Jonas Deichmann

Athletes who have inspired us in 2023

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They run, bike and play their way from one record to the next. But we celebrate these 10 athletes not only for their sporting successes, but also for their role model function, their fight for BIPOC issues and their sustainable commitment to climate and environmental issues.


Carlos Alcaraz, tennis player, Spain

Little Carlos (he calls himself Carlitos on Instagram, which translates as little Carlos) may not be the youngest Wimbledon winner, but he is in good company: only Becker and Borg were younger when they won the grass court classic. The 20-year-old cites his compatriot Rafael Nadal as a role model. However, Carlos has an advantage over Nadal in that he won his first ATP point at the age of 14. And how does the Spaniard win one tennis match after another? Quite simply: listen to the Rocky soundtrack, think of the film and win. The smart Spaniard not only cuts a fine figure on the tennis court, but also inspires his 4.4 million Instagram followers as a Calvin Klein underwear model.


Nikola Jokić, basketball player, Serbia

The Serbian NBA champion measures 211 centimetres and still regularly surprises with his playmaking qualities. In some games, he manages to score a point every minute - as he did recently against the Golden State Warriors. It's not just the fans of his home team, the Denver Nuggets, who are enthusiastic about the 28-year-old. Some already see him as the new Magic Johnson and describe him as the true number 1 in the US NBA. No wonder: the "Joker" has been rushing from one success to the next for a few years now. He received the Most Valuable Player Award in 2021 and 2022 and was the first player in the NBA to break the 2000 points, 1000 rebounds and 500 assists marks in one season. And just recently, the creative passer overtook Bill Russell to take third place in the all-time assists rankings for a centre player - with a total of 4,101 passes in 612 games. Next goal: 2nd place.


Jonas Vingegaard, cyclist, Denmark

Winning the Tour de France two years in a row - that's pretty extraordinary. But the historic Tipple victory of the Jumbo-Visma team this year was almost even more extraordinary: team colleague Primoz Roglic won the Giro d'Italia in May, Vingegaard the Tour de France in July and Sepp Kuss the Tour of Spain. Never before has a team won all three Grand Tours in one year. This brings doubters onto the scene: "We understand the scepticism," Vingegaard told Kicker. "However, people should know that we sacrifice a lot and work in great detail. We do everything perfectly in this team, and that makes a big difference." The team, which has just changed its main sponsor, has big plans again for 2024, reports DPA: Visma-Lease a Bike will present its new team in Amsterdam on December 21 and announce its goals for the season.


Jonas Deichmann, extreme athlete, Germany

There and back across the USA in 100 days: Jonas Deichmann outdid himself again with his latest project "Trans America Twice". First he cycled the 5,500 kilometres from New York to Los Angeles and then back again without a break - with one ultramarathon per day. The German then completed the New York City Marathon to "wind down" - in under four hours. After his record-breaking triathlon around the world in 2021, this is the adventurer's next big coup. His new book will also be in the stores soon. He "wrote" it in the evening in the open air via voice message. The motto of the multiple world record holder, who just recently stood on stage at ISPO Munich: "The real failure is not even trying." His secret recipe: "One playlist is always guaranteed to help me keep going when the going gets tough and I have to fight: the soundtrack to Forrest Gump." His doping: chocolate bars.


Kilian Jornet, mountaineer, Spain

Trail runner, mountain runner, company founder, climate activist: Kilian Jornet's day seems to have more than 24 hours. It's almost difficult to say what we celebrate the 36-year-old for the most. Perhaps for his Pyrenees record in 2023? According to him, one of the most difficult things he has done. "To (re)discover the peaks where I grew up, it took me eight days, 177 peaks and more than 40,000 meters of altitude. From Frondiella to Pica d'Estats, I enjoyed every step and made memories to last a lifetime."

