
A native of Berlin, Wolfgang Behrent is a former talented amateur boxer, who won the gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne in the bantamweight class. This victory made him the first champion of the German Democratic Republic, and earned him second place in the 'GDR male athlete of the year' ranking, right after Täve Schur. Unfortunately, an injury disabled him from qualifying for the Olympic Games in 1960. He attempted a comeback for the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic Games; regrettably, he never made it to Tokyo and eventually gave up his sports career. From 1963 to 1991, he worked as a sports photographer for 'Neues Deutschland', the national German daily newspaper. One has to mention that apart from the medal, Behrendt also had other victories in boxing throughout 1950s, such as GDR Championships. Wolfgang is married and has two children.