In each of the four ISPO AWARD categories, a jury of top-class, innovative and (most importantly) independent individuals examine the best sports products. The best evidence of this: Alongside athletes, industry journalists, developers, designers and marketing specialists, a consumer is always on the jury.
For this reason ISPO every year searches for enthusiastic sport freaks who care about even the finest details of the equipment they buy. Applications are open to all. The four winners will spend two days testing the products, along with an exclusive dinner with the other jury members. They will also be invited to ISPO MUNICH 2017.
Video: The ISPO AWARD jury’s testing process
Sports Experts Wanted for the Jury
“ISPO is the biggest global player when it comes to trade fairs. Someone said to me, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you’re going to be on the ISPO jury,’” says Ilka Groenewold. The 31-year-old successfully applied to be on the performance / health and fitness jury last year.
As a sports-science graduate and passionate runner and cyclist, the presenter was well-qualified to take one of the sought-after places on the jury. Her experience as a personal trainer and TRX trainer, and especially her great interest in new products were also just as important.
Together with the other members of the jury, she selected last year’s TomTom Runner 2 Cardio + Music as ISPO AWARD PRODUCT OF THE YEAR in her category. The product is a fitness watch with an integrated music player, heartrate monitor and GPS.
Christian Schwiertz was chosen last year to be on the jury for the outdoor category. His application showed that he didn’t want to take part just to be in the spotlight. He demonstrated his long-standing connection to sport and his fascination with sport equipment.
Schwiertz has been taking photos of outdoor products for catalogues for years and discovered his interest in equipment tests through this. The chance to interact with top-class industry insiders was greatly exciting to Schwiertz, who works by day as a training supervisor for Deutscher Alpenverein, Germany’s association for mountain sports.
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The Best Sports Products of 2016
Christian Schwiertz chose the X-OS Treklight 38L+10L from Vertical as ISPO AWARD PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2016 in the outdoor category. The rucksack has a system which moves the burden from the shoulders down to the hip bones. As a mountain climber who can be found in the mountains all year round, Schwiertz knew the whole market well and was very able to assess the advantages of the carrying system.
This year, other members of the outdoor jury will include Gela Allman, a mountain runner, ski mountaineer and sports model, and Mark Held, the CEO of European Outdoor Group.
There is an especially large number of sports products released each year in the outdoor industry. A good understanding of the alpine, hiking, camping and trekking markets is indispensable for this category. An analytical way of thinking and deep technical knowledge should also be fundamental characteristics of any jury applicant.
ISPO AWARD Jury is Diverse
“I had many interesting discussions with the other jury members during the testing process,” says Ilka Groenewold. “I found Urs Weber, the editor of ‘Runner’s World’ magazine, especially interesting. He has been testing running equipment for over 20 years and really knew every product.” Weber will be on the jury again this year, in the category performance / health and fitness.
At a meeting in Munich, the jury members will judge the submitted products against exact criteria and questions. The personal exchange with the other members will lead to intense discussions and will ensure that vastly different perspectives will inform the ultimate decision. The ISPO AWARD is after all a seal of approval that is trusted by customers and brands alike when it comes to safety and functionality.
The Action Category: Versatility is Helpful
As you might expect, Kevin Young felt very honored to be invited to be on the jury last year in the ski category. A native of Valais, Switzerland, since learning to ski on dry slopes many years ago, skiing has been his passion. Though he is a designer by trade, he has around 30 years of experience in retail in the skiing and outdoor industries.
His application was just right, as was Jérémy Legardeur’s. His exciting life achievements reflect exactly the kind of personalities who are applying for a membership of the ISPO AWARD jury The professor, who comes from France, does research in the areas of product development, creativity and innovation.
Outdoor industry companies make use of his expertise as a scientific advisor. Legardeur has also been a passionate snowboarder, surfer and kite surfer from day one, and supported the ISPO AWARD jury in the action category.