But perhaps we are also celebrating him for his commitment to the environment. For the second time, he organized "Elevate Earth: Racing for Resilience", a live event where environmental experts from the Kilian Jornet Foundation and NNormal ambassadors pool their knowledge about climate change, environmental impact and trail running. Or for his launch of the NNormal brand? With this brand, Jornet wants to show that the production of shoes and clothing can also be successful with less impact on the environment.


Nino Schurter, mountain biker, Switzerland

The mountain bike senior's race calendar for 2024 reads like a rookie's agenda. 15 starts are planned - including at the Olympic Games in Paris and the World Championships in Andorra. The Swiss rider has been part of the Scott-SRAM Mountain Bike Racing Team for 20 years now and Schurter has called mountain biking his profession since 2007. The 37-year-old's medal haul is probably second to none: 16 individual World Championship titles, ten World Championship titles, Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro, the bronze medal in Beijing and the silver medal in London. In 2023, he won the Mountain Bike World Cup for the ninth time. And it's far from over: "My goal is to keep doing this for many years to come." We're keeping our fingers crossed!


Kelvin Kiptum, marathon runner, Kenya

Marathon debut in Valencia in 2022, world record in Chicago in 2023: the 24-year-old marathon prodigy from Kenya also faces repeated accusations of doping. No wonder, as he broke Eliud Kipchoge's record of 2 hours and 35 seconds in his third marathon ever. However, the long-distance runner's coach explains his protégé's success with extreme amounts of training: Kiptum sometimes completes over 300 kilometres a week, explained Gervais Hakizimana in a recent interview with the news agency AFP. The newcomer's Instagram account also seems curious: 26 posts, 100,000 followers, started in 2019, then almost a three-year break... However, he reached the most recent summit of the running Olympics on 11 December: Kiptum won the race for World Athlete of the Year 2023 in the "Out of Stadia Events" category. Congratulations!


Alex Txikon, high-altitude mountaineer, Spain

The high-altitude mountaineer Txikon is also a star in his Basque homeland. A climbing wall in Lemoa was recently given his name - which left him "speechless". With his coup in January, the winter ascent of the 8,163-metre-high Manaslu, he once again left the experts speechless. By his own account, he and six Nepalese mountaineers reached the eighth-highest peak in the Himalayas without the aid of bottled oxygen. It was his third attempt and will go down in the history books as the second winter ascent of this peak. However, the modest extreme sportsman has only just set off on his next adventure in the direction of Nepal. His goal: the tenth-highest mountain in the world, Annapurna. To date, however, Txikon has remained silent about his route, team and style.


Eric Larsen, polar explorer, USA

"As we continue to celebrate the life and achievements of Matthew Henson, we honour his lasting impact on exploration, diversity and the indomitable human spirit" - with these words, polar adventurer Eric Larsen pays homage to his African-American colleague, who is believed to have been the first person to stand on the North Pole in 1909. The US American founded the Polar Academy and recently launched a polar scholarship for "black, indigenous and people of colour" to encourage this spirit of exploration in future generations. The application deadline for this first BIPOC Polar Scholarship was December 1. In January 2024, six students will head out into the cold and push their own boundaries on a polar expedition. To date, the 52-year-old has conducted more North and South Pole expeditions than any other American in history. Former Protect Our Winters boss Christ Steinkamp describes Larsen as "one of the most influential climate voices in the world".


Arturo Coello Manso, padel player, Spain

"El Rey Arturo" (King Arturo) and "Mozart de Catamarca" are currently the best padel team in the world. Spaniard Coello and his Argentinean partner Agustín Tapia in first place in the world rankings. The pair have just won their eleventh title of the season in Mexico. Left-hander Coello has been playing on the World Padel Tour since 2019. The shooting star of the trend sport won the World Championships at the age of just 19 and experts in the padel scene are already saying that Arturo Coello is on his way to becoming a legend - at the age of just 21. Not only is he described as the player of the future, but former champion Juan Martín Díaz Martínez from Argentina says: "What you are doing with padel now is from another galaxy."

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